A project to attract the brightest Arab scientists, inventors and researchers to work in the space sector has seen a rush of applications within two weeks.
A total of 37,000 people from the region applied to join Arab Space Pioneers - a three-year intensive training programme based in the Emirates.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the initiative this month as the UAE prepared to launch the Hope probe launch to Mars.
Arab Space Pioneer trainees will work on current space projects with the opportunity to graduate into jobs in a growing space sector.
More applications came from Egypt than any other country, with 19,391 applicants to the www.arabstospace.com website.
That was followed by Iraq (6,447), Algeria (4,836), Morocco (3,107), the UAE (692), Jordan (681), Palestine (422), Syria (406), Tunisia (370) and Saudi Arabia (361).
Registration is now closed for the first round. A committee of scientists, researchers and other experts will evaluate applicants based on their qualifications, achievements and skills potential.
Ahmad Al Falasi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said the project "reflects an investment in the growing vital sectors like space science and advanced technologies".
"This long-term investment will strengthen the overall development of the Arab world," he said.
"The scientific momentum that the Arab Space Pioneers programme has created in its first round helps transform the underlying creative talents in the Arab world into on-ground scientific achievements."
Trainees in the Arab Space Pioneers programme will receive a number of benefits including a fully-covered three-year residency in the UAE, an opportunity to build advanced satellites and access to scholarships and other financial incentives.
Admission to the programme also increases the opportunity to join teams of Emirati researchers, engineers and experts in a number of space projects.
The intensive course combines theoretical and hands-on practical training by enabling participants to contribute to the UAE Space Agency’s present and future projects. In the long run, it aims to ensure the growing space sector has a pool of young Arab experts and specialists equipped with the right skills.
“We strive to prepare the next generation of Arab astronomers and space scientists as part of our wider mission to revive the Arab civilisation’s status in the scientific sphere," Sheikh Mohammed said earlier this month.