The race to be the next top innovator in the Arab world has begun, as Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science concludes the casting stage.
Season 11’s first three episodes showcased presentations from eager hopefuls armed with technological solutions for an array of problems. This year’s contenders held great promise, as the largest group in the show’s history – 31 candidates in total – impressed the jury and advanced to the selection round, taking a step closer to winning the title and a share of US$600,000 in seed funding.
In a brand-new format that focuses on collaboration and sustainability, various changes were made to the casting phase. The amendments were designed to alleviate the pressure on potential contestants and encourage open dialogue amongst peers and alumni – several of which co-hosted the casting episodes.
To commence their Stars of Science journey and prepare for the jury’s extensive questioning, candidates gave short presentations to new and old competitors. This unique element acted as an initial screening for the jury who were monitoring every candidate’s performance behind the scenes and gave the trio time to reflect and formulate deeper questions. The contestants then had the chance to explain their concepts further in one-on-one interviews with each jury member.
According to Jury member Professor Abdelhamid El Zoheiry, Stars of Science has been a ‘driver’ of innovation for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the Arab region for over a decade.
Coming from a medical background, I am delighted to see that this year’s ideas address modern problems using innovative technologies, especially in the biomedical field. I am also proud of our alumni, who demonstrated that they knew how to provide detailed critiques of candidates and their inventions and ask all the right questions.’
During the opening episodes, Stars of Science strongly emphasised the role of women in innovation and their accomplishments in varying scientific fields. Following the record number of participation and success of women last season, the show has become the leading platform for Arab women to challenge existing stereotypes and highlight their triumphs.
The casting episode featured innovators whose projects proposed to solve problems in all realms by utilising technology in creative and novel ways. Ideas included a nursing bottle that aims to target the dental health of infants, while another standout concept was a self-charging battery for prosthetics that charges itself through the patient’s movement.
Scientist Dr Nour Majbour, who placed second in Season 10, said the consistent passion, creativity, and dedication they have seen throughout the casting stage has shown the sheer amount of talent young Arabs have when they are provided with a supportive platform.
This is a unique environment in our part of the world, and I am happy to do my part in nurturing a new generation of Arab innovators.’
The show’s next instalment, the selection episode, will air this Friday, 4 October, on Qatar TV, and on Saturday, on eight channels across the region and online. Following the jury’s choice of the most promising innovations, the top eight will travel to the Stars of Science laboratories at Qatar Science & Technology Park – part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation – to develop their prototypes in the state-of-the-art shared innovation space, and turn their ideas into a reality.
For a full broadcast guide to Stars of Science Season 11, visit starsofscience.com.