Biomedical Research Training Program concludes with awards
July, 2013

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Professor Khaled Machaca, WCMC-Q's associate dean for
research, presents Dr. Najla Al-Haj, consultant clinical
psychiatrist at Hamad Medical Corporation, with her award.

WCMC-Q presented four outstanding Qatari research trainees with graduation awards for the annual Biomedical Research Training Program.

WCMC-Q’s associate dean for research, Professor Khaled Machaca presented Dr. Najla Al-Haj, consultant clinical psychiatrist at Hamad Medical Corporation, Shaikha Al-Qahtani, Noor Faisal and Fatima Fakhroo with their certificates.

“This is one of the most successful programs that we run here at WCMC-Q and the reason for that is multi-fold. Part of our mission for Qatar Foundation is to build the human capacity in the long term and there is no better way to build the human capacity than with this kind of training and interactions,” Professor Machaca said.

“The reason for the success of this program is largely due to the high quality of the candidates and the trainees who spend six months with us. The goals of the program are simple. It takes people who are interested in biomedical research no matter how small it is, and exposes them to a broad spectrum of what research is all about – from being in the lab to administering research, to doing both basic and clinical research and to learn about what compliance is, what is involved in grants and contracts and how to manage them.

“This is an opportunity for young scientists to find their niche or that particular area of research where they are comfortable in and hopefully to build a career based on that,” Professor Machaca said.

“The program is not aimed to train a large number of trainees, the program’s goal is to train a small number of well-qualified trainees who will fit well into a research environment. The other very important goal of the program is to use it as a pipeline to be able to hire Qatari nationals within our research department who will stay with us for the long term.”

The Biomedical Research Training Program is open to talented Qatari nationals from all walks of science who, as a minimum, are recent university graduates interested in pursuing careers in biomedical research-related fields. It is a six-month training program from January to July that offers a stimulating experience to participants who seek to be actively involved in biomedical research projects in a challenging and knowledge-rewarding environment.

As one of its most recent graduates, Dr. Al-Haj, was impressed by the quality of the program and the high standard of preparation. She is keen to promote the virtues of the program among her colleagues at HMC. “I found this program to be a great opportunity to acquire research experience and WCMC-Q is such a prestigious medical institution so it was really a great chance also for me to be exposed to all aspects of research.

“It is difficult to find all this kind of experience and training in one location. But we are fortunate that we can find it right here in Qatar and I can only recommend it very highly. This was really a great opportunity to obtain an introduction to the mechanics of all kinds of research. I have already recommended this program to my friends,” Dr. Al-Haj said.

The training program consists of different aspects of research including laboratory training, writing and communication for research, biostatistics, clinical research, and research administration.

It aims to produce world-class Qatari scientists to lead the research centers of excellence that are at the heart of Qatar’s vision for its future and in line with Qatar National Vision 2030. It is fully supported by the Biomedical Research Program (BMRP) funded by Qatar Foundation to WCMC-Q and in partnership with Qatar Science Leadership Program. QSLP is a unique program that aims to help nationals build prestigious and rewarding careers in the fields of science and research, with guaranteed placements at QF and its centers. The Nationals Program was developed by Nada Al-Balam, a QSLP intern who trained at WCMC-Q as part of her administrative rotation.

WCMC-Q Nationals Training Program Coordinator Yassir Hussain, and a graduate of the training program, said there was growing interest from Qatari students eager to participate. The training program has in a relatively short space of time developed into a valuable resource and a desirable option for local graduates with an eye on a research career, Mr. Hussain said.

“We are pleased with the development and progress but we are also constantly seeking to improve outcomes and to raise the profile of the Biomedical Research Training Program for Nationals. Graduates are encouraged to promote the program and we also seek to encourage suitable candidates to apply for admission.”

Applications for the upcoming cycle of the program will start in September.