The UAE Space Agency has announced the 10 winners of the inaugural Arab Space Pioneers Programme, the initial intensive scientific training scheme of its kind in the region.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, unveiled the initiative in July 2020, in line with the launch of the UAE’s Hope Probe to Mars, the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.
Within two weeks, it attracted 37,000 applications.
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 #ArabSpacePioneersProgramme is the first-of-its-kind specialized training programme that aims to build Arab expertise in space science and technologies. Split into three tracks Talent, Student and Expert, it combines theorical and hands-on practical training. pic.twitter.com/AYYhutTHWM— وكالة الإمارات للفضاء (@uaespaceagency) February 7, 2021
Following the close of registration, a specialised committee of scientists and researchers evaluated the applicants based on their qualifications and achievements.
The candidates chosen for the Talent Track include Muhammad Al Sayed Subai (17), Salah El Din Jalal (17) and Nuran Al Sayed (16) from Egypt, Nuran Al Youssef (16) and Fatima Al Abdullah (16) from Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Zakaria (15) from Algeria, and Muhammad Al Jroub (16) from Jordan.
While 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.
The programme, overseen by the UAE Space Agency, aims to build expertise in space science and technologies.
Participants will benefit from a fully covered three-year residency in the UAE, world-class specialised training, an opportunity to build advanced satellites in the UAE and also receive scholarships and other financial incentives.
They will also gain an opportunity to engage and collaborate with teams of Emirati researchers, engineers, and experts across multiple space projects.
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 centers and laboratories in the UAE.
The Talent Track provides an opportunity for talented school students to 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.
Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, 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 specialized 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."
Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: "The programme is off to a great start and we have our finalists for the Talent and Student tracks in place. We are confident that our first cadre of participants will significantly strengthen the Arab space sector, as part of the wider Arab Space Cooperation Group that comprises 14 Arab countries."