Spirited Young Arab Innovators Compete for a Coveted Spot in the Opening Episodes of Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science Season 8
Doha, Qatar: Stars of Science, the Arab world’s most popular ‘edutainment’ reality show developed by Qatar Foundation, returned to TV screens this month with its first two casting episodes. Dedicated to finding the top Arab innovators with creative solutions in the biomedical and information technology spheres, the episodes showcased young people from all over the region vying for a chance to become candidates on the show. Stars of Science hopefuls tried to persuade an expert jury that they should be shortlisted for the Majlis episode, where nine of them will be selected to develop their ideas into working prototypes.
On the first casting episode, biomedical innovators exhibited their ideas to a well-established panel of experts led by Stars of Science veteran Professor Fouad Mrad, known as ‘The Instigator.’ The professor, famous for his ‘tough love’ feedback, leads a United Nations center dedicated to technology for development in the Middle East.
Joining him was the ever popular Professor Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, known as ‘The Collaborator.’ A bridge builder for medical educators around the world, Professor El-Zoheiry brings a keen eye and sharp wit to the jury. Rounding out the group was Aysha Al-Mudahka, CEO of the Qatar Business Incubation Center. Aysha, ‘The Catalyst,’ is an expert at identifying and growing startups and is listed as one of the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women by CEO Middle East Magazine.
The first casting episode featured both inspired and novel inventions ranging from infant care to fitness. Jurors unanimously rejected some bizarre ideas, like a device that purported to detect the romantic compatibility between two users. On the other hand, some projects, like Yazi Alalo’s home storage fish safety indicator, earned the praise of jurors. Taking the unconventional route of pitching with her five month-old baby, Yazi successfully showed how her idea could help reduce food waste, earning her a spot on the shortlist for the upcoming Majlis episode.
The second casting episode aimed to find Arab innovators with information technology projects. Professor Mrad and Aysha Al-Mudahka were joined by ‘The Pioneer’ – Dr. Ahmed K. Elmagarmid, the Executive Director of Qatar Computing Research Institute at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar. Dr. Elmagarmid has been at the forefront of computing in the region since the 1970s, and brings experience from Hewlett-Packard and IBM.
“These brave innovators belong to a generation of problem-solvers around the Arab world who are developing potential solutions to some of the region’s biggest challenges,” noted Aysha Al-Mudahka. “As enthusiastic, optimistic, and talented as they are, only nine will have the opportunity to see their ideas realized into prototypes on the show. Our task as jurors is made even more difficult with the quality of ideas that we have seen on the first two casting episodes.”
Only one casting episode remains, to be aired on October 1st. It will focus on aspiring candidates whose ideas relate to the energy and environment. On October 8th, the shortlisted hopefuls will find out if they will be invited to Doha, Qatar as a Stars of Science candidate, or if they will have to try again next year.
Candidates will fiercely compete against each other over the course of two stages of the program: the prototyping and customer validation rounds. Over the course of the show, they will be challenged to develop and enhance their projects to benefit communities and generate a global impact. The four candidates with the most viable projects will then move on to the life-changing finale, where they will earn a share of 600,000 USD of seed-funding after an online public vote and jury vote.
Stars of Science:
Stars of Science, the flagship “edutainment reality” TV format initiated by Qatar Foundation, is the Arab world’s leading innovation show that enables the region’s aspiring science and technology entrepreneurs.
In this eighth season, nine candidates are challenged to develop creative solutions to regional problems within the fields of information technology, energy, environment, and health. An expert panel of jurors assesses and eliminates candidates and their innovative products in Prototyping and Customer Validation episodes until only four remain. These four finalists vie for a share of $600,000 in seed funding, determined by a jury deliberation and online voting from the public.
Stars of Science airs every Saturday on MBC4 at 10:30pm KSA / 7:30 pm GMT starting September 17th till November 19th 2016.
Qatar Foundation – Unlocking Human Potential
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development (QF) is a private, non-profit organization that is supporting Qatar on its journey from a carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential, for the benefit of not only Qatar, but the world. Founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir, QF is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.
QF’s work encompasses education, research and community development. World-class universities are brought to Qatar to help create an education sector in which young people can develop the attitudes and skills required for a knowledge economy. At the same time, QF builds Qatar’s innovation and technology capacity by developing and commercializing solutions through key sciences. The Foundation also works to foster a progressive society while enhancing cultural life, protecting Qatar’s heritage and addressing immediate social needs in the community.
About MBC Group:
MBC Group (Middle East Broadcasting Center) is the largest and leading private media company in the Middle East & North Africa region. For the past 25 years, MBC Group was able to enrich people’s lives through information, interaction and entertainment. In 2002, nearly a decade after the launch of MBC1 in London, back in 1991, and as the 1st private free-to-air Arab satellite TV channel, MBC Group moved its headquarters to Dubai Media City, United Arab Emirates, where it remains.
Today, MBC Group includes 20 TV channels: MBC1 (general family entertainment); MBC2 and MBC MAX (24-hour western movies); MBC3 (children’s edutainment with a mix of both local productions and western acquisitions); MBC4 (entertainment for young families with a female-focus); MBC Action (an indigenous adrenaline-packed channel targeting young males with local and homegrown productions); MBC Variety (Western films and general entertainment with uninterrupted broadcasting); Al Arabiya News Channel (the 24-hour Arabic language news channel); Al Hadath (an extension of Al Arabiya News Channel with a specific focus on real events in the Arab world and beyond); Wanasah (24-hour Arabic music channel); MBC DRAMA (24/7 Arabic drama); MBC MASR (general family entertainment geared towards the Egyptian family); MBC MASR 2 (providing the Egyptian audience with superior quality entertainment); MBC + Drama (exclusive on MyHD); MBC Bollywood (delivering the freshest in Bollywood content geared towards the region via an Arabized interface); and most recently four sports channels, MBC PRO SPORTS (geared towards the “Saudi Football Premier League” fans in the Kingdom); and MBC USA (the channel is present on “Dish Network” in the US, and targets Arab audiences aboard; the channel is dedicated to offer and broadcast a wide range of content from the prominent MBC channels including movies, series and global formats).
In July 2011, seven channels within MBC Group began to broadcast in HD across the MENA Region: MBC1 HD, MBC2 HD, MBC4 HD, MBC Action HD, MBC Drama HD, MBC Max HD and Al Arabiya HD. In 2013, MBC3 HD joined the collection of HD channels followed by MBC Variety HD in 2014.
MBC Group also includes two FM radio stations: MBC FM (Gulf music) and Panorama FM (contemporary Arabic hit music); as well as O3 Productions, a premium content drama production company. Furthermore, MBC Group includes online platforms: mbc.net, alarabiya.net, shahid.net (the first free VOD and catch-up portal in the Arab world) and actionha.net, and mbcprosports.net among others.