Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Qatar Reality Show for Science & Technology Grant Money

Well, this is definitely not Jersey Shore. Qatar Foundation has an interesting reality show, Stars of Science, where the winner gets the grant money for science-related projects! Season 2 ended at the end of last November and the season finale was watched by millions. From Science:
Sixteen researchers out of 7000 applicants were relocated to custom laboratories in Doha, where they worked on their projects for months as the cameras rolled. The top prize, a $300,000 grant, went to Sadek Qassim, a 26-year-old chemical engineer from Kuwait, for his “Alchemist,” an automated system for testing petroleum samples. Three runners-up—swimming goggles that record real-time physiological data, a motorized walker for the elderly, and a versatile robotic joint—received smaller grants.
The deadline for Season 3 was on December 15th, 2010. If you are thinking about it, try next year.

Here is the program concept:
Following an international recruitment campaign, and a dynamic three-step selection process that includes a Pan Arab casting tour in 8 countries (Egypt / KSA / Jordan / Lebanon / Morocco / Qatar / Tunisia / UAE), 16 young women and men of Arab origin, from different academic and professional backgrounds, are selected by a Pan Arab jury and given the chance to develop their own innovation project. This first stage (casting and final selection) will be the subject of Prime-time episodes 1 to 3.
The selected candidates are then invited to enter a specially-designed workshop, located in the heart of Qatar Science and Technology Park, in Doha, where they will have access to an array of state-of-the art resources as well as the support of top professionals.
After an inaugural session dedicated to motivation and personal development activities (Prime-time Episode 4), the 16 hopefuls will take part of a competition in successive rounds, each of them corresponding to a key stage of the innovation process:
  • Proof of Concept (Prime time Episode 5, in which 10 candidates out of the 16 are selected to the next phase)
  • Product Engineering (Prime time Episode 6, in which 6 candidates out of the 10 are selected to the next phase)
  • Design (Prime-time Episode 7, in which 5 candidates out of the 6 candidates are selected to the next phase)
  • Business & Marketing (Prime-time Episode 8, in which 4 out of the 5 candidates are selected as winners to be ranked in the Grand Finale)
Throughout the above-mentioned rounds, the evaluation of the candidates as well as of their projects and their selection is performed by juries specific to each stage of the competition, composed of permanent members and guest experts.
The 10 candidates selected out of the “Proof of Concept” phase are allowed to bring a “project partner” of their choice, helping them to develop their projects.
The 4 candidates and projects still in competition after the “Business & Marketing” phase will face during a Live Finale (Prime-time Episode 9) full of surprises, in which they will launch their product.
A grand jury present on stage and the TV viewers, through SMS and telephone, will decide on the final ranking and the granting of prizes totaling 600,000 $:
  • 1st prize:     300,000 $
  • 2nd prize:    150,000 $
  • 3rd prize:     100,000 $
  • 4th prize:     50,000 $
Daily Episodes, starting from the “Proof of Concept” phase, will give an insight on the candidate’s activities and their personalities.
 Check out the website for Stars of Science here. This also fits nicely with Nidhal's earlier posts about Awards for Arab Female Scientists and the discovery of an extrasolar planet let by a Qatari astronomerDr. Khalid Al-Subai. 


Semaphore said...

Hi Salman,

Once I found out about Evolution, I started questioning my faith as a Muslim and became a Non-Muslim. I started looking at Carl Sagan and Dawkins videos as well, and found them interesting.

I had never read the Quran until some months ago, and once I did read it I was surprised by what I saw in there. There were too many contradictions, too many inhumane verses, and a lot more verses in there that really surprised me (IMPORTANT: no offense but I'm talking about the LITERAL Quran of course if one interepret's the Quran metaphorically then one can make up whatever interpretation one wants and make Islam look good). Okay, so it's not just Evolution, but it's also the Quran, and Hadiths (the authentic ones).

I found your site by searching "Evolution and Islam", and watched your webcasts. I'd be interested in knowing how you interpret the Quran to accept evolution. The vast majority of Muslims disagree unfortunately, and that's because evolution contradicts the Quran. Read http://answering-Christianity.com/evolution.htm to see proof of how evolution contradicts Islam. The reason I'm asking you is because my family is Muslim of course (although they are non-practicing), but they don't believe in evolution and don't like me talking about it.

Salman Hameed said...


Several people have asked this question in the past couple of weeks, and I will have a post on this issue on Friday. But in short, I think there is a broad range of ways in which people interpret the Qur'an and how they create their personal religion. There are certainly ways to incorporate evolution within a Muslim(and other religions as well) framework. I will have more to say on it on Friday. Thanks for your comment.

Atif Khan said...

Glad to know you Semaphore. Sagan was great.

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