Participants work on research projects that develop critical national priorities
Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), has successfully concluded its internship program for 2021, one of several student outreach initiatives held throughout the year.
Over the course of eight weeks, interns – both undergraduate and graduate students and entry-level participants - had the opportunity to develop their research and technical skills in a hands-on environment, under the mentorship of QEERI researchers and scientists. In addition to conducting research on ongoing projects that address critical national priorities related to water security, energy, and the environment, the interns participated in educational and team-building activities including seminars and software training.
“We were delighted to have worked with a group of such capable and enthusiastic interns over the summer,” said Dr. Marc Vermeersch, executive director, QEERI. “We believe there is immense value in building and developing the next generation of scientists, researchers, and engineers, and through our internship and other student outreach programs, we stay committed to capacity building for Qatar, the region, and at a global level. We hope that working with our teams has given them an enlightening and enriching experience.
He added: “Education and capacity building fall within our core mission areas at QEERI, and we recognize it is important to identify, teach, and nurture students who are interested in science, research, and technology. Through the internship program, we hope to help our participants identify academic and career pathways to reaching their professional goals and ambitions in these fields, and thereby contribute toward developing the next generation of scientists to help solve the critical challenges facing Qatar and the region.”
Among the highlights of the program, according to the interns, was the opportunity to work in QEERI’s exceptional facilities and contribute to multidisciplinary projects alongside its scientists, which offered real insight into the world of research.
“Our laboratory work was always supervised by QEERI scientists, and this ensured that we learned important laboratory skills as well as how to perform successful experiments,” said Iman Abdel-Hadi, a Qatar University chemistry graduate student.
Muhammad Umar Jamil, a graduate from the Master of Science in Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University at Qatar, who interned at QEERI’s Energy Center in the field of catalysis and artificial intelligence, said: “State-of-the-art research facilities, with the right experts, have provided us with major exposure to the field, be it experimental or theoretical. I find there is great potential for valuable research work and innovation by collaborating further, even after the internship.”
Another intern from Qatar University, Insharah Ahsan, explained how the internship played an important role in earning real-life experience during her bachelor’s degree. “Despite facing many challenges in the labs, I was taught to be responsible and motivated and was encouraged to improve my analytical thinking. Working with Dr. Alessandro Sinopoli helped me use the knowledge I’ve acquired over the past three years as an undergraduate. I am more than blessed to work with the incredible scientists at QEERI, and I hope I get the opportunity to work with this amazing research institute in the future."
Khadija Muhammad Abdul Quddus from Qatar University found the program a huge learning experience especially in using her theoretical knowledge for practical work. “I felt honored to work in a lab like QEERI’s where everyone was not only helpful and encouraging but provided us with such a comfortable atmosphere to learn.”
Echoing those responses, Muhammad Imam, a graduate student at Texas A&M University at Qatar, said: “I would like to thank QEERI for providing me with this opportunity to explore membrane-based techniques for water purification, with the access and exposure to the ground breaking research facilities available at the institute making this a highly rewarding experience.”
The internship program is in line with QEERI’s mission to inspire an interest in science and research among the youth. QEERI provides opportunities for students to be mentored by their scientists throughout the year. For school students, QEERI provides sustainability-related activities while a number of PhD students from across Qatar conduct research under the guidance of QEERI’s researchers.
For more information, and to book a visit to QEERI’s facilities, please visit qeeri.hbku.edu.qa