The outstanding research efforts of students at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) were recognised at the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF)’s 13th Annual Undergraduate Research Experience Programme (UREP) Competition, where two teams from the Qatar Foundation partner institution won first place in the poster and oral presentation categories.
Held virtually this year, the UREP competition featured 26 teams from universities across Qatar. The GU-Q teams competed in the Social Arts and Humanities pillar of the competition, and presented original research on the socio-economic and policy environment of Qatar conducted while they were undergraduates. Alisha Kamran and Halak Sheth won Best Oral Presentation for their project, 'Investigating the Resilience of Qatar’s Trade Network' (UREP 23-148-5-036) under the mentorship of Dr Jack Rossbach, assistant professor of Economics. Their winning project determined that Qatar is well-diversified across trading partners and imported products, and highlighted the need for continued diversification. For the researchers, UREP offered a chance to practise applying their developing skill sets while an undergraduate.
“Our faculty mentor has been paramount to this research study. Dr Rossbach’s courses equip students with the ability to clean large economic datasets and build code for trade models which we were able to apply to the study of the resilience in Qatar's trade network,” said Sheth.
Partner Kamran added that the UREP programme “provided graduates like Halak and myself with the opportunity to apply classroom learning to the real world, and to experience research culture first-hand while appreciating the challenge of contributing to existing literature.”
Best Poster Presentation was awarded to Abdul Rehmaan Qayyum (GU-Q '21) and Khansa Maria (GU-Q '21) for their project on 'Humanising Resources: Analysing Employment Opportunities for the Disabled in Qatar'' (UREP 24-215-5-041). They worked with primary research mentor Dr Sonia Alonso, associate professor of Government, and Mentor Zahra Babar, associate director for Research at the GU-Q Centre for International and Regional Studies (CIRS).
“This recognition from QNRF is important because it increases the visibility of our project, and more importantly, the issue that we are highlighting,” said Maria. “I am grateful to our mentors for pushing us beyond our comfort zone and making sure that we gave the project
our best. We are also grateful to the disability community in Qatar for supporting our project in every way possible.”
Receiving UREP funding for a project around disability-related issues was inspiring to Qayyum, who added: “This recognition is a huge motivating factor for me to continue working for the inclusion of disabled people in Qatar and for other significant causes.”