Abu Dhabi, UAE: The UAE will focus on training Emirati men and women in the space sector by establishing educational competitions, workshops, activities and summer camps for students in the UAE and abroad.
The country’s first academic space programme was also launched on Monday by the Space Agency, in partnership with Yahsat, the Masdar Institute and ATK Orbital.
“We started talking to the Ministry of Education and the Abu Dhabi Education Council to find out how to inject into their curriculum some space subjects that will hopefully inspire some students studying science and technology,” said Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, the agency’s director general.
“They might go study or build a career in space. We want to create a research and development environment in the UAE because space is a great asset for innovation. So it is our objective to create that environment.”
This year, 20 students will be selected to travel, overseas and in the UAE, in partnership with the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and the Information and Communication Technology Fund.
“The scholarship programme, to be established this year, will send 15 students abroad, 10 undergraduates and five master’s in space, and we will sponsor five to 10 local students within the UAE,” Dr Al Ahbabi said.
“We hope we will increase that number and … build capacity. We first need to identify where are the best universities in the world. Then we will create an educational strategy to see whether we will focus on communication, navigation or remote sensing, so we have to see what is a priority within five to 10 years.”
Summer camps will start this year.
“We recently visited Nasa and met with its administrator who is very interested in the UAE space programme,” he said. “Nasa is also focusing on education. They have about 10 or 11 centres … and one of them is mainly for education. They’re open for our students to be sent.”
The agency is using the Mars mission to attract young people.
“The UAE is proud of this project,” he said. “People are very excited and interested in the space programme and this is a good sign for us that we have support from our community and understanding why we are doing this.”
© The National
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