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GU-Q Research Proposals Awarded QNRF Grants

Nov 1, 2018

The Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) has awarded grants to two Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) research proposals that address important issues affecting Qatari society. Both grants announced were in response to successful submissions by GU-Q's faculty and student teams for the Undergraduate Research Experience Program.

The first selected UREP project, "Investigating the Resilience of Qatar’s Trade Network,” will examine the resilience of Qatar’s trade network. Research will be conducted using a global data set covering more than 90 million bilateral trade flows in over 5,000 product categories during the years 2002-2015. The research team will use the data to identify risks through a combination of factors, both empirically and theoretically.

Findings will be used to develop a multi-product, multi-region model of trade, which will then be calibrated to match Qatar's trade flows in 2015 by estimating transportation costs for each trade linkage and by estimating trade elasticities for each product, or how much trade flows will respond to a 1% change in transportation costs.

The primary faculty mentor, Dr. Jack Rossbach from GU-Q noted; "This project will model the economic impact of potential disruptions to Qatar's trade network. This will allow us to better understand Qatar's resiliency to international shocks and to identify products that Qatar may want to develop alternative domestic and international sources for." Other members of the project are GU-Q students Alisha Kamran and Halak Sheth.

The second project is titled "Facial Recognition in Qatari Nationals: Challenging WEIRD Results and Exploring Effects of Virtual Face Exposure."

In collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, this project examines the psychological phenomenon known as the cross-race effect and facial recognition in the understudied Qatari population. The project aims to take a step forward in breaking down the WEIRD (Western, Educated, from Industrialized, Rich and Democratic countries) barrier in psychological research. The overwhelmingly WEIRD research demonstrates that key psychological findings and knowledge are dominated by western research from western subjects. Other under-represented groups, such as Qataris, are at a disadvantage for this reason and much research in psychology is required in Qatar and the Arab world to bridge this gap.

The primary faculty mentor from GU-Q for the project, Dr. Jeremy Koons notes, “The aim of this project is threefold: to investigate facial recognition in Qataris using a commonly implemented face-recognition paradigm; to explore the effects of virtual exposure to faces on facial recognition in Qataris; and to challenge a body of research with predominantly WEIRD subjects.”

Joining Dr. Koons are project research mentor Dr. Jennifer Bruder, and student Nurul Nabilah Asarow, both from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.

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