Collaboration advances healthcare research in both the UK and Qatar

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Collaboration advances healthcare research in both the UK and Qatar

London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Qatar Science & Technology Park, Hamad Medical Corporation and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar marked their new collaboration project with academics and surgeons from Imperial College London at a pre-launch ceremony held at the Royal Academy of Engineering. The partnership, Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre (QRSC), aims to advance healthcare research in both the UK and Qatar, and seeks to become a focal point for world class expertise in the fast-growing field of medical robotics and robotic surgery. The event was held in the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, and other prominent UK and Qatari dignitaries.

The collaboration represents the ongoing partnerships between Qatar Foundation and top universities around the world to provide opportunities for students, researchers and academics to learn in competitive and pioneering environments.

Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre aims to become a platform for technological development of medical robotics and to promote clinical application of the technology in the Middle East. To realize its objectives, QRSC will focus on three core activities. It will act as a demonstration platform for advanced surgical technologies with state-of-the-art equipment, laparoscopic simulators and 3D tele-cast capabilities. QRSC will also offer a broad range of robotic training programmes for surgeons, healthcare professionals and scientists. Finally, the Centre will perform and stimulate technology development in medical robotics.

The Centre will allow surgeons from the Middle East to be trained in the technology, with live demonstrations as well as live-link training sessions, promoting the transfer of expertise between the UK and Qatar. A team of doctors from Hamad Medical Corporation and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar have recently been trained in the technology at the Imperial College London.

Lord Browne of Madingley, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, opened the ceremony. "The Academy wholeheartedly welcomes this development," said Lord Browne. It builds on a most effective partnership of Qatar Foundation, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Hamad Medical Corporation and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar with Imperial College London, which has such a strong track record in developing robotic surgery. The new centre provides an excellent opportunity to develop and apply this key area of medical engineering for the benefit of patients around the world."

Lord Ara Darzi, of Imperial College London, is one of the first surgeons to operate using the robotic system, has been appointed as Chairman of the QRSC International Surgery Panel. The Panel membership also includes Professor Gunag-Zhong Yang of Imperial College London who is the chief scientific officer for the centre and a number of distinguished international surgeons.

Addressing the audience, Lord Darzi said: "The application of robots into surgical practice is in its infancy and we envisage the collaboration between QSTP, Hamad Medical Corporation, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and Imperial College London will drive innovation in education and training, research and clinical practice."

Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari, Chief Executive Officer of Hamad Medical Corporation, discussed the different phases of the collaborative project and the progress in the field of robotic surgery thus far in Qatar. "At Hamad Medical Corporation, we believe in partnerships to further research in medicine and have found the best partners from all over the world," Dr. Al Kuwari began. "We know the launch of Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre will help continue the development of robotic surgery in Qatar, leveraging our partners for training, innovation and research. Today, Qatar has the most active robotic instruments in the region - with this partnership, we hope to lead the world."

This project marks a massive investment in research and development for the health and research sectors. Qatar Science & Technology Park is making a significant investment in QSRC, which makes the Centre one of the cornerstones in its strategy to develop Qatar's post-carbon economy.

Through its facilities, services and support programs, QSTP provides an optimal environment for local and global organizations to undertake research and commercialize their technology, creating a research and development community which will benefit Qatar's society and economy.

Since its launch one year ago, QSTP has attracted numerous international organizations in the science, technology and research sectors, including partnerships with UK-based Rolls Royce, Vodafone and Williams F1.

Speaking about the partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation and Imperial College London, Dr. Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman of Qatar Science & Technology Park said: "When one looks at frontiers of science and technology to see where a small country like Qatar can make a contribution, robotic surgery stands out as an obvious candidate. We are very fortunate to have the backing of Her Highness to pursue this vision and to have a partnership with a world class university such as Imperial College under Lord Darzi's leadership and with Qatar's leading hospital Hamad Medical Corporation. Qatar and the region need a world class laboratory to carry out research in robotic surgery and train the surgeons of the future, and for that QSTP is proud to announce the pre-launch of Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre."

The announcement ceremony of the Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre project between Qatar Science & Technology Park, Hamad Medical Corporation, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and Imperial College London is part of a celebration of events and announcements by Qatar Foundation in London this week.