Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), is supporting the representation of five high school students from Qatar in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) 2019, currently being held in Budapest, Hungary.
Taking place from August 2-10, IOAA focuses on exceptional high school students, testing them in astronomy and related subjects, and, this year, it has brought together representatives from 40 different countries. 
The five local students were selected after a competitive screening process that took place at the annual Qatar Astro Olympiad competition – a part of the National Scientific Research Week held jointly by QNRF and MoEHE.  
The participating students are: Amna Laram and Sara Nabil from Qatar Secondary School for Girls; Aisha Mohamed Ali from Umm Ayman Secondary School for Girls; Salma Algamal from Alghowiriyah Secondary School for Girls and Abdelrahman Tasabhji, a student at Ali Bin Jassem Secondary School for Boys. 
Dr Aisha al-Obaidly, director of Capacity Building at QNRF, said, “QNRF is proud to sponsor the participation of these school students in this exciting international event so as to inspire and encourage them in continuing their interest in this field. We look forward to these students becoming Qatar’s leading experts in astronomy and astrophysics in the future who may one day contribute to breakthroughs in global applications and knowledge in the field.”
Dr Asmaa al-Muhannadi, head of Scientific Research Skills team at MoEHE, said, “In recent years we have noticed that students are taking an increased interest in space sciences – such as the study of satellites and communications-related fields, astronomy, and physics. 
In preparation for the IOAA 2019, these students received special training on conducting measurements, solving mathematical problems, and using telescopes and other astronomical instruments. I am glad to see our students’ continuous interest in this increasingly important field, and wish them luck at this year’s Olympiad.”
Launched in 2007, in Thailand, the Olympiad aims to inspire the next generation of astronomers by encouraging them to study the subject at university level. The competition consists of four stages, including a theoretical exam, a data analysis exam, an observational exam, and a team competition. Qatar was the first Arab team to participate in IOAA in 2016, and has been participating every year since.
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