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The following project descriptions are a sampling of current and past projects funded both internally and externally. The projects show a range of activity from all disciplines at CNA-Q. 

Improving and Enriching the Human Capital of Qatar through the Identification and Development of 21st Century Skills for Sustainability and Employability
Principal investigator: Rupert Maclean AO, PhD, QAPCO and UNESCO Chair
Funded by: QNRF National Priorities Research Program
Research Period: 01/2018 – 01/2021

The purpose of the research is to develop authentic and proven strategies through which the post-secondary education sectors (both technical and vocational colleges and universities) can enhance human capital development in the sustainable development of Qatar as it moves towards a knowledge economy. In particular, we are investigating skills development requirements in key industry areas that will play an important role in diversifying Qatar’s economy: that is, Energy and Petrochemical; Tourism and Hospitality; Banking and Financial Services; and the Built Environment and Construction sectors.

Overview of QNRF Project NPRP

Interactive Digital Recognition Media Technology for Marketing Communication an On-Campus Intervention in Qatar

Principal investigator: Robert Ford, Professor and Mary Renton, Professor
Funded by: SEED Applied Research Fund
Research Period: 04/2018 – 03/2019

These are two SEED funded projects is developing the technology to target marketing messages through an interactive screen. Professor Ford’s project is develop the necessary technology which will be studied through marketing analysis. The second project with Professor Renton is examining the effectiveness of the technology as a marketing communications tool. The two projects have four student research assistants.
Inhibition of Bacterial Growth and Biofilm Formation in Seawater by Green Nanomaterials

Principal investigator: Jennifer Strickland, Professor
Funded by: SEED Applied Research Fund in partnership with Qatar Energy and Environmental Research Institute (QEERI)
Research Period: 06/2017 – 11/2017

A SEED funded project in partnership with QEERI on examining the inhibition of the growth of bacteria by nano-filtration filter materials under development by QEERI through a QNRF funded project. Two environmental health students worked on the project.
Qataris students' interest in and attitudes toward science – Phase II

Principal investigator: Ziad Said, PhD
Funded by: QNRF National Priorities Research Program
Research Period: 02/2016 – 04/2019

One of the key goals in the Qatar National Vision 2030 is the diversification of Qatar economy away from a dependence on oil and gas revenue to an economy based on revenue derived from knowledge and invention. For this transition to take place a truly exceptional educational system is required. Its science education must be uniquely exceptional to forge graduates who will be active and meaningful contributors to this new economy. In short, without excellence in science education, one of the main goals of QNV 2030 simply will not take place. It is vitally important that students’ attitudes toward science is highly positive and that they are and remain motivated to achieve in science and pursue science-related careers. What is most worrying is that recent studies paint a picture of an educational system that is not supporting a passion for science and careers in science-related industries.
 
Unfortunately, the science attitudes of Qatari students are not as strong as those of students in many other countries. Results generated from Phase I of this project (together with recent results from international tests such as PISA and TIMMS) substantiate this statement. Those findings from our previous NPRP research (QIAS I) include:
 
 (a) A declining interest of Qatari students in all types of schools (independent, private and international) when compared with their counterparts from other nationalities (Arab non-Qatari and non-Arab expatriates). Qatari students’ attitudes toward science, as well as their intentions to study science in the future, decrease as they approach high school;

(b) There is an inconsistency, or a gap, between positive views of science (and its utility) of the majority of students and the lack of interest in enrolment in science programs and the pursuit of science based careers.

(c) Female students' attitudes are comparable to those of males which is uncommon in most countries of the world where males show more interest in taking up science courses or work in science related careers.

(d) Non-Qatari Arab students studying in Qatari independent schools and Qatari Private schools show less interest and declining attitude when compared with their nationals studying in their community schools or in International schools.
 
The aim of this proposal is to identify factors behind these controversial features and dig deep into:

(1) the issue of how the science education process is implemented in Qatar’s schools;

(2) to what extent the Qatari school environment supports the teaching and learning processes of science
(3) how socio-economic factors may contribute to the interest and attitude of students and;

(4) how all these factors and other factors can contribute to future enrollment in science and science-based programs at the tertiary level and, consequently, engagement in science related careers. Both quantitative and qualitative instruments will be used to explore these factors by surveying and interviewing students and teachers.

