Qatar Foundation (QF) chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Wednesday attended an online event celebrating 25 years of QF's commitment to research, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Sheikha Moza was joined by QF's senior officials and representatives of research and academic institutions from Qatar’s research, development, and innovation community.
‘Empowering Innovation’, a two-day event, is organised by QF Research, Development and Innovation's (QF RDI) division, Industry Development and Knowledge Transfer (IDKT).
At the event, the winners of the award for distinguished inventor; distinguished creator and innovation of the year 2020 were announced.

Dr Kareem Darwish, Distinguished Creator of the Year 2020

Dr Nimir El Bashir, Distinguished Inventor of the Year 2020

Dr Kareem Darwish of Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), a part of QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University; Dr Nimir El Bashir of QF partner university Texas A&M University at Qatar; and Automatic Generation of Personas – a tool for generating user personas from gathering social media data by QCRI, were accorded the awards of Distinguished Creator of the Year 2020; Distinguished Inventor of the Year 2020; and Innovation of the Year 2020, respectively.
The event is a celebration of QF’s dedication for the past 25 years, of driving innovation, research and entrepreneurship, fostering social development and a culture of lifelong learning, and preparing bright minds to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.
Dr Richard O'Kennedy, vice president, QF RDI, opened the event highlighting the role of QF in nurturing Qatar’s innovation ecosystem.
“Innovation is vital for our societies to function efficiently and absolutely necessary in achieving national and global sustainable development goals. The existing issues such as climate change, growing chronic diseases and expanding social economic disparities can’t be addressed without novel ideas and disruptive technologies. Qatar Foundation understands this reality and for the last 25 years has been instrumental in nurturing Qatar’s innovation ecosystem,” explained O’Kennedy.
“Qatar Foundation has been able to address national priorities and provide impactful solutions to society’s many challenges. With contributions from many of its institutions, Qatar Foundation is bringing novel ideas and products to the global market,” he highlighted.
“The research, development and innovation landscape at Qatar Foundation encompasses infrastructure, talent, and policy with stakeholders spanning academia, technology, entrepreneurship, and healthcare. This structure enables the efficient exchange of knowledge, skills, and techniques, which foster the development of the scientific community and economic growth,” he added.
The event also featured the unveiling of the “Wall of Innovation”; and a keynote speech by Wesley Blakeslee, IP Policy & Innovation Infrastructure expert. Blakeslee presented an overview of QF’s initiatives in policy development relating to intellectual property and entrepreneurship, and where those initiatives place QF in progressing its innovation ecosystem.
Highlighting some of the support mechanisms, QF RDI has put in place to help inventors and innovators develop their ideas into marketable products, Dr O'Kennedy outlined the features of the Innovation Coupon; the Innovation Fellowship; and Entrepreneurial Leave, as well as the Technology Venture Fund offered by Qatar Science & Technology Park. He also announced that IDKT had developed a new searchable website and complementary tools in the form of guidebooks to assist Qatar’s community members in working with QFRDI’s researchers, inventors, technologists, and entrepreneurs.
Since its founding, QF has earned an increasing number of national and international patents. These successes underscore QF’s unrelenting efforts to support the development of solutions to national and global challenges, and the capability of its RDI infrastructure to develop ideas and transform them into impactful market-ready innovations. To highlight this accomplishment, Dr O'Kennedy unveiled the Digital Wall of Innovation – a virtual showcase of close to 80 patents awarded to QF in recent years, and honouring the brilliant inventors behind them.
Dr O’Kennedy also recognised the key contributors for Commercial Licensing Activity, highlighting QF staff who have played vital roles in facilitating successful licensing of inventions or creative works for commercial purposes.
“With these initiatives, and numerous others empowering people to invent and innovate, I am confident that we will see more patents and better solutions to national and global challenges,” added, Dr O'Kennedy.
Day two of the celebration will see a high-powered panel discussion tackle the importance of focusing on Technology Maturation and Commercialisation activities to deliver more impactful results.