Research funding is essential to improve lives: Expert

 24 Sep 2017 - 10:50

Research funding is essential  to improve lives: Expert
Professor Jonathan Grant speaking at QF R&D’s ‘Research Dialogue’ series.

The Peninsula

The importance of getting research funding right – and ensuring it enables discoveries and innovations that can make a genuine impact – was outlined by an international expert through a Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D) ‘Research Dialogue’ discussion.

Professor Jonathan Grant, Assistant Principal for Strategic Initiatives and Public Policy at King’s College London, emphasised how funding for research is essential to producing outcomes that bring economic and social benefit, and improve lives, as well as for retaining public faith in research and development, during a recent talk at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of QF R&D.

The seminar, titled ‘How Research Makes a Difference: The Effectiveness and Efficiency of Research Funding’, outlined that funding for the ‘wrong type of research’ poses an ‘emerging threat’ to the science and innovation efforts of countries around the world, drawing on global case studies and policy developments concerning the analysis and measurement of research impact. 

QF R&D is home to an internationally-renowned funding organization, Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), which supports original, competitively-selected research that addresses Qatar’s priorities. Professor Grant, who is also Professor of Public Policy at the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said, “There is a social contract between the researcher who receives a grant and the citizens of the country that is funding their research. 

“Conducting research is a huge responsibility and privilege – it allows a researcher to explore a topic they are passionate about, but they must also ensure that their work serves the country that is supporting them.

Without this, research will not have legitimacy, and so nations have a moral imperative to assess and demonstrate the impact and benefit of the research they fund, and to ask themselves whether this funding is not only effective, but also efficient.”

With his chief areas of research interest being biomedical and health R&D policy, research impact assessment, and the use of research and evidence in decision-making and formulating policy, Professor Grant’s career has seen him hold numerous high-level positions.

“QF R&D is focused on enabling and supporting research and innovation that generates economic and societal impact for Qatar, and this is reflected in our portfolio of funding programs, including QNRF’s mission-driven National Priorities Research Program and QSTP’s Product Development Fund for startups and SMEs,” said Dr Hamad Al Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, QF R&D.