Under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior:
The University of Doha for Science and Technology organized the first International Conference of its kind in the State of Qatar on “Innovation and Technological Advances for Sustainability”
Under the patronage and in the presence of H.E. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the University of Doha for Science and Technology (UDST) organized the International Conference on Innovation and Technological Advances for Sustainability (ITAS) held on Campus in collaboration with Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), USA.
The opening ceremony was attended by a number of Excellencies, Ministers of State and His Excellency Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who gave an opening speech; H. E. Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations and Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, who both made a virtual appearance giving an honorary speech; UDST Board of Trustees’ Chairman H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada and the board members; Dr. Salem Al-Naemi, President of UDST; and senior officials from Qatar and abroad, experts in the fields of food security, environment, energy, economy, and digital technologies, along with a group of academics, researchers and students, as well as representatives from government authorities and UDST partners.
Five internationally renowned academics and researchers in the fields of innovation, technology and sustainability participated in the conference:
Professor Kamal Youcef-Toumi, Mechanical Engineering Department Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA; Dr. Nazia Mintz Habib Research Centre Director University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Prof. Belgacem Haba, Vice President of Adeia Silicon Valley, USA; Prof. Mohamed Lachemi, President & Vice-Chancellor Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada; Professor Rehan Sadiq, Provost and VP Academic, UBC Okanagan, University of British Columbia, Canada.
The international conference is a premier forum for researchers, academics, students, policymakers, industry leaders and government officials to explore new ideas, techniques and tools to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) in our societies and to ensure a sustainable future for upcoming generations.
On the sidelines of the international conference, H.E. the Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior inaugurated the ITAS exhibition highlighting the initiatives and projects that UDST, its partners and industry leaders are putting in place to advance sustainability in Qatar and the World.
ITAS is closely aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 and seeks to develop a pathway to improve sustainable development by introducing and adopting novel ideas, innovative solutions, and advanced state-of-the-art technologies, and to come up with opportunities and policy recommendations that will enhance and achieve the goal of a sustainable society
In his opening speech, H.E. Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani Minister of Environment and Climate Change, commended the conference and said: “The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change encourages research and the use of technological advances to protect the environment. We believe in the value of research and development for sustaining the environment. Our action comes in line with Qatar National Strategy for the Environment and Climate Change and the Qatar National Plan for Climate Change, where technology and research are highlighted as powerful tools for execution. Undoubtedly, innovation provides solutions that keep Qatar environmentally sustainable.”
H.E. Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, expressed her pleasure in taking part in the conference and said: “Today our world faces many challenges that were made even more complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, debts, the negative impact of climate change and conflicts across the world. It is clear now that science and technology are strong platforms that can carry all efforts and collaborations forward to face complex issues. This has been reflected in the multilateral efforts that were put in to manage many pressing issues such as climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the renewable sources of water and energy.”
For his part, Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support said: “I would like to congratulate you all for this milestone initiative, and thank you for inviting UNDP to be part of this endeavor. The UNDP strategic partnership with the State of Qatar through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Qatar Fund for Development is focused on the future of development, and scaling up solutions with local communities to make breakthroughs in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.”
On this occasion, Dr. Salem Al-Naemi, President of UDST said: “First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our deep gratitude and appreciation to H.E. the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior for the kind inauguration of this major conference, which comes in the context of the efforts that reflect the leadership role played by Qatar, its educational institutions and different sectors in dealing with sustainability issues. Qatar has demonstrated a strong commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is reflected in the Qatar National Vision which aims to transform the country into an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable development by 2030.”
He added: “UDST is proud to be the first national applied university in the country, and we affirm our commitment to sustainability which is rooted in our curricula. We bring it to life at every level through our projects, applied research and infrastructure. Thus, we seek to promote excellence in every step we take, in line with our mission and vision that prioritize innovation and sustainable development in collaboration with academics, students, researchers, ministries, governmental bodies and UDST partners to support the implementation of sustainable development goals in the State of Qatar and the world.”
