Research Matters

Qatar’s Young Scientists Excel at Virtual FameLab National Finals 2020

Qatar’s Young Scientists Excel at Virtual FameLab National Finals 2020

Qatar edition of international FameLab competition a platform to encourage nation’s science communicators

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) are important subjects to study as they help develop the critical thinking abilities, innovative capabilities, and problem-solving skills that are key to enabling future generations to drive sustainable development and economic growth. However, many students are intimidated by STEM subjects and find it difficult to explain some of the concepts they encounter within them.
Therefore, to encourage students to improve their scientific literacy and science communication skills, Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and the British Council brought the FameLab to Qatar in 2016. The aim was to identify exceptional science communicators and give the winners of the National Competition a chance to represent Qatar in the international finals at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom.
This year, nearly 300 students participated in the competition of which 21 made it to the National Finals, in both the student and adult categories. The Finals were held virtually for the first time due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, where contestants delivered their presentations online. Participants were judged on the quality of the scientific content of their presentation, clarity, and performance.
The 2020 Qatar FameLab National Winner Award went to Ahmed Al Maani from Qatar Science and Technology Secondary School, who will represent Qatar in the international finals in the UK. His presentation focused on human chimerism, an extremely rare genetic disorder where a person carries two different sets of DNA. Abdul Saboor Saeed from Qatar University won second place in the adult category.
In the student category, the first three places were won respectively by Ahmed Walid Rabiea from Doha Secondary School, Omar Mohammed from Al Zubara School, and Dalal Al Suwaidi from Al Bayan School.
Commenting on the importance of FameLab and developing science communication skills in students, Dr. Aisha Al-Obaidly, Capacity Building Director at QNRF, said: “One of the most important aspects of the work of our scientists and researchers is how they communicate it and its outcomes, especially at a time like this, when it must be ensured that simplified yet effective communication of complex scientific ideas is carried out for people’s safety. Nowadays, we are more than ever reminded of the importance of impactful science communication, which highlights how crucial it is to invest in the communication skills of our talented scientists and researchers.”
She further remarked: “Therefore, we join our partners every year to hold the FameLab National Competition to encourage our students to pursue their scientific passion and build their skills to be effective future science leaders and communicators.”

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