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QAFCO - Texas A&M University at Qatar Conference marks 10 years with Nobel laureates, world-renowned experts

Published Feb 15, 2018

Texas A&M University at Qatar and the Qatar Fertiliser Co. (QAFCO) marked the 10th anniversary of their joint conference 15 Feb. with a daylong event featuring nine world-renowned chemistry and chemical engineering experts, including two Nobel laureates.

Held under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry, the conference highlighted the pressing need for policy makes, industry and academia to work together to develop new knowledge and create scientific solutions that have direct impact on the world around us.

H.E. Minister Al-Sada said, "The series is significant because it places Qatar at the genesis of an expanding knowledge pipeline."

The 10th-anniversary conference, “Emerging Frontiers in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering,” featured a slate of its highest-caliber speakers to date, including keynote speakers Sir Fraser Stoddart, a 2016 Nobel laureate in chemistry and a faculty member at Northwestern University (USA), and Dr. Robert H. Grubbs, 2005 Nobel laureate in chemistry and a faculty member at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech, USA). 

QAFCO CAO Dr. Hamed Al-Marwani said, “The QAFCO – Texas A&M Conference 2018 is a confluence of ideas. I believe conferences such as these can help give better insights into issues wherein institutional learnings of industry and academia can mutually benefit. I hope the conference becomes the platform for sharing ideas to find solutions for short and long-term issues facing us.”

The 2018 conference featured an impressive technical program, and sessions showcased opinions and research from some of the world’s most respected names in chemistry and chemical engineering. Other speakers were all recognized experts in their fields: Dr. Tobin Jay Marks from Northwestern University (USA); Dr. David Bergbreiter, Texas A&M University (USA); Dr. Paul Anastas, Yale University (USA); Dr. Maurice Brookhart, University of Houston (USA) and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA); Dr. Stratos Pistikopoulos, Texas A&M University (USA); Dr. John M. Vohs, University of Pennsylvania (USA); and Dr. Peter Cummings, Vanderbilt University (USA).

The event also provided a forum for the exchange of ideas and opportunities for future collaborations.

Dr. César O. Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “It is critical for industry and academia to work together to solve the real-world problems that will affect our future. For the past 10 years, Texas A&M at Qatar and QAFCO have partnered to host the annual QAFCO – Texas A&M University at Qatar Conference to encourage the exchange of knowledge, ideas and expertise that is essential to fuel innovation and new thinking. We are grateful to QAFCO, our longtime friend and partner, for its visionary leadership in driving the success of this annual event.”

The conference series was initiated by Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, then-chair of the Science Program at Texas A&M at Qatar, who chaired and organized the pilot edition in 2007. QAFCO, Qatar’s first large-scale venture in the petrochemical sector, was the exclusive sponsor of the conference. Building on the success of the first edition and the large audience of chemists and engineers it attracted, QAFCO and Texas A&M at Qatar agreed to jointly host the conference, which grew to become a regional point of attraction for scientists and engineers. 

In 2014, conference organizers decided to widen the scope of the series to closely align the event with the needs of Qatar and its industrial sector. QAFCO generously renewed its exclusive support with a $500,000 sponsorship agreement for another five years (2014-2018). Keynote speakers and invited speakers came from different countries all over the globe. Previous editions of the conference have focused on polymers and materials, synthetic methodologies in organic chemistry, and green chemistry and green engineering, nanotechnology and energy, sustainable chemical processes, CO2 management and renewable energy, and the water, energy and food nexus. 

Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, associate dean for research at Texas A&M at Qatar and the founder of this conference series in 2007, said, “This conference and our partnership with QAFCO have grown alongside Qatar's knowledge-based economy as the nation invested in scientific research over the past decade. Qatar has earned global recognition for its pursuit of knowledge, and we see dividends of that effort across industry and in our classrooms and laboratories. The conference has garnered excellent international reputation over the last decade and we are proud to have two Nobel Laureates as keynote speakers this year."