QEERI engages community on its research projects to build strong collaboration on country’s grand challenges
Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) recently held the second in its series of Science Majlis initiatives, as part of the Institute’s 2021 community outreach program to promote greater awareness about its research projects.
Over 100 participants attended the online session, which featured Dr. Jenny Lawler, Senior Research Director at the Water Center, QEERI, exploring the topic, ‘The Management and Distribution of Water Resources in Qatar’. She explained how Qatar and the Arab world are preparing to face a looming water crisis. Referring to the various water processes Qatar is actively using, such as water desalination and wastewater treatment, Dr. Lawler spoke about the role that QEERI is playing to preserve and enhance the way water is used in Qatar.
Science Majlis provides a platform for experts from QEERI and members of the community in Qatar and further afield to engage in informal discussions on energy, water, and environment topics relevant to the country. The forum is designed to actively engage attendees of all ages, by offering them an insight into the research carried out at QEERI, making it more accessible and better understood.
Dr. Marc Vermeersch, Executive Director at QEERI, said: “We believe that community engagement and awareness is key in tackling the grand challenges related to energy, water, and environment that Qatar is facing. Everyone has a role to play, and through events like Science Majlis, we are hoping to hear the community’s point of view and to build a strong collaboration with the community we serve. To speak to them directly and hear their feedback provides us with unique and valuable insights and helps us assess how we can do better for the people living in the country.”
Commenting on her experience, Dr. Lawler said: “Despite water being a resource that we cannot live without, a lot of people don’t have a clear understanding of where it comes from, and how it is managed and disposed of. Topics like drinking water provision, wastewater treatment and filtration processes, and how we can ensure that every drop is utilized to the maximum, are really interesting. In line with Qatar National Vision 2030, QEERI is committed to supporting the nation in ensuring that our research informs the most efficient use of its water resources.”
She added: “I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction that we had with the community. It is a two-way learning process even for us. Some of the questions we get, especially from the younger members of the community, are quite thought-provoking, and go a long way in inspiring us.”
Seyma Durukan, a student who attended the event from Turkey, found the Science Majlis an educational and insightful experience. “I am very happy that QEERI conducts not only national but also regional and international studies on the water problem, which has the potential to affect human beings but also all living things in the world. I believe it is important we know where our water comes from, and how it is treated and utilized. This session by QEERI’s experts helped us learn, and appreciate the research into water resources. Despite an audience of different ages and scientific capabilities, Dr. Lawler was able to break down the science and explain it in a way that all of us could understand. I look forward to more such sessions from the institute.”
QEERI is committed to its mission of creating awareness about its research in Qatar and continues to organize multiple community and outreach events. The next forthcoming event will be the second edition of its International Conference in Sustainable Energy-Water-Environment Nexus in Desert Climates 2021 (ICSEWEN’21), scheduled for November 22-25.
For more information on the work of Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, please visit qeeri.hbku.edu.qa.