More than 160 students from 40 schools will compete in the inaugural Qatar Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Art Fair (Qatar STEAM) finals on 24 and 25 March 2015 at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC).

The country’s inaugural Qatar STEAM Fair will see middle and secondary school students present their research projects to an expert panel of judges and compete to win awards in different scientific categories. The overall winners will go on to represent Qatar at the renowned Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Pittsburgh, USA, in May 2015.

This nationwide competition is being organised by Qatar Foundation Research & Development (QF R&D), Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), which is part of QF R&D, and the Supreme Education Council (SEC). The competition supports Qatar Foundation’s mission to build and develop capacity for creativity and critical thinking through research in education and science.

Executive Director of Research Coordination and Special Initiatives and Acting Executive Director of Education, Training and Development at QF R&D, Dr Dirar Khoury, said:

The Qatar STEAM Fair witnesses the launch of a national competition aimed at instilling the enjoyment of academic research into our nation’s youth, as part of a collective effort to grow a robust research culture within Qatar for generations to come. Qatar Foundation’s mission supports the students competing in Qatar STEAM today to unlock their potential and foster a sustainable ecosystem based on knowledge. QF R&D is proud to be leading such an initiative that will no doubt go on to impact the lives of many.’

Established in direct support of the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV2030), and the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS), Qatar STEAM aims to facilitate an environment in which the nation’s young scientists can thrive through firsthand experience of the impact of research.

As Qatar Foundation’s science and research pillar, QF R&D is leading Qatar’s vision to become an international centre for research and development excellence and innovation. It is also home to Qatar Science and Technology Park, a world-class hub for technology innovation and commercialisation, and QNRF, a globally renowned scientific research funding organisation. Executive Director of QNRF, Dr Abdul Sattar Al Taie, said:

Qatar STEAM provides a tremendous opportunity for budding researchers in Qatar to develop their research skills at the school level, while nurturing their ideas, which will ultimately prepare them for research at the undergraduate and graduate level. Therefore, what begins with a national competition at school, may see these students go on to impact Qatar, the region and the world, with their contributions to academic research. It is for this reason we are proud to be part of this competition, since it is an important contribution to the realisation of QNRF’s mission to support the development of a research environment that generates original and unique knowledge.’

By investing in cutting-edge research to support the growth of a local and regional scientific environment, QNRF supports Qatar Foundation in its mission to build Qatar’s research and innovation capacity that seeks to transform the nation into a hub of research excellence.

As the national body responsible for the development and advancement of Qatar’s education sector, the SEC meets the needs of the nation’s leadership by nurturing human capital and competency in various fields, a mission closely aligned with the QNV2030. Head of Scientific Research Team, Supreme Education Council, Dr Asma AlMohannadi, said:

The Supreme Education Council is proud to partner with Qatar Foundation on Qatar STEAM, which is indeed an initiative that serves the purpose of enhancing the cognitive and practical development of students across the nation. By participating in this Fair students will not only gain scientific knowledge and research experience, but also soft-skills, which will go on to positively impact the rest of their academic life beyond their school years. Indeed, it is through the acquisition of such skills that innovation is born, since it is these skills acquired through education that allow ideas to transform into reality while positively impacting society in the process.’

With more than 80 research projects submitted since the start of the competition in September last year, participating teams or individuals will present their projects to a judging panel over the course of the two-day competition.

The students’ projects will be on view to the public from 8 am on Wednesday 25 March 2015. This will be followed by the announcement of the winners at an award ceremony at 10 am. The overall winners will go on to join 1,700 of the world’s brightest young minds and compete for more than US$5 million in prizes in the USA.