The Innovation & Intellectual Property Office (IIP Office) at Qatar University (QU) has facilitated the registration of 39 patents for a number of university employees, and is trying to transform seven of them into startup companies that serve the national economy.
"The IIP Office has so far managed 163 patent files and succeeded in facilitating the registration and granting of 39 patents for QU employees," director Dr Hareb al-Jabri told official Qatar News Agency (QNA) in an interview.
"I expect that the year 2021 will witness the opening of startup companies based on the research and innovations accomplished by QU in a manner that serves the knowledge based-economy," he stated.
The IIP Office, established in 2017, is responsible for managing innovation files and technology transfer, encouraging innovators, supporting and facilitating the registration of intellectual property rights in co-operation with the authorities concerned such as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Qatar Foundation and others, promoting awareness of these rights within the university and the Qatari society in general and building a database of all records related to intellectual property in QU.
These innovations include multiple fields such as academic, industry, mechanical engineering, technology, health care, environment, agriculture, sports, refrigeration, animal husbandry and fisheries and other areas that respond to national priorities and achieve maximum local benefit as well as their global impact, Dr al-Jabri explained.
The interest in innovation and technology transfer is realisation of QU's Strategic Plan 2018-2022, which has six key goals and seven strategies, including a Digital Transformation Strategy, and an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Strategy in line with the State's keenness to achieve its national vision to transform Qatar into a knowledge based-economy, he said.
This approach, Dr al-Jabri pointed out, has received great attention from the Board of Trustees of Qatar University headed by His Highness the Deputy Amir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani.
The formation of a higher committee at the university level, led by the president and vice-presidents, to manage issues of innovation, entrepreneurship and digital transformation, is an indication of the extent of interest in this field, he observed.
The IIP Office strives to transform ideas and innovations into startup companies that support the economy and diversity in the Qatari economy. This reflects the success in transforming the traditional university environment into one of innovation that encourages creativity and innovation and stimulates entrepreneurship in the field of business.
Also considered is the possibility of converting any invention into a tangible product, by helping the inventors to develop, design and market their innovations, whether by licensing the innovation or establishing a startup, the official said.
"The IIP Office provides three services to inventors, such as including technical support related to design and modeling, computer programs and other technical matters, the search for financing opportunities for the project and product development, and business services such as study feasibility and business model plan".
Dr al-Jabri pointed out that QU has more than 1,600 professors, specialists, experts and researchers in various disciplines with specialised research centres and business incubators inside and outside the campus. All of this are being used to help innovators, through the IIP Office that communicates with all these bodies on behalf of innovators, saving their time and effort.
"The inventor will ultimately be part of the company, and inventors' efforts will be enhanced through specialised training courses to develop entrepreneurship skills, through the Center for Entrepreneurship," he said.
Regarding Covid-19, Dr al-Jabri said QU has offered special support to confront the pandemic with a focus on technologies, and there are projects that have reached advanced stages of development.
"An air-purifying filter for medical facilities has reached the experimental stage, its technical validity confirmed, and now in the process of intellectual property protection and being turned into a marketable product.
"A robot in development can facilitate doctors communication with patients and food and medicine delivery while undertaking sanitisation tasks also," he said.
The scientific research sector at QU has provided important services and accomplished many innovations to meet some challenges, for example the cooling system for the FIFA 2022 World Cup Qatar, which will be an emerging company.
Stressing that the innovation process is long and arduous that requires patience to reach the ultimate goal, Dr al-Jabri called upon Qatari students and researchers to persevere and work for the progress of the nation through inventions that are important indicators of the State's progress.
"After the 2022 World Cup, the country will focus more on practical research, innovation and technology, imparting great opportunities for young Qataris to move towards research and development for national development," he added.
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