<img alt=“Doha Annual Research Forum.jpg” align=right src=“http://blogs.nature.com/houseofwisdom/images/Doha%20Annual%20Research%20Forum.jpg” width=“280” height=“186” />
Qatar’s second Annual Research Forum, currently underway in Doha, hopes to set up the small Gulf state as an important player in the global researcher sector.
“For any country to take it’s place in the world and thrive in a globally competitive marketplace, it must offer value to that global comment,” said Abdelali Haoudi, vice president for research at Qatar Foundation. “The success of Qatar locally should not be separated from the creative use of Qatar’s resources and leadership to advance global development.”
The opening panel brought together a strong, international panel of scientists, including Bruce Alberts, former president of the United States National Academy of Science, Sir Marc Walport, chief executive of the Welcome Trust, and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of The Organization of the Islamic Conference.
The panel discussed how science research in Qatar can take on a more global aspect, and how educational systems and curricula can be overhauled to take this vision into account.
“That panel is very much intended to be an opening conversation to a real strategic process on what can the Qatar Foundation do, and what should the Qatar Foundation do, to implement that vision of a true renaissance of science in the Arab and Muslim world,” says Richard Klausner, the former director of the National Cancer Institute and producer of the session.
Klausner expects there to be a lot of discussions and work over the next few months to set up real, tangible projects and products along the lines of the advice given by the panel.
“Qatar is committed to becoming a force for global change and development, especially in the fields of science, technology and innovation,” added Haoudi.
Klausner thinks there is much that Qatar can offer the international community. “There’s the actual support of the new tools which are leapfrog tools. These virtualizing and communication tools have a real role to play in enabling science to take place without waiting to build huge institutions with critical masses in every area – that’s going to take a long time.”
He also adds that there is the non-virtual angle, which are real resources, such as scholarships, research collaborations or institutional support. “I think all these options are on the table, last night was the opening of the strategic process to think about what the Qatar Foundation can do. I think the opportunities are endless.”