Projects developed by the brightest young scientific minds from schools across Qatar have been placed in the spotlight through a new national competition organized by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
2,127 students – 31 percent of whom were Qatari - from 130 schools presented the outcomes of their scientific inquiry and innovative thinking to expert judges at the National Scientific Research Competition (NSRC), which took place recently at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), with the six winners of its Grand Awards now preparing to represent Qatar on science’s global stage.
The competition was held as part of the Education Conference and National Scientific Research Week, organized jointly by the Ministry and QNRF under the theme, ‘Pioneering and Creativity’, and attended by His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the State of Qatar; His Excellency Dr Mohammed Abdul Wahed Al-Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education; His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry; and other dignitaries.
NSRC aims to enable and inspire students to develop the skills required for scientific discovery and success from a young age, nurture creativity and critical thinking, and enhance Qatar’s human capacity in the field of science and research. It was formed through merging QF R&D’s Qatar Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math Fair (Qatar STEAM); QNRF’s Secondary School Research Experience Program, and the Ministry’s Scientific Research Competition. By amalgamating these three initiatives, preparatory and secondary school students throughout Qatar have been further encouraged to sharpen their focus on scientific exploration that can contribute to addressing Qatar’s national priorities, and given a wider platform to showcase their efforts.
Dr. Hamad Al-Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, QF R&D, said: “We welcome the fruitful collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and QNRF to promote a culture of scientific research and discovery in Qatar, and build the capabilities of our students and teachers in this field.” “We still have a long way to travel on our journey toward becoming a sustainable and diversified economy and, amid global competition, we must elevate our efforts to build the human capacity that is capable of developing solutions that address challenges and create multiple benefits. We hope our students continue to embrace innovation through their studies, contribute to the advancement of our nation in the field of science, research, and innovation, and represent Qatar with distinction at international level.”
The aspiring scientists’ projects in the fields of computer science and communications systems, biomedicine, animal and plant sciences, math and physics, chemistry and materials, energy, earth and environmental sciences, engineering and behavioral and social sciences were assessed by a 50-strong judging panel comprising experts from government, the education and research sectors, and industry, with key criteria including students’ capacity to demonstrate innovation and sound research skills. The Grand Award winners will now go forward to the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), to be held in Los Angeles in May, as Qatar’s representatives in a competition which will see students from 70 countries participate.
“QNRF’s partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education has enabled the development of a national competition that supports our joint vision of spreading a culture of scientific research in all schools across Qatar, allowing our students to build their knowledge and capabilities in this field and develop high-caliber and innovative projects,” said Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director, QNRF. “Our students carry the hopes of this nation, and through the creativity and innovation that is evident in their research projects, they are demonstrating how they are the foundation on which Qatar’s vision will be achieved.”
The NSRC Grand Award-winning projects were developed by Thajiba Al Hail and Sharifa Al Muhannadi from Al Khor Independent High School; Ahmad Al Asmar and Fahad Al Mokhlaf from Ibn Taymiyyah Boys Independent Secondary School; Amany Al Rajhy and Abeer Al Harbi from Qatar Secondary Girls School and Al Kawthar Secondary School for Girls respectively; Saleh Al Mahazaa and Abdullah Al Sulaiman from AlShamal Secondary Boys School; Ahmad El Iwa and Khalifa Al Marri from Ahmed bin Mohammed Secondary Independent Boys School; and Sara Al Kaabi from Qatar Al Masrafia High School for Girls. In total, 27 projects were awarded at the closing ceremony for the Education Conference and National Scientific Research Week.
Meanwhile, 18 Qatar-based organizations presented NSRC Special Awards to students who undertook research projects in areas relevant to their business. Awarding organizations were Qatar Science & Technology Park, part of QF R&D, QF members Qatar Biobank, Qatar Career Development Center (QCDC), and Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), and Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), QF partner universities Texas A&M University at Qatar and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Qatar Genome Programme, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the National Committee for Traffic Safety; the British Council; the US Embassy in Qatar; Raytheon International; the Al Bairaq Program at Qatar University; and the Childhood Cultural Center..
The Education Conference and National Scientific Research Week also included the winners of the 2nd Qatar National Astronomy Olympiad being awarded. Organized by QEERI’s Fascination Astronomy Program, funded by QNRF, the competition saw 60 teams of students from 33 middle and 27 high schools in Qatar express their passion for science by creating astronomy devices and conducting mathematical calculations.