The conference hosted a panel discussion by the UNDP Accelerator Labs Network, the world’s largest and fastest learning network on sustainable development challenges. The panel presented how the UNDP Accelerator Labs Network is co-built as a joint venture with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany and the Qatar Fund for Development, and how it taps into local innovations to create actionable insights and reimagine the concept of sustainable development in the 21st century
ITAS covered five tracks, including Environment and Climate Change, Food Security and Sustainability, as well as Renewable Energy Sources, Digital Technologies for Sustainable Development and Capacity Building and Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development.
The international forum aimed to deliver a number of key messages to showcase sustainable development accomplishments and initiatives taken by local and international entities, explore future challenges and opportunities in terms of achieving sustainable development in various sectors and application of information technology and communication for sustainable development.
The conference included multiple breakout sessions covering several tracks to showcase recent developments and initiatives in sustainable development. The first track focused on “environment and climate change” and it addresses a number of topics including: Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation, Climate and Environmental Modelling, Air and Water Pollution Control Strategies, Sustainable Building Design – Modern Urbanization, Environmentally Efficient Systems and Design, Environmental Engineering, Ecological Issues and their Prevention, Drought and Forest Fires form Climate Change Prospective and Environmental Degradation and Remedy.
The second track highlighted the relationship between food security and sustainability including Climate-Smart Agriculture Technologies, Minimizing Post Harvest Losses, Interventions to Improve Soil and Crop Productivity, Greenhouse and Hydroponics Cultivations (Greenhouse Design and Optimization), Agriculture Water Management and Irrigation Systems & Best Management Practices for Sustainable Agriculture.
The third track explored the renewable energy sources through addressing the Innovative PV Systems, Bioreactors for Energy Application, Harnessing Offshore Winds for Energy Applications, Implications of Renewable Energy, Energy Audit and Design of Sustainable Cities, Design of Efficient Solar and Wind Energy Systems and Challenges to Adopt Technologies.
The fourth track showcased Digital Technologies for Sustainable Development including applications of artificial intelligence and deep learning for sustainable development, and artificial Intelligence-assisted drinking water management. It also discussed sensing and control systems, mechatronics and automation for UN-SDGs, drones and their application for sustainable development and application of Computer Science and IT.
The fifth and final track shed light on the Capacity Building and Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development. It discussed capacity building and educational prospective of UN-SDGs, the waste into value-added products, and wastewater treatment technologies. Discussions took place about economic barriers to sustainable development, social responsibility and implications, and bio-circular Economy for Sustainability.
It is worth noting that UDST hosted the ITAS Arab Youth Competition 2023, during the Research and Innovation Week that was held on campus prior to the conference.
The ITAS Arab Youth Competition 2023 aimed to develop sustainable and practical solutions for Arab countries, keeping in line with the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). The competition was open to undergraduates and postgraduates from across the Arab World to identify and solve a real problem and find sustainable solutions using technology with a special focus on one or more UN SDGs.
Through hosting this competition, UDST was able to engage the youth to think critically about global challenges and come up with innovative ideas to achieve at least one of the SDGs through technology.
Winners of the Arab Youth Competition for Innovation and Technological Advances for Sustainability (2023) were announced during the opening ceremony of the conference, and were honored by His Excellency the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
The winners of the competition were students from Saudi Arabia , King Abdullah University of Science and Technology: Nayara Vivian Huve Musskopf and Aishah Alsamdani for their project SandX and CarboSoil as Two Practical Technologies for Realizing Sustainability and Food—Water Security in GCCs.
The second runner-up was for students from Palestine, Al-Azhar University: Abdulrhman Akram Dabour and Rozana Saad Sukaik For their project ReHope for the design of a simulator that helps children with cerebral palsy.
In third place came students from Qatar University of Doha for Science and Technology: Reem Al-Naimi And Noreen El Ahmad for their project Smart White Cane which will grant capabilities and freedom of physical range to the blind.