The growing relationship between the University of Aberdeen and the Gulf state of Qatar will take another step forward in November, when University scientists travel to Doha to discuss the next stage in a series of projects that could revolutionise construction practices worldwide.
The tiny Gulf state has 300 years of known gas reserves still to exploit, but is keen to lead the world in pioneering new sustainable energy-efficient buildings, for residential and public use.
Qatar will be the focus of the world when it hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and has a demanding construction programme to complete over the next ten years.
University of Aberdeen research scientists from the School of Engineering and the Department of Chemistry (School of Natural and Computing Sciences) are working with the Gulf state to contribute their expertise in research and innovation in building materials and methods designed to make Qatar a world leader in an environmentally-friendly, sustainable built environment which demonstrates reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions. Significantly, these challenges are being addressed in one of the hottest, most demanding regions on Earth.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed this spring between the Qatar-based Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD) and the University of Aberdeen was the first step in this cooperation between Aberdeen and the Gulf nation. At a follow-up visit to Aberdeen this autumn, the Chairman of GORD and some of his top advisors discussed the first of a number of collaborative projects under development.
GORD, a subsidiary of QATARI DIAR Real Estate Investment Company, has developed a new benchmark for environmental building - the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS). Their primary aim is to promote healthy, energy and resource efficient, sustainable building practices in Qatar and the Gulf region.
Dr Mohammed Imbabi of the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen is coordinating the research team that includes researchers from several research organisations in the UK and Qatar. Their aim is to launch the first project in early 2012.
Dr Imbabi said: “This research has the potential to be extremely significant internationally. We have a strong, highly focussed multinational, multidisciplinary team of talented scientists and researchers working together, side by side, and I believe we can make a real difference. Our goals are challenging, but we believe we have the capability to deliver. The outcomes will be truly worthwhile and rewarding, not just in Qatar but also for the UK and globally.”
Dr Yousef Al-Horr, the Founding Chairman of GORD, said “GORD’s strategy relies on establishing strong relationships with internationally recognised organisations and institutes with proven track records in research and innovation. We believe that the University of Aberdeen can contribute effectively in advancing the knowledge and applications of a new generation of sustainable building materials not only for the Gulf region but worldwide as well.”