x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Lack of interest in science and technology among young Emiratis

Young Emirati students can contribute to building a sustainable future in the UAE, says an official at the Emirates Foundation.

ABU DHABI // The Emirates Foundation has launched a new drive to get young Emiratis interested in careers in science and technology.

The Think Science programme encouraged students to design and develop science-based innovations. Now 170 projects have been selected for the programme's competition.

"In the UAE there is, tragically, a lack of interest in science and technology," said Clare Woodcraft, the foundation's chief executive. "I think for many students, it often comes across as extremely demanding and technically difficult."

The programme also aims to help link students with potential employers in the field through its Think Ambassadors project.

"We find that many young people aren't aware of the opportunity of working in the fields of science and technology," said Ms Woodcraft. "We want to help young people understand what they can do in those fields and spark interest. There's a misperception that this zone is inaccessible, so people shy away from it."

With Think Science Connect, students are also given the opportunity to interact with Emiratis already working in science and technology in the private sector.

"It's unfortunate when you see the number of young people interested in this in decline. That means the industry and academia need to do more to help them understand why it's so important, and that it doesn't have to be technologically overwhelming," she said.

"Oil, gas, and aerospace are all relevant for the future, and solutions to problems like climate change lie in science and technology."

About 4,000 people will gather on April 21 for the Think Science Connect platform. Winners of the competitions will also be announced.

cmalek@thenational.ae