The Qatar National Research fund has awarded a team of researchers from universities including UNSW with a lucrative grant to develop Qatar as a financial technology player.

Professor Ross Buckley, KPMG Law - KWM Chair in Disruptive Innovation and Law at UNSW, and UNSW alumnus Dr Andrew Mazen Dahdal, have been awarded a prestigious research grant by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) to develop Qatar’s financial technology (fintech) capacity and diversify the Qatari economy.   

As part of a team of leading academics from Qatar University, the University of Hong Kong and Curtin University, the group received more than $785,000 over a three-year period under the QNRF’s flagship grant scheme, the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP).

The project aims to build a strong financial sector that will elevate Qatar to become a leading financial technology hub in the Middle East, creating opportunities for economic diversification.

The grant commenced on 1 June 2019 under the 11th iteration of the NPRP, the most prominent research grant in Qatar. The project is set to run until 1 June 2022.

“The rise of fintech and regulatory technology (regtech) is fundamental in revolutionising the financial services industry,” Professor Buckley said.

“UNSW is proud to contribute towards equipping the Qatari financial services sector to drive a dynamic and innovative 21st century economy, and to be advancing our global research agenda in fintech and regtech.”

Dr Dahdal is an Assistant Professor in Commercial Law at the College of Law, Qatar University. He completed his PhD at UNSW from 2007 to 2013 with a focus on how the Federal Constitution deals with the regulation of banking. In 2015 Dr Dahdal relocated to Qatar after an opportunity presented with Qatar University.  

“The goals of the project are to support the development of a laws and regulations in Qatar that will make it an attractive jurisdiction for fintech firms to set up,” Dr Dahdal said.

“The research skills refined through my PhD helped me to frame and identify the specific research question to be addressed by the grant. The UNSW connection also opened the door to this collaboration with Qatar University,” he added.

In August 2017 Dr Dahdal accompanied Qatar University Dean of the College of Law Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Al Khulaifi to meet UNSW Dean of Law Professor George Williams and Professor Gabrielle Appleby to discuss collaborating on joint funding project such as the NPRP.

He hopes that in 2020 Qatar University will host an event at UNSW to discuss the achievements from this project and get input from Australian parties involved in the fintech space.

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Scientia Professor Ross Philip Buckley