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Ahmed Al Maani of QSTS School named FameLab national winner

Ahmed Al Maani of QSTS School named FameLab national winner

Ailyn Agonia
DOHA
Ahmed Al Maani from the Qatar Science and Technology Secondary (QSTS) School bagged the first place in the Adults category of the fifth FameLab National Competition in Qatar that was held virtually on Monday. Maani, who will represent Qatar at the international finals at Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK, was among the 21 finalists who presented during the event.
FameLab is a competition for scientific communication where the participants present a scientifically-proven idea to the general public audience in just three minutes. It was initiated by Cheltenham Science Festivals in the UK and brought to Qatar by the British Council in partnership with Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF). The initiative is supported by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
The participants in FameLab are divided into two categories: Students (school students from 15 years old), and Adults (including teachers and researchers). Nearly 300 participants took part in this year’s competition, and the 21 participants who made it to the finals received intensive Science Communication training from qualified science communicators from the UK.
Commenting on his journey to success, Maani said, “The FameLab experience is one of the most beautiful experiences in my life; I got to know friends and learned new information. Most importantly, I gained an important lesson in life, that you have to persevere and try to reach your goal. I participated for three years in a row and finally succeeded and achieved my goal and became the National Qatar Finalist for 2019/2020 ... Thanks FameLab!”
In the Adults category, Abdul Saboor Saeed from Qatar University won the second place.
In the Students category, Ahmed Walid Rabiea from Doha Secondary secured the first place, while Omar Mohammed from Al Zubara Boys School and Dalal Al Suwaidi from Al Bayan Secondary School for Girls won second and third places, respectively.
British Council Qatar
Director Sam Ayton expressed her excitement at the strength of the participation in the competition this year, adding that the event has been growing year on year.
“It is not just the pursuit of science but it’s also the communication of science that’s really important. The last few months, with the pandemic across the world, have shown more than ever that where sciences communicate well, science will thrive. And so, it is really important for us to support scientific communities to communicate well in order they can influence public support, policy decisions and public funding,” said Ayton.
“In an era of increasing fake news and, in some areas of the world, a disconnect between public opinion and scientific consensus, it is very important for us to work with countries like Qatar where we can celebrate science communication and promote talents. That is why we are doing FameLab. It is an important part of cultural relationship between the UK and Qatar,” the official added.
Ayton also lauded the outstanding collaboration of British Council Qatar with its strategic partner QNRF and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
Dr Aisha Al Obaidly, Capacity Building director at QNRF, stressed the importance of the competition in enhancing the communication skills of local scientists and talents. She reiterated the relevance of effective communication of scientific ideas, especially in this time of pandemic. “Researchers and scientists across the world are busy working to find the cure to and mitigate the impact of coronavirus. One of the most important aspects of the work of our scientists is how they communicate its outcome especially at a time like this when it must be ensured that simplified and effective communication of complex scientific ideas is carried out for the safety of people,” Obaidly said.
QNRF Executive Director Dr Abdul Sattar Al Taie stated, “Every year, this competition stimulates and inspires the budding future generations of scientists and researchers and trains them to be charismatic and effective science communicators.

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