515 undergraduate students from various disciplines in universities across the UAE are working around the clock to have their research papers ready for submission by 2nd of May for the second annual “United Arab Emirates Undergraduate Student Research Competition (UGSRC)”. Held under the patronage of H.E Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahayan, the UAE’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the competition is part of a comprehensive strategy designed and implemented by Abu Dhabi University to highlight the importance of encouraging undergraduate students to undertake scientific research endeavors. In its second year, the nationwide competition which is sponsored by Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP), Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO), and Dolphin Energy, also aims to showcase, recognize, and promote outstanding student research conducted at any higher educational institution in the UAE, and provide participants with the opportunity of presenting their results at a ceremony scheduled to be held on Abu Dhabi University campus on 22nd of May 2014.
Commenting on the overwhelming response the competition has received from students so far, Dr. Nabil Ibrahim Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University said: “Although it is still in its second year, submissions to the United Arab Emirates Undergraduate Student Research Competition (UAE-UGSRC) quadrupled from 62 last year to 248 research abstract submissions this year. Abu Dhabi University students alone are participating with around 67 research projects. This boost in the number of submissions speaks volumes about the importance of scientific research and its reality as a building block vital to the transformation of the UAE into a knowledge-based economy. It also fits perfectly with Abu Dhabi University’s new 5 year strategic plan 2014 -2019 that identifies research as one of the University’s growth strategies.”
Dr. Ibrahim pointed out that perhaps one of the key indicators of the UAE-UGSRC’s success in enhancing students’ critical and analytical thinking, is the interest it has garnered from different business and industry partners, including: the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP), Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) and Dolphin Energy. “With undergraduate students from 21 universities from across the United Arab Emirates participating in the competition, I believe that the UAE-UGSRC will act as a window into the near future, allowing us all the unique opportunity to bear witness to the development of some of the regions most brilliant young minds. These students are the key players who will lead the march towards the future progress and growth of their respective nations,” concluded Dr. Ibrahim.
Elaborating on the scope of the nation-wide competition, Director of Undergraduate Student Research at Abu Dhabi University, Dr. Sherine Farouk said: “Student research is learning at its best. It exemplifies a creative, captivating, and challenging process that allows students to experience firsthand the process of scholarly exploration that characterizes academic life. So far, we have received research abstracts covering engineering, natural sciences, health and humanities, information technology, business administration, arts and sciences, and education. Once all research projects are submitted, a panel of expert judges will shortlist them and qualify projects for the final presentation during which a specialized committee composed of professors and experts from various universities and industries will pick 22 winning teams. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd winners in each category of the competition will be awarded 10,000 AED, 6,000 AED, and 4,000 AED respectively.”
The second annual “United Arab Emirates Undergraduate Student Research Competition” accepts research in Engineering including: Architecture and Urban Planning, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Project and Engineering Management, and Chemical Engineering. As well as Business Administration in: Accounting/ Finance, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Human Resources Management, Management, Management Information Systems, and Marketing. While research projects in Arts and Social Sciences can cover: Mathematics, Public Relations and Mass Communications, Psychology, Sociology and Statistics. Furthermore, in Information Technology research projects can be in Artificial Intelligence Applications and Mobile Applications. While research in Education can cover Instructional Technologies, Gifted and Special Needs, and the Natural and Health Sciences category includes Energy, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Health and Safety, Occupational Health, and Public Health.