Top young Emirati scientists awarded for their innovative ideas at Think Science Competition Awards Ceremony

May 28, 2014 11:12 am

60 young Emirati scientists were awarded for their innovations and ideas in the field of Science and Technology at the Think Science Competition Awards ceremony.

Honoring the winning students at the event was HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of Emirates Foundation. Other dignitaries present at the function were HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, the Managing Director of the Emirates Foundation, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, H.E. Dr. Amal Abdulla Al Qubaisi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Education Council, and a member of the Executive Council, Mr. Marwan Ahmad Al-Sawaleh, Undersecretary of Support Services at the Ministry of Education, and students and mentors from renowned schools and universities in the UAE.

His Highness expressed his pleasure in being able to honor the winners of the competition, and said, “I am delighted to see another generation of young scientists being created who will help establish strong foundations for our country’s future efforts.” He also said, “The creativity and intelligence of these young scientists is a testament of the accomplishments of UAE as a nation. We are proud of the milestones the country has achieved in encouraging and empowering our young talent in the fields of science and technology.”

His Highness praised the program’s achievements, saying: “Since its launch in September 2012 the ‘Think Science’ program has managed to discover the abilities and talents of many distinctive young and creative Emiratis, of whom many will have a promising future in promoting the nation’s drive for progress and development. The program has been also successful in encouraging young people to study science, especially in disciplines that will help the country meet the needs of scientists and specialists, and to contribute to the knowledge-based economy.”

His Highness addressed the winners: “You are the bright future, and we see in you the ability to embody the vision of Sheikh Zayed (May the Almighty rest his soul) in being knowledgable citizens who are able to contribute effectively to the nation’s progress and development.”

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed expressed his thanks to all those in charge of this program, and in particular the Ministry of Education and Abu Dhabi Education Council. His Highness also thanked the private sector organizations and government bodies that have cooperated with the Emirates Foundation in the implementation of the program, which has contributed to bringing it to this outstanding level of organization and creativity, and make it a reality, and an important platform to invest in the potential of young Emiratis.

The award has nine categories for schools, ranged from electrical engineering to non-conventional energy, industrial and mechanical systems. As for the university, the award has three categories included applied sciences and engineering, energy and environment, and smart and safety systems.

The youth of UAE were provided with a platform designed specifically for them to showcase their intelligence and skills in science and technology. School and university students teamed up to create and design projects that put them in the foreground of science in the UAE during Think Science Fair and Competition. Academic experts in the fields of science and technology from the private sector, examined the projects of the students and evaluated them basis criteria of a high caliber.

The ceremony also honoured the program partners, who cooperated with the organization in the launch of the program, and the provision of technical support or technical support through the different stages of the program. Among those who have been honoured are, the Ministry of Education and Abu Dhabi Education Council, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Al Hosn Gas Co. as well as jury members in charge of evaluating the projects involved.

Maytha Al Habsi, Chief Programmes Officer at the Emirates Foundation, which organised the event, said, “We’re pleased to see an increasing number of young men and women participating in the competition this year, and the improvement in the quality of project entries in terms of ideas and creativity and scientific knowledge and innovation. This batch of young scientists have once again proved that the youth of this country will bring the UAE towards a bright and sustainable future distinguished by innovation and creativity – becoming the first Arab country to achieve second place in the world in the biggest international competition for Science and Engineering (Intel) for this year, confirms the compatibility of our methodology with the highest international standards in this area.”

She added, “The second edition of the “Think Science” exhibition held last month attracted the participation of more than 20 government institutions, and more than 550 students from public and private schools and universities from across the UAE, in addition to the 150 teachers and supervisors and staff in educational institutions and many representatives from the private sector.”

A notable winner in this year’s competition was in environmental sciences and management, won by high school students Shamma Al Bastaki and Hayaat Alhassan. Their project ‘Grains of Gold’ also landed them in second place at Intel ISEF in Los Angeles, USA.

The students found their inspiration to create this project upon visiting the Middle East’s first soil museum. They came across hydrophobic sand as a way to minimize water waste in soils. Hydrophobic sand as they discovered is regular sand that is chemically manipulated to resist water.

‘Protection Vest’, a project created by Shamsa Al Dhaheri, Ghubaisha Al Ameri, and Maryam Al Jabri, students of United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, took first place in the category of smart and safety systems. The project is an endeavor to increase child safety in the UAE. It particularly targets toddlers up to the age of two. The vest is creatively designed to sense whenever a child is on the verge of falling or drowning. It also includes a locator for the parents to have the ability to detect the location of their child.

The creative project also took the title of ‘The Best Project’ amongst the university category.

A member of the team, said, “Our objective is to add to the safety of the children. As they make up more than 2.7% of our population, it is important to devote our efforts into protecting them and keeping them as safe as possible from any harm.”

High school students Abhishek Patankar, Mohammed Ishaq Khan, and Daksh Varyani from GEMS Modern Academy took the title of ‘The Best Project’ among the school category with their project ‘Solar-Plastic Fuel’. The project also landed the trio in first place in the category of sustainable energy.

A member of the project, said, “Our aim is to reduce the amount of plastic wastes in a productive manner. We feel it is time to step in and do something about the damage that plastic wastes has done to our environment.”

The young winners’ project revolves around using only air, water and sunlight to convert plastic waste effectively and produce oil out of it. They have discovered that one kilogram of plastic can generate one liter of oil with minimum damage to the environment.

The Think Science Competition – one of the biggest events of its kind in the region – is one of three projects under the Emirates Foundation’s Think Science Program, which is held under the Patronage of H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development. Every year the fair attracts thousands of school and university students, parents, academics, investors and private sector representatives to a platform where the youth showcase their brain power and innovations in the field of science and technology. The program also includes Think Science Connect and the Think Science Ambassadors Project.