Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science has undertaken several measures to continue filming Season 12, overcoming the difficulties presented by COVID-19 while ensuring the safety of contestants, jury members, experts, and filming crew.
And in this week’s episode – as international flights ground to a halt – jury members Professor Fouad Mrad and Professor Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry were forced to join remotely through video call. This unexpected change prompted Yosouf Al-Salehi, Qatar Science & Technology Park’s (QSTP) Executive Director and a former member of the show’s jury, to return to Stars of Science, joining the jury members to help instill an additional level of scrutiny on the contestants’ work.
“This crisis showed us the importance of investment in science and technology. QSTP’s leadership continues to pour resources into finding solutions that will help our communities combat the pandemic,” Al-Salehi said. “Stars of Science drives the promotion and retention of innovative talent while demonstrating the Arab World’s capacity to develop technologies that are increasingly critical in every industry.”
Before this week’s engineering prototyping episode, contestants were given four weeks to produce a fully functional prototype of the envisioned final product. Qatari participant Eiman Al-Hamad noted that she and her peers showed perseverance as they raced to complete their prototypes despite the obstacles that lay in their paths.
“Innovation is all about adapting, and we have shown our ability to do so,” said Al-Hamad. “Witnessing the constant flow of changes to the show, such as the introduction of remote critiques, is a surreal experience, yet that’s what makes our Stars of Science journey even more memorable.”
Abdulrahman Saleh Khamis, a finalist on Season 11 last year, joined the episode as a co-host. He shared his experiences as a former contestant and shed light on the importance of the engineering phase. Khamis’ innovation journey with his Smart Educational Prayer Rug, Sajdah, continued after Stars of Science with the selection of his invention for the technology-focused program at the QSTP Incubation Center, which aims to foster local tech entrepreneurship in the country.
Stars of Science will air every week on eight channels across the region, until the Grand Final episode on November 6, 2020, where the remaining contestants will compete for a share of a $600,000 prize in seed funding.