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Emirates Foundation for Youth Development launches National ‘Think Science Competition’

Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Foundation for Youth Development launched its ‘Think Science Competition’, an initiative aimed at discovering Emirati scientific talents by sparking interest in hands-on technology and providing young UAE nationals with opportunities to design, develop and build science-based innovations.

The competition, part of the Foundation’s Think Science programme announced this week during the Emirates Foundation Social Investment Forum, will expose UAE youth to the latest scientific ideas and technology trends and encourage them to use these skills to solve practical problems.

Emirates Foundation is an independent, philanthropic organisation set up by the Abu Dhabi government to create public-private partnerships aimed at improving the welfare of the nation’s youth.

Students aged between 15 and 24 who are enrolled in a public and/or private school or universities are invited to enter the competition in teams of up to three individuals. Each team must include at least one Emirati national. Online registration and proposals submission will be opened on October 7, 2012. Applications close on November 12, 2012.

Submitted projects should be in one of the following fields: Chemistry/ Engineering ‘electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, materials’, applied physics, transportation, energy and environmental sciences.

Clare Woodcraft, CEO, Emirates Foundation, said, “We hope the competition acts as a platform for youth and industries to meet, network and work together to elevate and develop local talents.” Maytha Al Habsi, Chief Programmes Officer at the Foundation, said, “This is the third year the Foundation has held this competition,” Al Habsi added. “The project’s pilot phase, between 2010 and 2011, included students in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. All up 550 students participated with more than 150 innovative projects. This success encouraged us to open up the project this year to students across the seven emirates of the UAE”.

Participants will showcase their innovative projects in the final Think Science exhibition, and winners will be announced during an awards ceremony in April 2013. Successful entries will be rewarded with valuable prizes, exploration trips and scholarships to some of the UAE’s universities.

“I would call upon interested organisations in the public and private sector to join hands with the Emirates Foundation to achieve our goal of inspiring our youth to better develop our nation and support its direction towards a knowledge-based economy,” Al Habsi said.

The Think Science Competition runs in partnership with Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi Education Council , Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, and Siemens LLC.

Humaid Al Qattami, Minister of Education, said, “The initiative is in light of the mutual interest in building scientific capacities among the UAE youth, and ensures their capability to compete and innovate on greater scales. It is also important as it enhances relations between local business and youth as it exposes youth to industries which will play a major role in ensuring that talents are embraced within the relevant industry schemes”.

“The Abu Dhabi Education Council ‘ADEC’ is delighted to partner in the Think Science Competition, since such initiatives help support our youth to reach their full potential and compete in a globally competitive market environment. The initiative comes in line with ADEC’s 10-year strategic plan to see more students graduating from Science related majors. For that reason, ADEC continues to take part in various scientific activities and competitions that encourage students to enjoy coming up with research methodologies, while enhancing qualities such as critical thinking, problem solving, innovation and vocational skills from a young age,” said Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Director General, ADEC.

Commenting on the partnership, Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, said, “ADWEA is proud to be a part of Emirates Foundation’s initiatives like ‘Think Science’ which invest in the potential of today’s youth.

These projects enhance participation in community development and enable development of their abilities to contribute effectively in building the future of our nation; motivating them towards volunteerism, civic participation and community service as well as advancement in the world of science, engineering and industry.” Kay Zwingenberger, CEO of Siemens UAE, said, “We believe that a key factor towards a more sustainable future – both for Siemens and for our partners here in the UAE, such as Emirates Foundation – is to develop young local talent. That is why participating in education initiatives like Think Science and contributing to the UAE’s national 2021 Vision is absolutely essential for us”.

“Children are the future of this region and the Think Science programme is one of a number of initiatives we are rolling out in the country that are designed to engage with and inspire young people to drive their interest and participation in science activities,” he concluded.