As hundreds of Emirati science students prepare for the 2014 Emirates Foundation “Think Science” Competition, organisers have been busy training auxiliary personnel to provide optimum impact.
More than 450 youth and more than 100 mentor, science teachers, supervisors and lab technicians from public and private secondary schools and universities across the UAE attended two specialised, capacity-building workshops run by the Emirates Foundations for Youth Development.
The workshops, held at Abu Dhabi’s Intercontinental Hotel on February 2 and the University of Sharjah on January 29, aimed to enhance the scientific capacities of participants in this year’s “Think Science” competition.
“Think Science” is one of the Foundation’s leading programmes created to inspire Emirati youth to take a greater interest in science and technology, encouraging them to choose the field as a course of study and future career path.
The workshops, held in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Abu Dhabi Educational Council, and in collaboration with the University of Sharjah, highlighted the important role high-schools and universities play in encouraging students to participate in this national competition.
Workshop participants were given an overview as to how to execute their projects for the competition using scientific methodology, how to present their projects, and made aware of the competition’s rules, conditions, competition categories, judging process, short-listing and evaluation criteria.
Emirates Foundation Chief Programmes Officer, Maytha Al Habsi said that by building up the capacities of “Think Science” Competition participants, the workshops would help create an environment in which young UAE scientists could design and develop innovative and highly-functional inventions to address the needs of the community and environment and contribute to the advancement of the nation.
“The jury procedures, assessment rules and criteria are in compliance with the international standards for world scientific competitions,” she noted.
Dr Hussein El Mehdi Vice Dean of Science College from University of Sharjah said we are collaborating with Emirates Foundation by encouraging science students to enter the competition, aiming at contributing to the advancement of learning and to the development of qualified science calibers in the UAE. “Participating in world-standard competitions such as this is in line with the university’s mission to promote the personal, academic and career growth of our students and the economic progress of society,” El Mehdi added.
Nada Obaid, the student at the department of Electrical Engineering at the American University of Sharjah, one of last year competition winners said:” Attending this capacity building workshop was very important because it enabled me to get answers for the many questions I have had in my mind. The speakers provided valuable information about the ways of building our potential scientific projects, and how to present these projects before the judge panel, taking into consideration the fact that the techniques of presentations will play a key role that would affect our chances of winning”.
“Such important workshops are an ideal opportunity for networking, and learning and knowledge sharing with other peer students, thus motivating us to take part in these competitions, take a greater interest in science and technology, and encourage us to choose sciences and technology as a course of study and future career path”, She added.
The “Think Science” Competition is open for UAE youth aged between 15 and 24. Participants enter the competition in teams with a maximum of three students, at least one of whom is an Emirati national.
The challenge is to design, develop and apply scientific innovations to solve practical problems facing the Emirati community in areas such as engineering, applied physics and electronics.
The competition is part of the Foundation’s three-pronged “Think Science” programme designed to help young Emiratis fulfill their potential in the field of science and respond to the nation’s demand for science talents.
Other projects in the programme include the “Think Science” Ambassadors initiative, created to inspire and encourage youth to expand their knowledge and further develop analytical-thinking abilities while addressing local and global technological challenges.
The third project, “Think Science Connect”, is an interactive platform connecting youth interested in science with representatives from science-related industries, creating a database of “Emirati science talents” accessible to relevant key stakeholders.
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