Dubai: The countdown to the Dh71,000 ‘Emirates Young Scientist’ award has started with the launch of the National Science Technology and Innovation Festival (NSTI Festival) on Tuesday at Dubai Festival Arena.
The winner will be revealed on Saturday after 100 student projects are evaluated by judges over four days of the festival, organised by the Ministry of Education and held as part of the UAE Innovation Month (February).
There will also be other winners in various categories honoured at an awards ceremony on Saturday, the last day of the annual festival, which this year has tripled student participation to 2,472 pupils. On the sidelines, there is also a ‘Family Festival’ featuring various activities.
Besides student contests, NSTI Festival is also featuring workshops, presentations, shows and a ‘Student Retreat’ as an opportunity to be trained by experts to develop student projects into commercial products.
On Tuesday, during the opening ceremony, Minister of Education Hussain Al Hammadi said innovation is part of the UAE mind-set and students are the “base and hope” for innovation for national progress. Al Hammadi said the ‘Emirati School Model’ is providing all support and skills to students, especially as 2020 witnesses the year of ‘Towards the Next 50’, referring to the UAE’s plan to chart progress for the coming five decades.
The UAE, the minister added, will continue to organise student contests in artificial intelligence and robotics, and send student ambassadors abroad to learn latest technologies and transfer that knowledge home. Al Hammadi said the goal is for the UAE to become the world leader in innovation and education.
Addressing the students in his keynote, Al Hammadi said: “You are the generation who will achieve this vision… We are all proud of you.”
Attending the ceremony were Minister of State for Public Education Jameela Salem Al Muhairi; Minister of State for Advance Sciences Sarah Bint Yousef Al Amiri; Minister of Climate Change and Environment Dr Thani Ahmad Al Zeyoudi; and a number of senior officials from various departments.
The ceremony also featured former NASA engineer turned YouTuber Mark Rober, whose fun videos about science generate 26 million views on average, one of the highest rates on YouTube.
In his presentation, Rober urged students to “gamify your life”, rising above the fear of failure and finding exciting ways to learn.
“The trick to learning and having more success is finding the right way to think about the learning process… What if you framed the learning process in such a way that you didn’t concern yourself with failure; how much more successful could you be; how much more could you learn?” Rober said.