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Qatar award to inspire region’s innovators
Haya H Al Muhannadi
/ Categories: In the Media

Qatar award to inspire region’s innovators

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Silatech and Qatar National Research Fund have launched a new initiative to engage the region’s innovators and to provide them with a forum to explore solutions that could directly benefit the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“Challenge 22” is an innovation award “which will help unite, inspire and challenge the region’s brightest minds and build a lasting legacy in the Middle East by nurturing and developing promising ideas”, officials said at a function at the Four Seasons Hotel yesterday.
Speaking about the opportunities the initiative will provide, SC secretary general Hassan al-Thawadi said: “We’re extremely proud to launch Challenge 22 and invite people across the region to think big and come up with inventive solutions to the challenges associated with hosting major sporting events.
“The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is more than a tournament; it’s an opportunity for us to build a legacy that supports the entire region. By recognising and supporting emerging talent, we hope to inspire the next generation of innovators from the Middle East. Through this initiative, innovators can develop practical solutions to real world challenges.”  
Challenge 22 is seeking applicants within the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), with solution-based proposals related to three key themes that address challenges related to hosting major sporting events. The three themes for the inaugural launch of the award are Sustainability, Event Experience and Sports and Health.
Challenge 22 comes with a range of ambassadors, all leaders in innovation. They include Kuwaiti entrepreneur  Areej al-Kharafi, Qatari sports anchor Mohamed Saadon al-Kuwari and renowned Emirati animator Mohamed Saeed Harib who holds the distinction as the first 3D cartoon animator from the Middle East.
These ambassadors will introduce Challenge 22 to the region.
Silatech CEO Dr Tarik Yousef said: “Challenge 22 will shine a light on some of the extraordinary talents and outstanding minds of our region, enhancing innovation and serving as a platform to catalyse future breakthroughs.”
Successful applicants of Challenge 22 will be provided with a professional mentor network made up of research, academic and business leaders that will assist them in taking their ideas from proposal to proof of concept, with the ultimate aim of potential commercialisation. Winning teams will also receive prizes of $20,000  to develop their ideas to the proof of concept stage.
QNRF executive director Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie said: “By investing in cutting edge-research, QNRF is enhancing a culture that supports Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development on its mission to build Qatar’s innovation and technology capacity, to help the nation develop into a hub of research excellence. “
“Challenge 22 therefore provides a tremendous opportunity for innovators in Qatar and the region to showcase their talents, while contributing solutions to the success of the region’s first FIFA World Cup games in Qatar in 2022.”
Dr al-Taie said Challenge 22 would be an on-going initiative. “While the first edition will be open to GCC participants, at a later stage, Challenge 22 will accept submissions from all around the Arab world.”
Mahmoud Qutub, the SC’s executive director for Strategic Development and Assurance, emphasised Challenge 22’s role in creating a tangible legacy for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.
 “The benefits we will see from Challenge 22 will go beyond the tournament in 2022 and will prove a lasting legacy in social, human and economic development in Qatar and the region.”
The deadline to submit a proposal is March 3, 2015. There will be a screening phase, and successful applicants will be invited to submit a more comprehensive proposal at a later date. For more information about Challenge 22 and the application process, please visit www.challenge22.qa
The SC is the organisation responsible for delivering the infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup while creating a lasting legacy for Qatar and the region.
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