Qatar Research, Development and Innovation (QRDI) Council held its second virtual meeting of 2021. The meeting and discussions held follow the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to implement the Qatar Research, Development and Innovation Strategy 2030 (QRDI 2030) which aims to build a knowledge-based economy, in
line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Council members reviewed and endorsed the Council’s business plan for 2022, which will set in motion implementation of the first phase in the national RDI strategy, QRDI 2030. The meeting also reflected the recent alignment of Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) to QRDI Council.

The Council meeting was led by the Chairman of the Council, His Excellency Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs, as well as the Vice Chair of the Council, Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chair and CEO of Qatar Foundation for Science, Education and Community Development.

Attendance also included all members of the Council, namely: HE Dr. Hanan Al-Kuwari, Minister of Public Health; HE Mr. Ahmed Ali Al-Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry; HE Mr. Mansour bin Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority; HE Dr. Hassan Rashid Al-Derham, President of Qatar University; Mr. Abdullah Hamad Al-Misnad, Executive Vice President of Qatar Free Zones Authority; Dr. Richard O. Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation at Qatar Foundation for Science, Education and Community Development; Professor Low Teck Seng, CEO of the National Research Foundation in Singapore; and Eng. Omar Ali Al-Ansari, Secretary General of the Council.

His Excellency Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah stressed the importance of discussing and approving the 2022 business plan as it will set in motion the first phase of the strategy implementation plan which was approved earlier this year and which covers the period 2022-2024.  

Eng. Omar Ali Al-Ansari presented progress in the Council's journey to-date, addressed the directives of His Highness the Amir regarding the implementation of the strategy and recapped the QRDI 2030 three-year implementation plan. Key elements of the 2022 plan include the launch of a new package of programs to stimulate technology-based innovation in Qatar and enable the private sector, both local and international, to devise solutions that address pressing national challenges.

The plan also aims to transform the national research, development and innovation (RDI) ecosystem, which includes players such as universities and R&D facilities, to position Qatar as a global hub for international RDI centers and a destination for global technology innovation-driven startups. These programs will also build capabilities within the local community while attracting top international talent to work in Qatar’ private sector, both of which will strengthen Qatar’s position as a knowledge-based economy.

Council members acknowledged and appreciated the recent alignment of the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) to QRDI Council, as of August 2021. This step will help achieve greater national, strategic alignment in RDI. It will also allow QNRF programs to be adopted into a broader set of new competitive national funding programs, as per QRDI 2030, and which stretch across the entire RDI value chain from research in universities to innovation in the private sector.

Council members reviewed the progress made toward QRDI Portal, which will be launched as an online platform to foster cooperation and synergy in support of the 2030 strategy. The platform will ultimately provide a comprehensive national database of equipment and devices, research services, experts and specialists, scientific publications, research data collaboration opportunities.

The meeting concluded with Council members expressing their support and approval of the 2022 business plan, while providing directives to evaluate and align scientific research programs and create new programs that support innovation. Additionally, the Council advised on the need to develop a governance system for support programs and form an advisory committee that includes global and local experts that can provide strategic and technical advice on plans and programs, transfer expertise and strength international linkages.