Synopsis/ impact: Research studies confirmed that there are positive correlations between students' achievement in science subjects and positive attitudes toward science. Improving attitude starts with identifying factors behind its decline. Higher achievement will provide highly qualified, and motivated learners in the sciences at every stage of the academic pipeline. This is in line with the requirement for knowledge ‐based society which is central to Qatar National Vision 2030. This will also help advance a scientific culture of research and practice which largely depends on "inputs," of school graduates who opt to pursue studies in scientific fields.

Outcomes of professional diabetes care interventions by community pharmacists in Qatar

Principal investigator: Wisal Salih, Professor
Funded by: Seed Applied Research Fund in partnership with Kulud Pharmacy
Research Period: 04/2015 – 04/2016

Description: Qatar ranks the 4th highest in diabetes prevalence in the world, and the second highest in the GCC; prevalence of the disease is more than double the global average according to the International Diabetes Federation statistics (2015). There is an urgent need to implement services that will ensure that lifestyle advice, patient education, medication reviews and ongoing counselling are available to patients with diabetes, especially those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). This need has been emphasized by Qatar's National Health Strategy (QNHS) in its first goal of establishing a world class health care system. Diabetes service design is highlighted as one of the strategies advocating the delivery of high quality services, easily accessible in the community, with primary, secondary and tertiary facilities available for those who need them. The objectives of this study are directly in line with the first goal of QNHS and its associated diabetes service design and community pharmacy strategies. This pilot study is set to examine the effectiveness of professional and structured community pharmacists' interventions following the pharmacists' completion of a diabetes education program at the College of the North Atlantic (CNA‐Q). This program will equip community pharmacists with the tools needed to deliver world class diabetes care, supplementing the physicians' role in improving T2D patients' condition in Qatar. The training modules are based on established international standards for diabetes education by the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), American Diabetes Association (ADA), and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

Synopsis/ impact: This pilot study emphasized the positive impact of structured pharmacists' interventions in the care of patients with T2D. This was evident by the reduction in the levels of FPG levels and HbA1C as well as an improvement of patients' diabetes knowledge. The sponsor is continuing to partner with CNA-Q and the principal investigator to role of the pharmacy education model to the remainder of their organization.


Developing innovative phase change materials based on raw materials based in Qatar

Principal investigator: Ziad Said, PhD, Professor
Funded by: QNRF National Priorities Research Program
Research Period: 01/2015 – 01/2018

Description: Phase Change Materials (PCMs) use the latent heat of fusion to store thermal energy. PCMs can be used in thermal management systems to manufacture innovative high value products in a wide range of industries. The use of PCM in all these applications will for example provide significant energy saving and comfort in buildings, improve food quality during storage, and will provide efficient cooling of electrical and electronic devices. These PCMs are carbon neutral since they will be used for energy saving. However, research is needed to develop efficient methods of encapsulating these PCMs. The PI with his through knowledge and experience in the production and encapsulation of these materials and a long experience in their use in a wide range of domestic and industrial applications. These PCM materials are produced from the process of converting natural gas into gasoline and Qatar has one of the largest plants of converting natural gas into gasoline. Based on the outcome of this project Qatar will become the largest PCM manufacturing country in the world. Producing raw PCM by itself is not sufficient to capture world market. It is essential to have the PCMs encapsulated in innovative ways so that it can be used in the different applications and bring these materials form low value to high value products. Hence with our unique expertise in this topic, the outcome of this project will insure the establishment of a new and unique industry in Qatar.

Synopsis/ impact: Qatar has one of the largest plants of converting natural gas into gasoline. Phase change materials (PCM) can be produced from such type industry as side high‐value products compared to the petroleum products. Based on the outcome of this project Qatar will become the largest PCM manufacturing country in the world. Producing raw PCMs by itself is not sufficient to capture world market for selling PCM products. It is essential to have the PCM encapsulated in an innovative way to prevent its interaction with the environment and to develop fire retardants for use with the PCMs so that they can be used safely in the different applications, especially for use in buildings. The LPI with his 30‐years of experience in the subject and his international reputation and the vast experience of the key investigators in processing, it will be possible to establish the infrastructure, research development, and local expertise, which are all needed to establish a new and unique research area, which will eventually lead to a new industry in Qatar. These products not only have high value compared to petroleum products but they are capable of reducing the energy needed for heating and cooling in buildings and hence reduce CO2 emission, which has become an important objective in Qatar and other countries.  


