Posted on October 05, 2011

TV competition show Stars of Science returns for a third series at 10pm KSA on Thursday 6th October, broadcast exclusively on MBC4.

Stars of Science is the region’s first pan-Arab docu-reality TV program dedicated to innovation. Episodes one and two show highlights of a regional casting tour in Qatar, Kuwait, Tunisia, Jordan, KSA, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. The best candidates with the most promising project ideas are invited to a further selection that takes place during episode three in Doha. The show was launched in 2009 by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF).

This year, candidates are seeking to impress two permanent jury members who are experts within the fields of Science & Technology - Engineer Mohamad Al Kuwari, General Manager of EADS Competence Center of Qatar; and Professor Fouad Mrad, Executive Director of the Regional Technology Center-United Nations – ESCWA; as well as a third, local juror who joins them in each of the countries on the tour.

Stars of Science involves a three-step selection process, beginning with an online application via the program’s website ( or Candidates must be aged between 18 – 30 years old, and of Arab nationality. A committee of up to 20 product development experts examines all the applications to establish a shortlist who are invited to pitch their project ideas during the casting tour. The committee bases its selection on the complexity of the project or invention; on its potential usefulness for society; on the likely demand and marketability of the eventual product; and on whether the idea includes a novel scientific feature. 

A variety of nationalities were represented at the casting sessions, including Iraq, Syria, KSA, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Bahrain and Qatar.

In Qatar, the two permanent judges were joined at Texas A&M University at Qatar by Dr. Adnan Abu Dayya, Executive Director of Qatar University Wireless Innovation Centre. The local juror at the University of Kuwait was Dr. Mohamad Al Fares, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

In Tunisia, casting took place at the National Engineering School of Tunis, where the guest local juror was Dr. Meriem Jaidane-Saidane, a Professor at Tunis University. And in Jordan, Dr. Sa’ed Salhieh, Associate Dean and Product Design Lab Director at the University of Jordan, joined the permanent jurors at the Royal Scientific Society in Amman.

In Saudi Arabia, the casting took place at King Saud University where Dr. Adel Al-Shayea joined permanent judges Dr. Fouad and Engineer Mohamad Al Kuwari. The next stop was in Lebanon where the guest local juror was Dr. Oussama Jadayel, flight engineer at the University of Balamand.

In Cairo, the casting took place at the American University of Cairo, where the local guest juror was Dr. Maher Younan. The journey ended in Syria at the University of Qalamoon with local juror Dr. Nawar Al-Awa.

Project ideas in the casting sessions sprang from a wide range of scientific fields including: Veterinary Medicine, Biofuels, Robots and Electronic Operations, Heating and Cooling, Telecommunications and Global Positioning, Electronic Tools, Medical Equipment, Steering Systems, Smart Computer Software and Construction Techniques.

While some candidates are Ph.D. and masters students who have been working on project ideas prior to the program, others are amateur science and technology enthusiasts hoping for a major break. The program also accepts a number of ‘walk-ins’ who missed the application deadline, adding an element of surprise to these early episodes.  The main requirements are to have a passion for science, technology and innovation, and to have faith in an original idea.

Permanent judge Engineer Mohamad Al Kuwari, General Manager of EADS Competence Center of Qatar says: “As a strong supporter and advocate of the role that young people can play in the development of innovation in the region, I was honored to be asked to become a permanent jury member for series three of Stars of Science. I particularly like the fact that, in the first two episodes, we meet such a wide variety of young hopefuls from across the Arab world, from such a diverse range of disciplines, showcasing everything from the strange and lighthearted side of innovation to the more serious candidates who have exceptional project ideas, making it an exciting and entertaining program which the whole family can enjoy.” 

Fellow permanent jury member Professor Fouad Mrad, Executive Director of the Regional Technology Center-United Nations – ESCWA added: “I have been a science advisor to the program since 2009 and I always enjoy the casting tour as it gives me a window into the minds of young Arab innovators from across the region. This year the standard has been exceptionally high and I feel privileged to be a part of the first Pan-Arab TV show to shine a spotlight on the region’s young inventors.”

Only 16 of the thousands of applicants will secure a place in the Stars of Science workshop, a specially-designed space at Qatar Science & Technology Park where they can develop their ideas into products. During a live finale on December 1st, viewers and jury members will choose a winner and three runners-up, and up to $600,000 in prize money will be distributed among the final four to help them develop their innovations.

Next week’s episode (13th October at 10pm KSA, MBC4) will show the continuation of the casting tour in KSA, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.