Dh250,000 funding up for grabs for student innovators in UAE

Sarwat Nasir /Dubai
Filed on February 18, 2019 | Last updated on February 18, 2019 at 05.39 pm
Dh250,000 funding up for grabs for student innovators in UAE

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Students whose projects are shortlisted will present their pitch to a judging panel at the show.

UAE students now have the opportunity to be granted a Dh250,000 funding for their inventions and breakthrough ideas at this year's Innovation Arabia.

This is the first time that funding opportunities from private companies are being offered for student-built projects during the annual event.

The 12th edition of Innovation Arabia will be held at the World Trade Centre from February 25 to February 28, organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU), in partnership with Index.

The chancellor of the HBMSU, Dr Mansoor Al Awar, told Khaleej Times that around seven partner companies will be providing the fund that can help the students in launching their products into the market.

Students whose projects are shortlisted will present their pitch to a judging panel at the show.

"If a project gets chosen, they'll contribute Dh250,000, per company. I encourage all researchers, especially students at master's and PhD levels, and all universities in the GCC region to participate. This is a golden opportunity for them to test their prototypes," Dr Al Awar said.

Eight projects by students from the HBMSU will also be on display during the event. Dr Shaima Mahmoud Al Harmoodi, assistant professor at the university, said a number of their undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students will be presenting their products at Innovation Arabia.

"These students have taken courses in entrepreneurship, so they went through the process of design conceptualisation and product development. Some of them have tangible products and others are still in the idea stage, but they are well shaped and ready to be developed and commercialised for the market," she said.

"One of these ideas is of an app for a smart grocery system, where customers can scan products at a store using the app and pay right away through their credit cards as they scan. Another project is called 'Barber on Wheels', which is an app where you can go through different hairstyles, choose one, and a barber will then come to your house to style your hair."

This year, Innovation Arabia will be held under four parallel tracks, such as quality and business management, health and environment, smart learning, and artificial intelligence. A series of panel discussions on these subjects will be held. Leading brands will also be showcasing how their advanced technologies and solutions are creating new opportunities for businesses to grow in these four tracks.

The main keynote speaker will be Marc Sanz Lopez, head of Google for Education for South of Europe, Middle East and North Africa, and he will present a lecture titled 'Will Schools Exist 50 years from now?'


Encouraging innovation

Funding student-built projects in addition to encouraging youngsters to think out of the box will see those becoming innovators - a pre-requisite as the world moves through the fourth revolution which in due course will fundamentally alter the way we work, live and interact with one another. Such funds also help students gain a broader perspective on the research being carried out, thus helping the community at large.

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