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Development of a framework for practical Science in alignment with the curriculum standards of grades K-12 for independent schools in Qatar

Principal investigator: Ziad Said, PhD, Professor
Funded by: QNRF National Priorities Research Program
Research Period: 01/2015 – 01/2018

The objectives of the project is:
a)To explore the current use of science practical activities in science classes in grades K‐12 of independent schools in Qatar;
b)To identify factors that encourage the delivery of good quality practical work in school science and the barriers that may inhibit it;
c)To develop a framework to encourage and support the effective use of practical work in school science in Qatar, aligned to the national curriculum standards of science, and propose a strategy for its  implementation.
d)Explore the impact of training teachers on raising students’ motivation and interest in science and attain better achievement on the evidence of a preliminary study, only a few schools provide their students with opportunities to undertake practical science activities.
To achieve the above objectives, it is intended to work with education authorities and schools to:
a)Map practical activities required by science curriculum standards across all grades
b)Audit the facilities and resources for practical science in schools (laboratory provision, availability of materials and equipment, technical support, etc.);
c)Survey the practices and views on practical work in science of science coordinators, teachers, lab technicians, administrators and students;
d)Explore the impact of training teachers on raising students’ motivation and interest in science and attain better achievement.

Synopsis/ impact: As Qatar diversifies its economy, there is an increasing emphasis, in higher education, on subjects that propel a knowledge economy, such as math and science. One among the key challenges to tackle to achieve QNV2030 as stated in QNSD 2011‐16 is: Raising the achievement of Qatari students at all levels, especially in math, science and English and, through that, increasing educational attainment (QNSD p 124). Qatar's Third National Development Report, stated that "declining enrolment in science and mathematics needs to be reversed especially at the tertiary level, to better fulfil the needs of knowledge‐based economy industries" (NHDR2012, p.52). Practical is a distinctive feature of science education. It is regarded as critical to improve student attitudes to an interest in science and to the uptake of more science subjects at university or enrolled in science based disciplines. This project aims to explore the appropriate strategy to develop a framework that can integrate practical science activities within the teaching and learning process of school science. The final objective is to extend students' knowledge towards understanding of natural world, main concepts, ideas and scientific theories by introducing effective system for practicing these activities that are designed to be both " hands on" and "mind on" oriented.  
Establishing a Corrosion Atlas for Qatar Petroleum

Principal investigator: Hanan Farhat, Professor
Funded by: Qatar Petroleum
Research Period: 01/2015 – 03/2022

Description: Duplex (DSS) and superduplex stainless steels (SDSS) have a dual phase (duplex) microstructure that leads to a combination of toughness, strength, and corrosion resistance not obtainable in conventional austenitic stainless steels (ASS). As such, they have replaced conventional austenitic stainless steels in several industrial applications, especially in petrochemical, desalination and oil and gas production. Despite the superior characteristics of these steels, stress corrosion cracking occurs and propagates within a very short time in a severe marine, high ambient temperature environment. There is no systematic method for predicting the inception of cracking. This research project will yield important data for predicting when such a failure will occur and also for understanding the failure mechanisms.

Synopsis/ impact: Decisions on material selection to prevent certain corrosion mechanism has always been a difficult task. To be safe, one tends to buy expensive material. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to execute field testing of selected stainless steel and nickel alloys to examine the resistance against CSCC which in turn will help QP to better control their costs.  

Build an Environmental Research Robot to clean the beach at Ras Laffan Industrial City—a nesting habitat for the hawksbill turtle in Qatar
Principal investigator: Sarah Inkpen, Professor
Funded by: ConocoPhillips and Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grant
Research Period: 02/2010 – 12/2017
 
Description: Ras Laffan is a secure city making it impossible for groups of volunteers to clean the beach.  The debris that washes up on the shore is hazardous for people to handle.  The cleanup robots will have two missions.  The first and obvious one is to make the beach cleaner and therefore safer for the female turtles and the hatchlings.  The second mission is to make the path for the data collecting robot easier to maneuver.
Over the past two years, the students have become experts in designing, programming and working with a large array of sensors.  With this past experience, we are confident that the students will be able to build the cleanup robots and employ them to remove debris autonomously along the coast of Ras Laffan.   To overcome any shortcomings of the robots, they will be programmed to know when to seek human assistance and be able to communicate with a human being in certain given circumstances.  The students would be able to aid the robot from the lab without having to go to Ras Laffan.

