Over the past two decades, Qatar has built strength in education and research, developing world-class facilities that form the foundation to the ambitious research, development and innovation (RDI) journey ahead. Qatar’s Education City is home to campuses of several top global universities while national universities such as Qatar University and Hamad Bin Khalifa University reflect the strength of the country’s education system. At the same time, Qatar is a regional leader in research, having built research assets and developed a strong research base over an extremely short period of time.
Qatar has also witnessed its success as a global player in the LNG industry which has driven much of the country’s rapid economic development to date. Moreover, Qatar won the honor of hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, which has since given rise to a further surge of infrastructure development and economic activity.
Today, Qatar seeks to leverage its best-in-class facilities, assets and capabilities to usher in a new era and a new legacy through its RDI agenda. Qatar is actively engaging in RDI activities, and there is space to grow this still. A focus on RDI is necessary but also exciting, as it dynamically impacts both the economic and social landscapes of Qatar. From an economic standpoint, Qatar’s RDI agenda seeks to provide a new stimulus to economic growth, as RDI acts as a lever towards greater productivity and output. At the same time, RDI allows existing businesses to boost their competitiveness, new R&D-intensive sectors to emerge, and the country’s export base to expand. Socially, RDI offers new and exciting employment opportunities not only for Qatar-based nationals and residents, but also for international RDI actors who choose Qatar as their preferred location to conduct RDI activity. Indeed, Qatar is an ideal destination given its strategic location, world-class research and academic infrastructure and the transformative RDI roadmap presented in Qatar’s 10-year national research, development and innovation strategy, QRDI 2030. Above all, RDI can lead to the discovery, development and deployment of solutions that address critical local and global challenges.
Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) was launched in 2008 with the aim of transforming Qatar into an advanced country, sustaining the country's development and providing a high standard of living for its people for generations to come. QNV 2030 seeks to build a "knowledge-based economy characterized by innovation" to enable economic diversification, as under the pillar of 'economic development' - one of four key pillars underpinning the vision.
The First National Development Strategy 2011-2016 (NDS-1) was launched to provide a roadmap to help achieve the goals set out by QNV 2030. The Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022 (NDS-2) followed, further emphasizing that 'knowledge and innovation,' 'private-sector development' and 'foreign direct investment' are all key contributors to economic diversification. More specifically, NDS-2 called for the development of a “strategy for scientific activities” and a “national strategy and operating model to support innovation.” QRDI 2030 answers this call and will be refreshed to ensure alignment with NDS-3 which is anticipated to be issued in 2023.
Qatar Research, Development and Innovation (QRDI) Council was established in 2018, representing a new milestone in Qatar’s research, development and innovation (RDI) agenda. The Council’s first mission was to develop a national strategy that would optimize RDI activities and help realize the country’s overarching goals and ambitions. The Council accomplished this mission at the end of 2019, having drafted the Qatar Research, Development and Innovation Strategy 2030. The Council brings together prominent national and international figures from across government, industry and academia and draws on the wealth of knowledge and expertise of individuals from varied disciplines.
QRDI 2030 Development & Implementation
The development of QRDI 2030 saw a wide-reaching effort to secure national consensus on the outcomes of the strategy and ensure a shared view on the holistic transformation of the RDI ecosystem.
QRDI 2030 saw a robust development process which included an assessment of Qatar’s historical RDI performance, Qatar’s macro trends, as well as existing strategies pertaining to national entities and RDI actors. QRDI Council analyzed more than 30 key sectors and around 260 sub-sectors, themes, challenges and opportunities. The process also included a review of more than 130 existing programs across specific criteria and engaged with more than 200 stakeholders across government, industry and academia, while enlisting the support and insights of around 25 international subject-matter experts and specialized consultants, including technology consultants and science, technology & innovation policy advisors. The formulation of the national research, development and innovation strategy has gone through several meticulous methodological phases. The process began by building a detailed database on the performance of the research, development and innovation sector in Qatar, and a comprehensive analysis of local experiences.
An analysis of national strategies as well as the economic and social context in Qatar was also conducted. The final stage of preparation was a comprehensive consultation and review process of the draft strategy.
QRDI Council had the honor and privilege of presenting QRDI 2030 to His Highness The Amir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in the first quarter of 2020.