HBKU Launches Signature Research Program

HBKU Launches Signature Research Program

08 Nov 2022

Two ‘Social Progress’ cluster projects awarded in the first cycle

Social progress is identified as a key area for HBKU’s advancement

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) at HBKU has launched the first cycle of a new Signature Research Program (SRP) with the award of two cluster projects under the theme of social progress. 

The SRP is designed to foster cross-entity and interdisciplinary collaboration across HBKU and with Qatar Foundation and other external partners. The program aims to establish HBKU-led niche research themes that are relevant and address current and future challenges facing Qatar and the region. Aligning with HBKU research priorities, the projects will also build local human capacity in these areas.

The two cluster projects bring together faculty expertise from the College of Public Policy (CPP), College of Law, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), and the College of Islamic Studies (CIS). The outcomes are expected to make distinctive contributions to research in the region, including “signature research initiatives” under the Social Progress theme, and significantly advance policy development in Qatar.

“Managing Social Transformation in Qatar: Risks, Trends and Future Trajectories” is led by Dr. Anis Ben Brik, Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Program for Social Policy Evaluation and Research (PROSPER) at CPP. The core research team is Dr. Barry Solaiman, Assistant Dean of Students and Assistant Professor, and Dr. Eleni Polymenopoulou, Assistant Professor - from the College of Law; Dr. Evren Tok, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Innovation and Community Engagement, and Dr. Hira Amin, Visiting Associate Professor - CIS; Dr. Joselia Neves, Professor and Associate Dean for Social Engagement and Access, and Dr. Rashid Yahiaoui, Assistant Professor - CHSS.

The study will generate knowledge of the Qatari landscape while promoting innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the policy and legal challenges for identity transformation in Qatar. Outcomes will provide policymakers with a comprehensive understanding of emerging trends, trend drivers, inflection points, and data analysis across four strategic areas: Higher Education, Technology in Public Health, National Culture, and Social Welfare. 

The study also paves the way for establishing a regional program/center for strategic foresight analysis at HBKU, focused on Qatar and the MENA region. The medium to longer-term aim is to strengthen the culture of public management in preparedness design, as a key objective to meeting Qatar’s long-term social and economic development objectives.

The second cluster is “Explorations in Developing an HBKU Index of Social Cohesion”. The research addresses the challenge of how the International Social Cohesiveness Index falls short of accounting for different contexts and variables. The aim is to develop an HBKU Index of an interdisciplinary construct that can fill the gaps and be used in Qatar and the region. 

The study covers key areas related to Qatar: the economic domain (exclusion, equality, and inequality); the political domain (legitimacy/illegitimacy via trust in institutions and participation/passivity via social capital or political participation); and the sociocultural domain (acceptance/rejection via solidarity as well as affiliation/isolation via socio-cultural participation). 

The research team lead is Dr. Abdolmehdi Riazi, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, CHSS. The team members are Dr. Kim Moloney, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Logan Cochrane, Associate Professor - from CPP, Dr. Ibrahim Zain Abdelwahid, Professor, CIS, Dr. Wajdi Zaghouani, Assistant Professor, CHSS, and Dr. Aisha Al-Naama, Lecturer, College of Law.