Posted on May 01, 2017

Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development, and Texas A&M University at Qatar have signed an agreement to create an innovation laboratory to support outreach and academic enrichment initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for schoolchildren in Qatar.

Signing the agreement were Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, executive director of QNRF, and Dr. César O. Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar. “There are virtually no places where high school students can acquire, enrich and polish their hands-on skills in activities related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” Al-Taie said. “For this endeavor, QNRF and Texas A&M at Qatar have embarked on establishing a special STEM lab to bridge this gap and to assist students in turning their research outcome and innovative ideas into reality."

Under the agreement, QNRF will provide funding for the lab, called the Innovation Station, which will host equipment and teaching tools for K-12 students to learn by integrating science, mathematics and technology toward real-world problems. The facility also will have cutting-edge technology that will enable student researchers to imagine, invent and innovate age-appropriate solutions to Qatar’s grand challenges through hands-on learning experiences. The facility also will be a resource for schools and schoolchildren working on STEM-related projects.

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The lab is intended to promote creative applications of engineering and science toward innovative thinking and original design in young students. The facility will become a central part of Texas A&M at Qatar’s STEM outreach programs, which are designed to spark interest in science and engineering in students to motivate them to choose educational pathways for careers in fields related to STEM. This is a crucial link for building human capital and capacity for the technical workforce needed to achieve the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.

Dr. César O. Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar, noted the importance of inspiring students’ interest in STEM careers at an early age. “As engineering educators, we have a unique opportunity to help young people understand ways they can be part of the exciting engineering and science advances that impact the world around us,” Malavé said. “Our STEM programs aim to light that spark of discovery in Qatar’s schoolchildren, and the Innovation Station is essential for that goal. We are grateful to the Qatar National Research Fund for their vision and partnership in joining us in this effort.”