Research & innovation are in the DNA of Qatar: Tidu Maini
JOSEPH VARGHESE DOHA SOME local success stories of enterprise in science and technology came to the fore during the panel discussion on the opening day of the second Annual Research Forum (ARF) at the Qatar National Convention Center on Sunday.
Chaired by Executive Director of Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) Tidu Maini, the panelists included Entrepreneurship Manager and Acting Innovation Director at QSTP, Haya al Ghanim, CEO of Green Gulf, Omran Hamad al Kuwari, Senior Advisor on Entrepreneurship, USA, Steven Koltai, Chairman of R & D GlaxoSmithKline, Dr Paul Slaoui, and Worldwide Chairman of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals, Dr Paul Stoffels. Speaking on the research activities in Qatar, Dr Maini said that research and innovation are in the DNA of Qatar.
He said, “Innovation in the use of natural gas has resulted in the production of clean energy in the form of GTL (Gas-to-liquids). Similarly, innovation in education has seen the establishment of Qatar Foundation.” He also cited the example of QSTP where 800 scientists are working under various companies availing worldclass facilites.
“At present, 46 international companies are located in the technology park and many more are on their way,” he added. Explaining the entrepreneurship training offered by QSTP, Haya al Ghanim referred to the technology innovation and the entrepreneurship chain. She said, “The interface between the research output and its application supports corporate research.
QSTP has its own partnership with the Qatari as well as international entities.” She also spoke at length about various challenges faced by the researchers. “The ultimate goal of the researches should be solutions to problems such as diseases, drinking water scarcity, to name but a few.” She described this as the ‘ethics of utilisation.’ She also specified the challenge of global versus local as the technology innovations are global and the markets are global too.
Al Ghanim made a mention of the QSTP initiative called Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme (TIEP) which includes nine training programmes for high school students to provide them with ideas and encourage innovative ventures. Omran al Kuwari narrated his journey from being the youngest Qatari CEO to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
He said that his efforts to set up the company Green Gulf and getting international companies to associate with his dream project of harnessing solar energy are coming to fruition. “The solar testing project is to start late in 2011 for which a 35,000 square metre site will be used.
As many as 25 energy companies will take part in the testing and 16 different technologies will be used in the process.” Omran said that the results of the exercise would be drawn upon to develop the most suitable energy generation technology for Qatar in the next few years.