Synopsis/ impact:
The project demonstrated robotic technology that exhibited the best pedagogical theories involving hands-on learning, systems thinking, problem solving and modeling. Our main impetus was to supply opportunities for undergraduate students from the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar to be involved in environmental research issues employing robotic technology.  The multidisciplinary team applied classroom theory in a research setting using computer programming, environmental science, statistics, physics, mechanical and electronic engineering. 

The project demonstrated the effectiveness of environmental research robots and the challenges inherent to them and the turtles in harsh desert and industrial environments. The ultimate goal was the development of a customized and fully functioning non-intrusive robot for environmental monitoring that can be used to enhance or protect nature.

Augmented Reality (AR) performance and training applications for Qatari industrial trainee
Principal investigator: Robert Stephenson
Funded by: Seed Applied Research Fund and QAPCO

Description: The CNA‐Q ALT‐Centre, in collaboration with the School of Engineering Technology, investigated the potential for Augmented Reality (AR) equipment and applications to enhance the training experience of students preparing for employment in the oil and gas sector. Augmented reality systems are an exciting next generation development in industrial training. Augmented reality takes a user's physical environment and integrates it with digital information such as sound, video and graphics in real time. This overlay of digital information onto a user's view of the world can be used to give a trainee additional guidance to improve their understanding and competency of a task they would encounter, for example, in a process plant environment.

Synopsis/ impact: Qatari students, including technicians employed with QAPCO, will benefit from an enhanced learning experience, and more effective preparation for their careers in the oil and gas sector. This enhanced learning experience will include the ability of augmented reality training solutions to exploit students' interest in experiential, hands‐on learning. Further, it is widely known, for example, that students at the College are strong visual learners but weak readers. Given its visual nature, augmented reality taps into students' preferential learning style and simultaneously helps to overcome language barriers with working in English. Additionally, because the Augmented Reality learning objects are customized to QAPCO's equipment and procedures, the students will have higher levels of job readiness, which decreases additional in‐house training for QAPCO and increases safety awareness for students.

QAPCO will benefit from a better prepared trainee workforce and from exposure to performance support and training solutions that can potentially be integrated into its own workplace training programs which can be supported by CNA‐Q.  

CNA‐Q will gain a better understanding of the potential for AR‐based training solutions, as well as the technical and pedagogical requirements for the effective integration of such training solutions. 

Both CNA‐Q and QAPCO will benefit from this project through their establishment as leaders and first adopters in the use of augmented reality training and performance support solutions in the oil and gas sector in Qatar and in the GCC region.

Antimicrobial Activities of Traditional Arab Medicinal Plants
Principal investigators: Susan Maszia, Professor Funded by: QNRF Undergraduate Research Experience Program Research Period: 09/2011 – 06/2012

Description: This research focused on testing antimicrobial properties of traditional medicines used in Arab culture. The main objectives of this study were to search literature on the medicinal plants used in Qatar, choose a number of traditional herbal medicines used by the Arab culture, record their medicinal uses, and to test their antimicrobial activities against a number of known bacterial and fungal species. These in vitro screenings are necessary to determine if the plant extracts exhibit useful antimicrobial properties.

Synopsis/ impact:

This UREP ethnobotanical study is especially important for a number of reasons,
i) knowledge of the mode of preparation and use of traditional herbal medicines lies primarily with the generation of elders
ii) traditional knowledge, as with many cultures, is verbal rather than written and recorded
iii) few scientific studies have been completed exhibiting the local herbal medicinal properties
iv) aspects of the Arab traditions are disappearing with progress and a more modern way of life
iv) Arab desert environment is changing due to construction and expansion into ecologically sensitive areas which affect the habitat of local flora
v) environmental changes may lead to the extinction of some desert plant species which are an important source of local herbal medicine.
Nineteen desert plants were collected in winter 2011. All 19 plants exhibited varying levels of antimicrobial activity against 10 Gram –positive and Gram-negative human pathogenic bacteria and one fungal species. One plant in particular, Paronychia argyrocoma, accounted for 22% of all positive tests, particularly as methanol extracts. 


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