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In 2016, Texas A&M University at Qatar continued its role driving research that has an impact on Qatar and the world, collaborated with Qatari industry, hosted guest speakers and events, and built on its reputation for excellence.

Texas A&M at Qatar faculty, students and other researchers made new breakthroughs in energy and the environment, computer science, health sciences and the humanities.

Researchers are working on new ways to reclaim water and use solar energy to create new fuels, use consumer technology to improve healthcare and find new ways to prepare future business leaders to communicate in an increasingly global economy.

The most prominent of these research projects are those receiving funding and recognition from the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). At Qatar Foundation’s Annual Research Conference, Texas A&M at Qatar faculty and students received awards, including Best Research Project of the Year, Best Research Office of the Year, Best Poster and the Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) Oral Presentation Award. In addition to these awards, 16 proposals received funding from the QNRF out of a total of funded proposals. QNRF also awarded five UREP grants that gave additional opportunities to 16 undergraduate students at the branch campus, giving them chances to give presentations, publish research and win more awards.

Texas A&M at Qatar also saw the introduction of a new dean in 2016. In July, interim dean Dr. Ann L. Kenimer handed leadership of the branch campus over to the new dean, Dr. César O. Malavé, who was previously professor and dean of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University. Malavé succeeds Dr. Mark H. Weichold, who left his position as dean to become the executive director for the Halliburton Global Engineering Program in Texas A&M’s College of Engineering.

And in late 2016, Texas A&M at Qatar received even more recognition from the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), an engineering research agency of the State of Texas headquartered at Texas A&M’s main campus in College Station, Texas (USA). Two Texas A&M at Qatar faculty members — and TEES researchers — received TEES Engineering Genesis Awards for Multidisciplinary Research.

Dr. Nimir Elbashir and Dr. Shehab Ahmed each received the award, which is presented to TEES researchers who have secured significant research grants of $1 million or more.

Elbashir is a professor in the Chemical Engineering Program and the Petroleum Engineering Program at Texas A&M at Qatar and director of the TEES Gas and Fuels Research Center. He and his research team were recognized for research excellence in building up unique global research collaboration models between academia and industry to develop novel technologies for CO2 utilization. One of these research projects is a $4.8 million project funded by QNRF under the National Priority Research Fund-Exceptional Proposal in collaboration with Total, Northwestern University and Qatar University. Ahmed is an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Program at Texas A&M at Qatar. He was awarded a grant from RasGas Company Limited for his proposal, “An Intelligent Open Hole Wireline Tool Conveyance System” with co-PI Dr. Hussein Alnuweiri. Their research is focused on developing an intelligent open hole wireline tool conveyance system to overcome challenges in deploying logging tools in deviated and horizontal wellbores. The proposed intelligent wireline system can potentially save significant rig and crew time, which contributes to a safer and more cost-effective operation.

The branch campus also established its second TEES center when the Advanced Scientific Computing Center was officially named a TEES center by the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System. The center aims to become a regional and global leader in scientific computing by developing innovative solutions and using state-of-the-art computational tools to address computational challenges in science, engineering and industry.

With new leadership and continued efforts to educate, discover and meet the needs of Qatar and the world, Texas A&M at Qatar moved into 2017 looking to continue the good work the branch campus did in 2016.