Posted on September 08, 2016

Enlisting talented young participants from across the region, Stars of Science is far from your average reality TV show. As an initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), the show is set to launch its eighth season on MBC4, engaging audiences from all over the region by creating a new window of opportunity for young Arab innovators, captivating a diverse audience through the stimulating medium of edu-tainment.

Unlike any other reality show in the world, Stars of Science entertains its viewers in Arabic, which reinforces its educational and cultural value. On a fundamental level, the programme also reflects the regional focus on recognising and rewarding local talent by fostering the scientific creativity of youth; rallying the support of the Pan-Arab community through interactive voting to select a worthy winner. Apart from entertaining television, the programme serves as an excellent platform to launch the careers of talented young innovators who possess the potential to impact their local community and beyond by addressing the needs of, and solving problems specific to, the Arab world.

As an initiative driven by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), Stars of Science is diversifying public perceptions and changing the way we think about science and research. For the past eight years, the show has crafted a dynamic legacy, positioning Qatar as a regional leader in talent identification. Audiences across the Arab world have seen industrious innovators showcase creative solutions, which address regional and global challenges within the information technology and energy industries, as well as the environment and health sectors.

Khalifa Al Kubaisi, Head of QF Press Office at Qatar Foundation said: “Inspired by a love of innovation, Stars of Science reflects Qatar Foundation’s dedication to developing a home grown cohort of researchers to address local, as well as international research and development challenges. Every season we are astounded by the ideas and ingenuity of our regional talent, and we have seen some amazing innovations use Stars of Science as a spring board to impart a meaningful impact in the fields of science and research.” “One of our main aims at QF is to effect sustainable change in the region, so our support for Stars of Science doesn’t end with the conclusion of each season. We continue to help contestants as they progress with their inventions, assisting the young innovators with advice and expert opinions to further enhance their innovations. Together, we are helping to build a better future for all and I’m really excited for the next edition of the show.”

So far, Stars of Science alumni have picked up over 50 international and regional awards, showcasing their knowledge and expertise on an international scale. Some of the most notable inventions to emerge from the series include Vetosis, a camel racing diagnostic boot devised by 28-year-old veterinarian Mohammed Doumir from Season 5. Mohammed’s invention diagnoses limping in racing animals, particularly camels, using specialised sensors, and he is currently expanding his product alongside Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) and Al Shaqab; members of QF, as well as camel racing body, Hejn Association.

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Local involvement is another reason for the Qatari community to get excited about the show. Qatar’s very own Season 5 runner up, Mohamad Al Kuwari, created i7 Goal Line Technology, an automated verdict in disputed football scoring which combines linear readers with a high speed computer vision system to determine goal verification. Working to introduce the i7 Goal Line Technology to football’s international governing organisations such as FIFA, Mohammed has been commended by numerous Qatari organisations, including the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs, Qatar Football Association, Qatar Olympic Committee and Qatar Scientific Club.

Mohamad revealed: “I think the thing that stands out most from my involvement with Stars of Science is how much of an impact the show has made on my life since I participated in season 5 and left as a finalist. The show has created a window of opportunity for me that I don’t think would have existed otherwise, and I’m delighted to see the show increase in popularity with each season. Not only does Stars of Science make a real difference to those living in Qatar, but it benefits the region at large, tackling real issues with the capacity to really make a difference on an international level.”

Apart from sporting excellence, other innovations which have emerged from the show include products aimed at alleviating problems for those with special needs. Anwar Almojarkesh, an electrical and telecommunications engineer from Syria, developed the ‘Assistive Pillow’ for the hearing impaired when he competed in Stars of Science Season 5. The user downloads the Braci app, which utilises Bluetooth technology to alert the hearing impaired to the events happening in their surroundings through vibration, light and smell with the aid of a smart phone application.

In an effort to improve the lives of those with physical and mental challenges, Ahmad Al Ghazi established a medical device company in Silicon Valley to produce Goom, a motorised walker and lifter for the elderly and handicapped which is now patented in several countries. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Ahmad claimed first prize in Season 2 and paved the way for other products conducive to health and the autonomy of seniors.

With real world significance, Stars of Science has created an attractive entrepreneurial road map for young innovators in the region. With no end in sight, this season is sure to not only inspire audience participation, but motivate a new cohort of innovators to apply for the programme next year. Apart from popularising the show, previous contestants and their past inventions have made a substantial impact on the region through their success and will undoubtedly continue to be the greatest reflection of the knowledge economy flourishing in the Middle East.

The first episode of Stars of Science airs on Saturday September 17th at 10pm on MBC4. For more details visit www.starsofscience.com

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