Abu Dhabi: The UAE Space Agency has announced the names of ten winners who have been selected to join the Arab Space Pioneers Programme’s inaugural edition, the first intensive scientific training programme of its kind in the Arab world.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had launched the first-of-its-kind specialised training programme last July, in line with the launch of the UAE’s Hope Probe to Mars — the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.
The specialised training programme, overseen by the UAE Space Agency, aims to build Arab expertise in space science and technologies and empower the region’s talents to practise their passion in space-related studies.
The Arab Space Pioneers Programme aims to prepare Arab talent across various disciplines of space science, research and technology, and nurture the scientific competencies of Arab youth that are passionate about space exploration and science.
Within two weeks of its launch, the Arab Space Pioneers drew an overwhelming 37,000 applications from creative talents, researchers and inventors across the Arab world. Egypt took the lead with 19,391 applications, followed by Iraq (6,447), Algeria (4,836), Morocco (3,107), UAE (692), Jordan (681), Palestine (422), Syria (406), Tunisia (370) and Saudi Arabia (361).
The candidates chosen for the Talent Track are: Muhammad Al Sayed Subai (17 years), Salah El Din Jalal (17 years) and Nuran Al Sayed (16 years) from Egypt; Nuran Al Youssef (16 years) and Fatima Al Abdullah (16 years) from Saudi Arabia; Muhammad Zakaria (15 years) from Algeria; and Muhammad Al Jroub (16 years) from Jordan. Finally, the candidates selected in the Student Track are Maria Muhammad from the Comoros, Muhammad Abdel Jawad from Syria, and Asmaa Al Mismari from Saudi Arabia.
Tracks that match capabilities
The Student Track provides an opportunity for scientifically proficient Arab students to obtain scholarships in space science and technology and earn a master’s or doctoral degree from the United Arab Emirates University. The participants will receive training in the space research and development centres and laboratories in the UAE.
The Talent Track provides an opportunity for talented school students in the Arab world to learn more about space sciences and technology and helps build their knowledge by preparing them to join careers in this exciting field.
The Expert Track is designed for scientists, specialists, and professionals in space-related disciplines who are capable of contributing to the development of space science and technology, such as supporting the designing and building of satellites and processing of space data based on technical standards and conditions that meet the requirements of each project.
The evaluation process
Following the close of registration, a specialised committee of scientists and researchers comprehensively evaluated the applicants based on their qualifications and achievements in science and research and on innovative skills that can be enhanced. This step shortlisted the 15 candidates that advanced into the final stage of selection to the Arab Space Pioneers Programme, including five candidates for the Expert Track, three candidates for the Student Track, and seven candidates for the Talent Track.
Passion for space sciences
Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The Arab Space Pioneers Programme identifies the most competent Arab scientific talent, and works with them to translate their passion for space sciences into reality, develop their ideas through providing specialised training, and thereby, contribute to strengthening the Arab space sector.”
She added: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the programme last summer to empower and build the capabilities of Arab students interested in studying space sciences. Through inspiring them to continue pursuing a STEM-focused education, the Programme reflects the UAE’s vision to continue investing in the youth of the region for the greater benefit of humanity, in areas related to innovation and shaping a knowledge economy — specifically, in the space sector.”
For his part, Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The Arab Space Pioneers Programme is an intensive scientific programme to build the competencies of Arab youth in space technology and advanced sciences. In its first cycle, the programme nurtures a team of aspiring and competent young people, meticulously, selected from across the UAE and the wider Arab region to reinforce their skills and contribute to the UAE’s efforts to shape a space ecosystem in the country.”
Those enrolled in the Programme are set to play crucial roles in advancing the UAE’s space ambitions. Participants in the Arab Space Pioneers Programme will also benefit from a fully covered three-year residency in the UAE, a world-class specialised training in space science and technology, an opportunity to build advanced satellites in the UAE and also receive scholarships and other financial incentives. Through the Programme, they gain an opportunity to engage and collaborate with teams of Emirati researchers, engineers, and experts across multiple space projects.
The intensive program combines theoretical and hands-on practical training through enabling participants to contribute to the UAE Space Agency’s present and future projects.