Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation (QRDI) Council, in partnership with Sidra Medicine, has announced the launch of a new call for innovation through its flagship programme, Qatar Open Innovation (QOI). The initiative aims to develop innovative, universally applicable sample extraction technologies for genome sequencing. Startups, SMEs, and corporates are invited to submit their proposals by the deadline of July 18, 2024.

Dr. Abdelhak Belaidi, RDI programme manager at QRDI Council said: “Through our ongoing partnership and collaboration with Sidra Medicine, we aim at driving healthcare innovation within Qatar with the goal of addressing major unmet global challenges. This new call for innovation requires both innovation and scientific research efforts to be put together in action, in order to develop the desired solution. This comes in alignment with the QRDI 2030 Strategy, focusing on the key elements, creating a robust RDI framework, to achieve the set targets for Qatar National vision 2030.”

Dr. Ammira Akil the lead principal investigator of this proposal from Sidra Medicine also elaborated on this opportunity: “As part of Sidra Medicine’s efforts to advance newborn genome screening in Qatar and globally, we are excited about the opportunity to develop a less invasive, universally applicable, and economical newborn blood sampling technique for genome research. Currently, dried blood spots (DBS) or ‘Guthrie cards’ are used to traditionally screen newborns, but this method provides limited DNA quantity and quality. Our innovative approach aims to ensure high-quality DNA samples, making large-scale genome sequencing feasible and reliable. This advancement holds immense potential for early disease detection and improved healthcare outcomes for newborns worldwide.”

Sidra Medicine and QRDI Council’s new initiative seeks an applicable ‘Newborn Genome Standardised Sequencing Clinical Sampling Technique’ for global benefit. Our goal is to create a painless and less invasive method for blood sample collection to be used early detection of genetic conditions and large-scale genomic research.

This is the second call launched in 2024 by Sidra Medicine, in collaboration by the QRDI Council. Earlier this year, Sidra Medicine was looking for innovative proposals to develop a non-invasive diagnostic device for in-clinic use to identify potential smell dysfunction in less than ten minutes. This opportunity is now in the “Proposals Evaluation” Phase.

With 48 Open Innovation Calls, launched in partnership with 19 Local Partners across key sectors, including Aspetar, Matar, GWC, Aspire, Baladna, Sidra Medicine, Ooredoo, Es’hailSat, Hassad Food, Kahramaa, Milaha, Qatar Insurance Company,the Ministry of Labour, the National Museum of Qatar, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Ministry of Municipality, Qatar Airways, MADA, and Qatar National Library, the QOI programme has garnered the interest and participation of innovators from Qatar and other countries around the world.

To learn more about the challenges Qatar Open Innovation tackled and submit your proposals, visit the QRDI Portal.

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