Stars of Science, the region’s leading “edutainment” reality TV show that has inspired innovators and entrepreneurs across the Arab world, returns for its eighth season on September 17.
The programme will be broadcast on MBC4.
Initiated and supported by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), the new season brings a fresh approach, which will see candidates contributing creative solutions to regional problems within the information technology, energy, environment and health sectors.
Stars of Science (SOS), in line with QF’s mission to encourage a culture of quality and excellence, serves as an instrument to foster creative and innovative thinking among the next generation of ambitious science and technology problem solvers, according to a press statement.
Over the years, audiences across the Arab world have seen groups of innovators turn their ideas into reality, developing and selling products around the world, picking up more than 50 international and regional awards along the way and sharing their knowledge and expertise on an international scale.
Fahad al-Qahtani, president of community development at Qatar Foundation, said: “At QF, we are always seeking to engage our local community by inspiring creativity and entrepreneurship to further promote scientific innovation in Qatar. “Captivating both old and young alike, Stars of Science is one dynamic way we support this endeavour.”
Success stories of the show’s alumni, like Anwar Almojarkesh, founder and CEO of Braci, which specialises in assistive technologies for the hearing impaired, send a strong message to Arab youth. Having narrowly missed out on a chance to reach the finals of the programme, he went on to successfully launch his business in Denmark and the UK, raising more than $1,000,000 from international angel investors, governments and incubators.
His success in raising external funding beyond the programme has been replicated by 15 fellow Stars of Science alumni, who have raised more than $9mn between them to support the further stages of developing their products.
In addition to their ability to fund-raise, the power of SOS alumni also lies in their capacity to inspire young minds to pursue their dreams and contribute solutions to regional problems, the statement notes.
During the search for the region’s most promising innovator, the first three episodes will focus on shortlisting innovations that revolve around the biomedical, ICT, energy and environment sectors, reflecting the region’s research priorities. Casting will culminate in a Majlis episode, which will feature the best and brightest applicants.
The nine selected candidates will compete against each other over the course of two newly introduced stages of the programme: the prototyping and customer validation rounds, which include a focus group of potential users.
Throughout their journey, innovators 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 finale, where they will earn a share of $600,000 of seed-funding after an online public vote and jury vote.
This season’s jurors are a group of science and business thought leaders that include Dr Ahmed K Elmagarmid, executive director, Qatar Computing Research Institute; Prof Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, president of the Euro-Mediterranean University and senior adviser to the Minister of Higher Education and Research in Egypt; as well as Dr Hosni Ghedira, head of the Chemical and Environmental Department of Masdar and director of its Research Centre for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment.
Aysha al-Mudahka, CEO of Qatar Business Incubation Centre, joins science adviser and executive director of the ESCWA Regional Centre for Technology, Prof Fouad Mrad, as a permanent juror. Khaled al-Jumaily, loyal contributor to the programme and its mission, will return as host.
Stars of Science will air every Saturday on MBC4 at 10pm local time, from September 17 until November 19.
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