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Texas A&M at Qatar receives 23 awards from Qatar National Research Fund, sweeps top recognition awards

Published May 17, 2015

Texas A&M University at Qatar has received 23 research awards and swept the three recognition awards from the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) at the QNRF Seventh Annual Research Forum.

Texas A&M at Qatar received its 23 awards from the total 120 chosen for funding from 869 projects submitted by 29 institutions in Qatar. Texas A&M at Qatar’s awarded projects span its degree programs in chemical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and petroleum engineering, as well as its Science Program.

“Our research is contributing new knowledge, which is critical for the foundation of a knowledge-based economy,” said Dr. Mark H. Weichold, dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar. “This latest round of awards and recognition from QNRF demonstrates the high quality of research conducted at Texas A&M at Qatar and the world-class caliber of our faculty and research staff. We are grateful to QNRF for supporting our mission to be a valued resource to the State of Qatar as we work to support Qatar in achieving its goals.”

Texas A&M at Qatar researchers and its research office were also singled out for major awards.

Dr. Haitham Abu-Rub, professor and chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Program, was named Best Researcher of the Year for his productivity in high-impact journals. Abu-Rub is also managing director of the Smart Grid Center – Extension in Qatar and a chief scientist at Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI). In the past year, he published 25 journal papers, 11 conference papers, one book and four patent disclosures. An expert in the area of power electronics, renewable energy, smart grid and AC drives, Abu-Rub was awarded QNRF NPRP Exceptional Proposal recognition in 2013 for a $4.6 million project to improve solar power conversion.

Abu-Rub said, “This award is in appreciation of our high-quality research and dedication. It means a lot for me and for my research team and for Texas A&M at Qatar and QEERI, as well. I am proud that I am able to help shape Qatar’s worldwide reputation for high-level research. We are lucky to have Qatar supporting such world-class research. Qatar National research Fund helped us reach such a high level of productivity and worldwide success and visibility. We in turn are proud to contribute to Qatar’s National Vision 2030.”

Receiving the Best Research Project for 2015 was Texas A&M at Qatar’s Dr. Tingwen Huang, professor in the Science Program. Huang and his research team investigate the dynamics, optimization and control of neural networks, chaotic dynamical systems, complex networks, and control and optimization of memristors (electronic resistors with memory) and smart grid, all of which are critical to development of Qatar.

Huang said, “In the past several years, my team made many original contributions on dynamics, control and optimization on various nonlinear dynamical systems. Four of our papers sponsored by Qatar National Research Fund are highly cited papers, ranking in the top 1 percent by citations for each field and each year. It would not be possible for us to make such achievements without the excellent support from QNRF and Texas A&M at Qatar’s Research Office. I highly appreciate their valuable support.”

Texas A&M at Qatar’s research administration office was also honored, being named Best Research Office for the third time in the past four years. Texas A&M at Qatar’s research office is responsible for vetting research proposals that are submitted to QNRF for funding and managing the awarded research projects. Research Office employees include Cynthia Richmond, Anu Kuriakose, Kathleen Bates, Anjum John, Daryl Daniel, Abdul Azeem Thadil, Erin Kinne, Smitha Abraham and Gerald Cruz.

Dr. Kenneth R. Hall, associate dean for research and graduate studies, said, “Yesterday was a most satisfying one for research at Texas A&M University at Qatar. Our faculty members and researchers received significant recognition from the Qatar National Research fund when they received both recognition awards and received 23 NPRP research awards, which represented a 20 percent success rate for their proposals. In addition, our Research Office also received a recognition award as the best research office. Texas A&M at Qatar is grateful to QNRF for its generous and enabling support of our research program.”