Young Arabs chosen for UAE’s Space Pioneers Programme

Ten teenagers have been selected as part of the programme's first cycle

Ten young Arabs have been chosen to take part in the UAE's Space Pioneers Programme.

Through the initiative, the winners will be offered scholarships in space-related studies or an opportunity to build their knowledge through training.

More than 37,000 applications were submitted when the competition was announced last summer.

They included applications from Iraq, Algeria, Morocco, the UAE, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and chairwoman of UAE Space Agency, said: “The Arab Space Pioneers Programme identifies the most competent Arab scientific talent, and works with them to translate their passion for space sciences into reality, develop their ideas through providing specialised training, and thereby, contribute to strengthening the Arab space sector.”

The programme was designed to empower Arab pupils who are interested in studying space sciences and to encourage them to pursue a science, technology, engineering and maths focused education.

Three pupils will receive scholarships in space science and technology studies. They are Maria Muhammad from the Comoros Islands, Muhammad Jawad from Syria, and Asmaa Al Mismari from Saudi Arabia.

They can work towards a master's or doctoral degree from UAE University and receive training at space research and development centres and laboratories.

Seven others, who have been categorised as talented pupils, will receive guidance as they take on careers in space fields.

Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director-general of UAE Space Agency, said the programme will offer young people intensive training.

“The programme nurtures a team of aspiring and competent young people, meticulously selected from across the UAE and the wider Arab region, to reinforce their skills and contribute to the UAE’s efforts to shape a space ecosystem in the country,” he said.

The programme is split into three categories. The Student Track offers scholarships and training in UAE labs and universities, and the Talent Track helps youth learn more about space.

Scientists, specialists and professionals in space-related fields fall into the Expert Track. They are chosen to help support the designing and developing satellites, processing space data and assist in other projects.

UAE landmarks light up for UAE's mission to Mars - in pictures