Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
7Format: Caption Text: @Caption:Fatima Ahmad Al Hammadi, 16, at Aticís summer school on microtechnology.
Silvia Razgova / The National
7Format: Caption Text:  @Caption:Fatima Ahmad Al Hammadi, 16, at Aticís summer school on microtechnology.

Summer school inspires students to a future in microchip industry

The school, which started last Sunday, has 80 students aged between 14 and 18, and is run in association with the American University of Sharjah.

ABU DHABI // Emirati students are being schooled to lead the country's charge into the lucrative global microchip industry.

The Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic) is running an intensive, three-week summer school to inspire young nationals to enter the field.

The school, which started last Sunday, has 80 students aged between 14 and 18, and is run in association with the American University of Sharjah.

It is hoped some will work in the emirate's first microchip plant, which is due to open in 2015. Atic, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, aims to eventually have 550 Emirati staff.

Amna Al Mansouri, 14, from the Australian School in Abu Dhabi, signed up to find out more about the industry, which is a major part of diversifying the emirate's economy away from hydrocarbons.

"We're learning so much that we wouldn't learn in school, like the technologies we'll have by 2020," Amna said. "It opens many more doors for us."

Topics include mobile phone and smartphone technology, microelectronics in medical technology and practical tasks such as building radios.

Last year, about 25 students attended the summer school. Two have since gone on to study microelectronics at the American University of Sharjah on full scholarships from Atic.

Khalifa Al Naqbi, 17, is in his final year at Al Ittihad Model High School. Instead of accepting a scholarship to study in the US this summer, he thought the school would help him decide what to do next.

"I know the company [Atic] needs locals so I think these three weeks will help me learn about the company, what it needs, and what it will expect from us," Khalifa said.

He said it was likely he would go to university abroad, focusing on microelectronics or alternative energy, both of which are priority areas for Abu Dhabi.

"It's given us a really good idea of what we'd be studying, as well as giving us the history of the industry and showing us how semiconductors relate to the development of Abu Dhabi," he said.

Dr Lutfi Albasha, the American University of Sharjah lecturer who is running the course, said: "They come out familiar with the processes and the industry. They are more familiar with engineering, especially in this field, which is so advanced and one in which things change every day."

Abu Dhabi Polytechnic, founded last year, will take its first 160 higher diploma students in September, guaranteeing well-paid jobs with Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and Atic.

Atic is also running a summer internship programme at the Globalfoundries microchip plants in Singapore and Dresden.

This year, the project's third, 56 Emirati students are nearing the end of their internship. Six of last year's interns are now working in Dresden, gaining experience for a future in Abu Dhabi.

The interns are taken from the Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE University, the American University of Sharjah and Khalifa University, and others studying abroad.

Dr Robert Yung, the chief technology officer at the US microelectronics company Tessera, spoke at the summer school on the history of the technology.

Dr Yung said it was vital for Abu Dhabi to invest in its young.

"The earlier you engage the students, then the amount they learn grows exponentially," he said, adding it was unheard of for such a young nation to be formulating such a long-term plan to develop an industry.

Dr Mahbub Gani, a lecturer in electrical engineering at King's College London, said the programme was a bold step, but added: "You must also incentivise that talent once it's been nurtured and developed, so you have the retention that's necessary for that growth."

Hanan Harhara, a spokeswoman for Atic, said: "We follow up with all the students, trying to engage them with events and workshops we have."

mswan@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

What Star Wars fans say is going on in Abu Dhabi’s desert

We may still not know exactly what The National caught pictures of in the Abu Dhabi desert last week, but the online community has had plenty to say. Here are some of the best bits.

 Courtesy Al Ittihad

Time frame: It’s all going swimmingly

Built on what was originally a public park, Ain Al Faida - the flowing source - became one of the country’s first resort hotels when it opened in the mid 1970s.

 The iconic Kingdom Tower project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Above ground work is set to begin on the tower which is expected to be taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Rendering courtesy EC Harris/Mace

Saudi’s Kingdom Tower set to go skywards as it aims for world’s tallest building tag

Above ground construction work due to start next week in Jeddah, after months of testing and preparation work.

 Jia Ruhan sang as a guest singer in famous pianist Robert Wells's concert 'rockabilly-medley' in November 2012. Handout

Meet the pop star who is key to China’s superpower ambitions

Before Beijing can achieve its ambitions to be a superpower it will need to become a respected soft power. That's where Jia Ruhan comes in.

 Screen shot from Vin Deisel's facebook page of he and Michelle Rodriguez in Abu Dhabi for the filming of Fast & Furious 7. April 2014

Fast & Furious in Abu Dhabi, a social media frenzy

Fast & Furious 7 wraps up an eventful and much-anticipated week of filming in the capital. Let's take a look at what went on via the key players' social media, while they were enjoying the delights of the desert.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National