Three Emirati scientists to join the World Economic Forum’s Young Scientists Community

Sunday 27 September 2015
Professor Ali Al Naqbi

Dubai - MENA Herald: The UAE Government today announced the selection of three UAE innovators as members of the World Economic Forum’s Young Scientists Community, regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious scientific societies.

The Young Scientists Community has selected 50 members and scientists from around the world, including Professor Ali Al Naqbi, Associate Professor, Acting Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and Chair of the Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Habiba Al Safar, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of Khalifa University Center for Biotechnology (KUCEB), and the first Emirati to work on genetic mapping for the prevention and early detection of diabetes; and Sarah Amiri, Deputy Project Manager of the planned UAE Mars mission, and Emirates Mars Mission Science Team Lead at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

The selection of the three Emiratis to the prestigious global scientific community highlights the nation’s success under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The UAE leadership places the highest emphasis on advancing science and education, promoting scientific research and supporting promising talents to achieve remarkable achievements and innovations. The selection of the three UAE scientists was based on their valuable contributions in their respective fields and the scientific community at large as well as the quality of their work.

The Young Scientists Community was established in 2008. It represents the future of science leadership by bringing together the most forward-thinking and advanced scientific minds in the world. The scientists are selected from all regions and across a wide range of disciplines.

The nominees are pioneers with a proven track record of advancing the frontiers of science, engineering or technology in areas of high societal impact, and are under the age of 40. During their careers, they have exhibited exceptional creativity, thought leadership and high growth potential. Emphasis is placed on individuals with a demonstrated commitment to public service in line with World Economic Forum’s vision. The membership will be for 2 years and renewed annually.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum honoured Professor Ali Al Naqbi by presenting him with the UAE Pioneers medal for being the first Emirati to discover a bio-artificial liver device in the world known as Emirates EmLAD that has been tested in the laboratory.

Prof. Al Naqbi said that the leadership of the UAE spares no effort to support and inspire scientists and innovators. He said that the selection of the Emirati scientists for membership in the Young Scientists Community reflects the continuous support by the nation’s leadership to establish the UAE as a leading center for innovation.

He urged the young people of the UAE to specialize in science and engineering that will shape the future of the world, adding that innovation in services and manufacturing is an important and essential part of the future of the UAE. He said that his selection as a member of the Young Scientists Community will add to the experience and further strengthen the spirit of innovation among the students of the UAE University.

Dr. Habiba Al Safar has been recognized as one of the most powerful women in the Arab world, led by her research that focuses on identifying the genomes responsible for the spread of Diabetes Type I and II, one of the most common diseases in the UAE.

In 2014, Dr. Habiba Al Safar received a L’Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship Award for Women in Science at a special recognition ceremony held at Zayed University. She has also received the first Emirates International Award for Genetic Diseases Prevention in the category of Best Scientific Researcher.

Dr. Habiba Al Safar said she is delighted and proud to be selected as a member of the Young Scientists Community, and it is great responsibility towards the UAE and society, especially as excellence and innovation requires continued efforts. She added that her achievement in the field of genetic science is the result of the support of the UAE leadership that is keen to empower women to become active partners in advancing and development.

Sarah Amiri leads the team developing the UAE Mars mission’s scientific objectives, goals, instrumentation and analysis programmes. She is currently expanding the team through collaboration with national universities and international institutions. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the American University of Sharjah

Sarah Amiri said that the UAE government's efforts to support national talents to enable them to take up leadership positions in innovation and its initiatives to motivate scientists and innovators are key factors in the selection of Emirati scientists for membership in the prestigious international group.

She added that her selection as a member of the Young Scientists Community will contribute to promoting the UAE project to explore Mars as the first Arab project of its kind. This underlines the keenness of the UAE on the development of science, research, and innovation.

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