Water pressures in the gulf co-operation countries remain challenging, with minimal fresh water sources and grave concerns over security and sustainability of water supply. Thermal desalination is the long-established method for production of potable water in Qatar, facilitated by abundant cheap energy; however this is recognised as in need of investment in more sustainable technologies. In addition, accelerated population growth, urbanization and industrial development have led to an increase in the need for wastewater treatment and disposal.
During the visit to Qatar, Dr. Lawler was hosted by Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation (RDI). Dr. Richard O’Kennedy leads all research, development, and innovation (RDI) efforts across Qatar Foundation (QF), which are a pivotal element of Qatar’s national RDI agenda and its goal of building a sustainable and diversified economy. She presented an overview of her research and that of the DCU Water Institute, and had meetings with representatives of the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), the Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) as well as the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and A&M Texas University in Qatar. Potential avenues for collaboration and joint research projects have been identified and will be pursued in over 2019 and beyond.