Qatar to set up biomedical research program
Doha, June 11, 2008
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q), have unveiled a major initiative to establish a world-class biomedical research program.
The program, a first-of-its-kind in the Middle East, aims to form a bio-medical research infrastructure, developing a scientific and technical workforce for benefit of the region.
Central to this endeavour is a partnership approach, bringing together institutions that have overlapping missions in medical education, research and healthcare, said a WCMC-Q official.
The program will also support high quality research in the fields of genetic and molecular medicine, women’s and children’s health, gene therapy, stem cells, and vaccine development.
The specific objectives include development of first rate, translational and clinical research projects that establish Qatar as a center of excellence with a focus on improving the health of the population, he added.
The bio-medical research infrastructure includes laboratories, compliance and regulatory functions besides the creation of a critical mass of research faculty in Qatar and developing a regional scientific and technical workforce, he added.
The program aims to draw on the strengths of existing and future organizations in the Qatar healthcare sector such as Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Sidra Medical and Research Center.
It will also aim to create a conduit for commercialization of discoveries through the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP).
In five years, approximately 120 people will be engaged in the program, establishing a critical mass which will give Qatar a sustainable scientific research community.
These include principal investigators, post doctorates, technicians, administration staff for shared use core facilities, clinical and translational investigators and clinical research support staff.
'Following on from the recent announcement by the Qatar National Research Fund, of $45 million in research funding, I am delighted to participate in the official launch of this bio-medical research initiative,' vice president for research at Qatar Foundation Dr Abdelali Haoudi said.
Qatar Foundation’s aim is to establish Qatar as one of world’s leading research and intellectual centers through partnering with international and regional organizations as required and through being a key partner in the drive towards a knowledge-based economy.
He said bio-medical research would play a vital role in the development of the country’s research capability.
'To underline the importance of research to Qatar, 2.8 per cent of the GDP has been allocated for research programs, which position Qatar among the top ten countries worldwide with the highest GDP contribution to support Research and Development.”
Dean of WCMC-Q Dr Daniel R. Alonso said:”This is a significant investment in biomedical research which forms the second leg of our triple mission of education, research and clinical care.'
'Following on from the graduation of the first doctors to be trained in this country last month we are now embarking on a long term plan which will play a key role in building biomedical research capacity and knowledge for the first time,” he added.
“We will be working closely with our partners such as Qatar Foundation, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), the National Health Authority (NHA), Sidra Medical and Research Center, Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) and our colleagues in our parent campus at WCMC in New York. Eminent researchers and faculty there will be playing major roles in establishing this program.”
Dr Javaid Sheikh, deputy dean for the medical school and vice dean for research at WCMC-Q said: “We have already embarked on two 'proof of concept' research projects. The first one compares variations in gene expression levels in th