The common interest of Italy and Qatar in the fields of scientific research and technology has seen the two countries develop various forms of cooperation and partnerships aimed at facing present and future global challenges with innovative solutions and enhancing human capacity through greater interaction among researchers and knowledge exchange. In this regard, Qatar Foundation (QF) has played a crucial role, especially in enhancing connections with leading Italian research institutes and universities, and engaging them in Qatari research, development, and innovation projects.
“When I took office few months ago,” says H.E. the Ambassador of Italy, Alessandro Prunas, “I had the chance to meet many Italian researchers working at QF institutes, and I realized that there was a growing number of local projects involving top Italian research centers. When I discussed with QF the ways to enhance bilateral cooperation, we felt it would be essential to disseminate information about existing QF programmes to generate greater awareness among the Italian scientific research community, as well as highlight the contribution of Doha-based Italian scientists and experts as a means to encourage new research, development and innovation partnerships between our countries”.
This common view has led to a social media campaign produced by the Embassy of Italy in collaboration with Qatar Foundation, which was launched by Ambassador Prunas on Wednesday, August 12th, and promoted on the Twitter and Facebook profiles of the Italian Embassy in Doha. The campaign features leading Qatari entities like QF Research Development and Innovation’s (QF RDI) internationally recognised Qatar Genome Programme, as well as the three national research institutes – Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Qatar Computing Research Institute, Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, that are part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) at QF and Vice President for Research at HBKU said: “Collaboration is a crucial factor for highly effective research. It contributes to both accelerating scientific progress and it enhances quality of the work. Our partnership with Italian research centers and scientific experts is part of QF RDI’s effort in placing Qatar at the forefront of scientific research and technological advancement and providing solutions to national and global needs.”
The campaign is based on a series of video-clips by Italian and local QF researchers who highlight their ongoing research projects and share their experiences of being part of Qatar’s and QF’s RDI ecosystem. The videos are a window to the cutting-edge initiatives that have the potential to bring about positive impact in our respective countries as well as the wider international community. The campaign has been developed also to highlight the personal commitment of these scientists and experts, who are devoted to their academic and professional careers in areas that are key to the future of our next generations, such as Environmental Policies and Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence, Precision Medicine and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These are just a few examples of areas of joint interest which are also top national priorities in Italy and Qatar”, comments Ambassador Prunas.
“Science diplomacy” or, as I like to call it, “diplomacy for science and research” can be instrumental in building bridges between the scientific communities of our countries and bring about closer interaction for the benefit of people beyond borders. The COVID-19 global emergency has made us realize that we need to improve common tools to respond to health crises and this can be achieved by reinforcing the network of relations that are already in place between our countries. Italy is eager to further increase diplomatic efforts to encourage research and scientific cooperation with Qatar. “