Within two weeks of its launch, the Arab Space Pioneers programme drew an overwhelming 37,000 applications from creative talents, researchers and inventors across the Arab world.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the first-of-its-kind specialised training programme earlier in July in line with the UAE’s Hope probe launch to Mars in the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.
The programme, overseen by the UAE Space Agency, aims to build Arab expertise in space science and technologies and empower the region’s talents in the creative and scientific industry to practice their passion in space-related studies.
Registration is closed for the programme’s first round that attracted a whopping response two weeks after its launch. A specialised committee of scientists, researchers and thinkers will comprehensively evaluate applicants based on their qualifications and achievements in science and research and innovative skills that can be developed.
Egypt took the lead with 19,391 applications, followed by Iraq (6,447), Algeria (4,836), Morocco (3,107), UAE (692), Jordan (681), Palestine (422), Syria (406), Tunisia (370) and Saudi Arabia (361).
Participants in the Arab Space Pioneers programme will receive a number of benefits including a fully-covered three-year residency in the UAE, world-class specialised training in space science and technology, an opportunity to build advanced satellites in the UAE and access to scholarships and other financial incentives. Joining the programme also increases the opportunity to join teams of Emirati researchers, engineers and experts in a number of space projects.
The intensive programme combines theoretical and hands-on practical training by enabling participants to contribute to the UAE Space Agency’s present and future projects. On the long run, the programme aims to contribute to enriching the region’s growing space sector with a pool of young Arab experts and specialists equipped with the needed skills to lead in the new field.
The Arab Space Pioneers recorded high engagement on social media platforms and academic forums across the Arab world. HH Dr. Ahmed Belhoul, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said the overwhelming response to the Arab Space Pioneers programme confirms the importance of such innovative initiatives that respond to Arab youth’s aspirations.
The programme, he said, reflects the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to inspire, motivate and empower Arab youth to effectively lead the region’s scientific advancement. “Building youth capacities and talents reflects an investment in the growing vital sectors like space science and advanced technologies to increase contribution to the jobs knowledge-based economies. This long-term investment will strengthen the overall development of the Arab world.”
He added, “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.”