Posted on December 06, 2016

Qatar University (QU) yesterday hosted the second day of the “2016 Qatar France Academia-Industry Forum on Energy and Environment” which is held under the patronage of QU, the French Embassy in Qatar and Qatar Foundation (QF) and under the sponsorship of Total, ENGIE, Alstom and Veolia.

The 2-day forum (December 5-6) aimed to reinforce the contribution of French companies in Qatar to knowledge-based economy and capacity building, and to identify opportunities of collaborations in education between Qatari and French institutions. It brought together academics and scientists from QU, QF, and French universities and companies to discuss many areas of research and development (R&D) in energy and environment such as corrosion and coatings, environment and ecology, environmental monitoring, materials and polymer engineering, sustainable urban development, and catalysis and reaction engineering.

QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham was joined by Ambassador of France to the State of Qatar H.E. Mr Eric Chevallier, QU VP for Research and Graduate Studies Prof Mariam Al-Maadeed QU College of Arts & Sciences Dean (CAS) Dr Rashid Al-Kuwari, Suez International General Manager Mr Thierry Dezenclos, as well as QU and embassy officials. The event featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between QU College of Arts & Sciences and Suez International. The agreement was signed by Dr Rashid Al-Kuwari and Mr Thierry Dezenclos.

In the terms of the agreement, CAS Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (DBES) will select one MSc student to work on a research-development project in Qatar involving Suez. The Department will also provide support in performing chemical or microbiological analysis for Suez. The latter institution will host two students from DBES for summer internships, starting next June 2017, will continue to accept short visits of DBES students in the facilities where it performs its activities in Qatar, and will study the possibility of sponsoring student awards. Both institutions will also co-organize each year a workshop on a topic which will be subject of discussion.

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The program agenda included a plenary session on “International exchanges and R&D collaborations” chaired by H.E. Mr Eric Chevallier. Presentations were delivered by Prof Mariam Al-Maadeed, ENGIE Technology Director Ms Isabelle Moretti, QU Center for Sustainable Development Manager of Algal Technologies Program Mr Hareb Al Jabri, and QDVC Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Administrator Ms Henriette McCool. They presented on “International collaborations in R&D and education”, “How the academia- industry relationship may help to pass from an idea to an industrial asset: the role of pilots”, and “From Algae Technology Project to Algae Technology Program: an example of public/private partnership”.

Also on the program were parallel work sessions, a visit to QU Research Complex’s labs, as well as an exhibition featuring booths by École Polytechnique, University of Lorraine, École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), École Nationale Supérieure des Ingénieurs en Arts Chimiques et Technologiques (ENSIACET), University Pau and Adour, École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers (ENSAM), SNCF/KEOLIS, and Total. Students and visitors were briefed on the various programs, services and facilities provided by the participating institutions.

In his remarks, Dr Hassan Al Derham said: “I would like to welcome you all to the “2016 Qatar France Academia-Industry Forum on Energy and Environment”. It is an honor that Qatar University has been selected to host the second day of the 2016 edition. The forum reflects the Qatari-French bilateral ties which play an important role in promoting cultural and economic relations between the two countries. The theme of the forum – Energy and Environment – is a timely one for dialogue among partners in Qatar, the region, and beyond. This is a global concern at a time when the energy industry is the main cause of many environment issues such as pollution, climate change and global warming.”

He added: “Qatar University continues to deliver on its mission to serve as a bridge between academia and industry by building strong partnerships with institutions from the private and public sectors. These partnerships contribute to advancing science and technology in Qatar through R&D, and to promoting academic excellence through strategic investment in human capital, innovative technology and state-of-the-art facilities. They also serve to bolster QU’s efforts to prepare students for the labor market and a knowledge-based economy, and enhance the organization’s position as a key partner in providing applicable and sustainable solutions that reflect community and industry needs, in line with the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030 and the national research and development strategies.”

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H.E. Mr Eric Chevallier said: “The 2016 Qatar France Academia-Industry Forum on Energy and Environment, the first of its kind, is held under the high patronage of Qatar Foundation, Qatar University and the Embassy of France. It brings together during 2 days the best Qatari and French academics and scientists as well as representatives of industry entities, involved in Energy end Environment. Concrete outcomes are expected in terms of collaborations in academia, in training and in research. I am extremely pleased that H.E. Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice-chair and CEO of Qatar Foundation, and Dr Hassan Al Derham, President of Qatar University, honored us with their presence.”

He added: “My strong belief is that universities and higher education institutes should be placed at the center of innovation policies and must engage with industry to enrich the innovation potential and improve the learning and teaching environments. Qatar, through its “National Vision 2030” as well as through Qatar University and Qatar Foundation activities, has engaged in sustainable development, relying on groundbreaking research, innovation and cutting-edge technology. In this perspective, the Qatar France Academia-Industry Forum Initiative is aiming at reinforcing academic and industrial French participation to Qatar’s knowledge-based economy and capacity building.”

Prof Mariam Al-Maadeed gave a detailed overview on QU academic and research background. She also highlighted the criteria of QU strategic research enhancement which include: establishing interdisciplinary centers of excellence as QU hallmarks, providing cluster training of internationally recognized researchers/faculty in these centers, strengthening research in QU colleges by boosting programs of colleges actively engaged in research and by promoting research programs in selected themes, and integrating research in colleges, centers and institutes to strategically contribute to the growth of the centers/institutes and to support research and education needs of the students.

Prof Al-Maadeed also stressed the importance of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in many areas such as strengthening the culture of impactful discovery and scholarship at QU, increasing emphasis on applied-research in priority areas, advancing basic research to nurture applied research, boosting partnership with industry and stakeholders, and establishing a streamlined system for technology and knowledge transfer.