In a recognition of its commitment to excellence in research, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) has received a major cluster grant from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) to lead a multi-entity, interdisciplinary project on digital citizenship in the Arab region. The $3.8mn four-year grant was awarded under QNRF’s National Priorities Research Programme -- Cluster (NPRP-C) and enables a collaboration between 10 national and international entities from academia and industry.
Dr Raian Ali, Professor in Information and Computing Technology at HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE), will lead the cluster as programme director, with faculty from CSE, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), and Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), among the 25 project leads and project investigators. Titled 'The Future of Digital Citizenship in Qatar: A Socio-Technical Approach', six sub-projects will focus on building an observatory for trends and common topics on social media, web-based tools, educational materials and research into digital literacy and wellbeing, gender equality, social inclusion, behaviour-based approaches to security and safety, detecting and limiting propaganda and other areas. These outcomes will broaden current understanding of digital citizenship, while aiming to enhance the inclusiveness and civility of language and dialogue among digital users with a focus on the Arab world and GCC area.
HBKU’s research partners are Qatar University (leading two projects); Northwestern University in Qatar (leading one project); Bournemouth University; Doha International Family Institute; Hamad Medical Corporation; Primary Health Care Corporation; Sidra Medicine; University of Padova; and the University of Salamanca.
Collaborating academics, practitioners, and policy advisers are specialists in the project’s key knowledge areas of linguistics, artificial intelligence (AI), social inclusion, social informatics, human-computer interaction, social and cyberpsychology, persuasive technology, and online influence. The cluster is supported by a wide range of key stakeholders in Qatar including the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Qatar National Library, Msheireb Museums, Qatar Finance Centre, and Fadaat Media, who will provide facilities and enrich the knowledge transfer.
Dr Wajdi Zaghouani, Assistant Professor in Digital Humanities at CHSS, HBKU, and a leader of a major project in the cluster, said: “We are thrilled to be part of this compelling and interdisciplinary effort that is aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 and we hope it will respond to Qatar’s development needs, accelerate research, and contribute to social progress.”
Dr Raian Ali, said: “This interdisciplinary project evidences HBKU’s strengths in digital humanities, AI, media, socio-cultural communication, and several other areas. CSE and CHSS, in particular, will work together to coordinate the project and host a constructive collaboration between our national and international partners as we work towards outcomes that will impact a range of academic fields, but also present real value for our societies.”
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