The winners of Emirates Foundation’s innovative national level science competition were honoured by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of Emirates Foundation, at an awards ceremony held today at Jumeirah Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi.
More than 60 young Emirati scientists were recognised as part of the Think Science Competition for their innovations and ideas in the fields of science and technology, while Think Science partners were recognised for their contributions towards the success of the event.
Present at the event were HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of Emirates Foundation, HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, the Managing Director of the Emirates Foundation, His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and member of the federal cabinet.
A total of 27 prizes were awarded to students in 12 science categories, which included first and second place for each school and university category, “Best of the Best Project at School Level,” “Best of the Best Project at University Level” and the “Think Science 2015 People’s Choice Award.”
Speaking at the event, Sheikh Abdullah said he was deeply impressed by the motivation, determination and talent of the Emirati youth who took part in the competition.
He said: “All of you have used the power of science to create a better future for our country and to raise wider awareness of the enormous challenges that exist across the globe. The success of Think Science can be measured not only by awards, but by the renewed sense of purpose and confidence that you have gained in your abilities.
“Think Science has shone a spotlight on the immense talent of the UAE’s young people – their Emirati spirit. These highly skilled, dedicated and motivated youth are an inspiration to us all and I am confident to rest the future of our great nation in their capable hands.
“You are a credit to our nation. I thank you all.”
The Think Science Competition is a key part of the Think Science Fair, which took place from 5-7 May, 2015, and includes both a competition for public and private schools and a university competition. The winning projects, which were entered in nine categories for schools and three categories for universities, were chosen from more than 200 submissions representing the work of more than 550 Emirati youth.
The judging committee — made up of more than 52 scientific experts and professors from universities and private corporate entities —reviewed and evaluated the students’ projects to determine the winners.
The projects covered areas such as electrical engineering, energy, smart and safety systems, applied sciences and environmental sciences, and were entered into the competition under the guidance of 160 mentors and supervisors from educational institutions across the UAE.
Maytha Al Habsi, Chief Programmes Officer at Emirates Foundation said: “This year’s competition attracted some of the brightest young scientific minds from across the country and provided a unique showcase of the UAE’s abilities in the fields of science and technology. The aim of Think Science is to encourage the youth to take an interest in science and I am confident many of the students here today will be inspired to take up science as a career.
“What these young people have achieved through this innovative national level competition is nothing short of remarkable. I would like to congratulate all of our participants and especially the winners, for going the extra mile and never settling for mediocre.”
Organised by Emirates Foundation, an independent philanthropic organisation set up by the Abu Dhabi Government to facilitate public-private partnerships for empowering youth across the UAE, Think Science Fair is one of the biggest events of its kind in the region and attracted a record number of more than 10,000 visitors this year.
The fair was held under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of Emirates Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Abu Dhabi Education Council, and was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Dhiab, an Emirates Foundation Board member.
Clare Woodcraft, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Foundation thanked the participants, partners and judges of Think Science and stressed the importance of science as the key towards building a sustainable future.
She said: “Science equips students with the skills needed to contribute towards the future of their nation based on knowledge, innovation and scientific research. Giving young people the right tools and inspiring them to try something ambitious is what Think Science is all about and it was truly gratifying to see so many young people with an infectious can-do attitude.
“This spirit and enthusiasm, when honed properly, leads to greatness and over the three days of Think Science we saw numerous examples of what can be achieved through innovation. Congratulations to all our winners.”
The universities competition is centred around Energy and Electrical Systems, Smart industrial systems, and Applied Sciences and Engineering. Winning the “Best of the Best Project at University Level,” beating off competition from all university projects, were Lujain Omar Aloum and Mohamed Khalil Rourou, under the supervision of Professor Taleb Al Tal, from the University of Sharjah for their Discovery of Selective HDAC Inhibitors project.
The schools competition focuses on Applied Physics, Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, Environmental sciences and Management, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering, Energy, Safety systems, Smart Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Transportation and included schools from all Emirates of the UAE.
Winning the “Best of the Best Project at School Level,” prize were Rami Amgad Elmorsi and Amro Khaled Alzeiq, under the supervision of Blessy Mathew, from The Westminster School for their Aero electric Car project.
The “Think Science 2015 People’s Choice Award”, meanwhile, is awarded to the project that received the highest number of visitors’ votes during the fair. This year the award went to Fatma Ali Al Balooshi, Aisha Yaqoub Al Ali and Keltoum Bououden, under the supervision of Nafissa El Jabban, from Dubai National School – Al Barsha for their project entitled ‘Baby’s Blanket and Pillow’ (BBP).
Commenting on their win, Al Balooshi said: “We are extremely proud of our achievement and we are truly grateful to all the visitors who came to our stand to learn about our project. The standard of this year’s competition entrants was extremely high and we were very im-pressed with a number of the other projects on display.
“We look forward to continuing to tweak and improve on our idea and look forward to making a real difference through science in the future.”
Launched in September 2012, Think Science Fair is an interactive programme aimed at sparking an interest in science among the Emirati youth. Targeted towards young people between the ages of 15 and 24, it aims to inspire, encourage and empower Emirati youth to follow their passion for science with interactive, hands-on activities in the fields of engineering, energy, aviation and other technological industries.
The Think Science fair acts as a platform to connect youth with experts through motivational sessions that focus on key areas in education and innovation. It allows participants to hear from scientist who have made careers out their passion. There were also 37 companies, organisations and institutes at the fair to offer career advice.
The Fair also offers individual companies, academia and government institutions the opportunity to showcase their work and connect directly with UAE youth.
Think Science programme comprises three interrelated projects designed to help realise the potential of the UAE youth in the field of science – Think Science Competition, Think Science Connect and Think Science Ambassadors.
The Think Science competition was launched in October 2012 by Emirates Foundation as part of its Think Science programme, which aims to motivate, encourage and empower Emirati youth to consider a career in the science sector.
Think Science Connect is a platform for young people to meet with leaders and prominent figures from various scientific sectors while Think Science Ambassadors aims to provide youth with that critical spark by introducing youth to role models in the field, connecting them with mentors, and exposing youth to different extracurricular activities in science.