Stars of Science, Qatar Foundation’s ‘edutainment reality’ TV programme broadcast on MBC4, launched its search for the best innovators in the region in a consequential first episode that saw aspiring candidates pitch their ideas to the jury.
The programme airs from Saturday 13 September to Saturday 15 November 2014 on MBC4 at 9 pm KSA/6 pm GMT. Perennial juror and Executive Director of the UN ESCWA regional center for technology in Amman, Jordan, Dr Fouad Mrad, said:
Stars of Science is a platform to identify and improve upon the region’s most innovative ideas to make them known to a global audience. The high quality of young people who are participating in this casting tour is evidence that the Arab world is developing the human capital necessary to innovate in the fields of science and technology.’
Stars of Science kicked off its international casting tour by screening potential candidates at two prominent regional institutions of higher education and technology. Audiences across the Arab world were introduced to many talented, young innovators vying for a place in the programme.
For its sixth season, Stars of Science debuts a new format aimed at increasing competition, pitting small groups of innovators against each other for the chance to turn their project ideas into reality. Following the competitive selection process, 12 candidates aged 18 to 30 from across the Arab world will be selected to come to Doha, where they are mentored by engineering and design specialists from across the globe. The innovators’ resilience, ingenuity and teamwork are tested in challenges throughout the programme as they develop their potential products from concept to working prototype with the ultimate goal of winning a share of US$600,000 in prize money.
The international casting tour started in Alahsa, Saudi Arabia, where large numbers of students, entrepreneurs and young professionals from different Arab countries were shortlisted to present their ideas to the Stars of Science jury at King Faisal University (KFU). Joining as a local jury member was Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Awaid, Dean of Student Affairs at KFU. On the tour’s next stop, the UAE, a diverse group of young men and women pitched their ideas to Stars of Science at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. There, Suaad Al Shamsi, a well-known aircraft engineer, helped evaluate and give feedback for a second time as a local jury member.
Aspiring candidates submitted a range of diverse and inventive ideas. Potential projects included a welding machine for electronics, an automatic sidewalk painter, a prayer alarm bracelet, a phone to phone battery charger, a health diagnostic bracelet and a mobile UV sanitizer.
Potential projects were evaluated by their usefulness to society, potential for marketability, time needed to develop the idea and the possibility of obtaining a patent. In the next two episodes, Stars of Science will continue its casting tour in Qatar, Morocco and Lebanon. Young innovators from these countries and others like Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Oman, Sudan and Algeria will present their best ideas to the jury in hopes of landing a ticket to Doha, Qatar. Stars of Science will announce the selected candidates in the fourth episode.
Stars of Science has launched a new website that allows fans to enrich their viewing experience with web exclusives, episode recaps and candidate profiles. The website is an interactive hub for technology-related discussion and helps Arab innovators connect with resources and each other. Every Saturday – between 8 pm KSA and 11 pm KSA, online visitors can join the lively discussion group that will have members of the jury, SOS alumni and programme producers taking part in the discussions and answering questions. A live chat feature with a technical advisor for all those wishing to apply to the programme will also be on hand.
Khaled Al Jumaily is reprising his role as host of Stars of Science for Season 6. For the first time, he is joined by Haneen Al Naqdi, who is co-hosting the programme. The next episode of Stars of Science will be shown on 20 September 2014 at 9 pm KSA/ 6 pm GMT on MBC4.
For more information, visit the ‘Stars of Science’ website.