QATAR UNIVERSITY TEAM WINS THE GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY SPACE CHALLENGE 2022

This challenge was the first of its kind on a global scale

Qatar University (QU) held a closing ceremony on 17 November, in which the College of Business and Economics, and Metavisionaries announced winners of the Global Sustainability Space Challenge 2022.

The competition was organized alongside the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, with the aim of leveraging the momentum of the event, and is co-organized with global partners Metavisionaries, ICE Cubes, Space Applications Services, International Space University and Club of the Future founded by Blue Origin, and is supported locally by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) in Qatar. It is also sponsored by Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa), Blue Salon and Microsoft.

The competition organized by the College of Business and Economics at Qatar University in partnership with Metavisionaries brought together students from around the globe in the aim to come-up with innovative solutions that tackle pressing issues related to one or more areas of Sustainability Development Goals.

The closing ceremony was attended by Dr. Hassan bin Rashid Al Derham, President of Qatar University, Dr. Omar Al Ansari, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Qatari Businessmen Association, and Dr. Sheikha Hessa bint Hamad Al Thani, Dean of the College of Education and Dr. Rana Sobh, Dean of the College of Business and Economics, and professors of the College of Administration and Economics, in addition to many Qatar University affiliates and stakeholders.

During the honoring ceremony, a panel discussion entitled ‘Making the case for space economy’ was held, moderated by Dr. Rana Sobh, and presented by Dr. James Green, Dr. Jim Adam and Mr. Marcus Anzengruber; the panel discussion highlighted the importance of the space economy.

Multidisciplinary teams between the ages of 16 to 26 years attempted to tackle pressing sustainability issues related with SDGs and competed in five tracks: Climate Solutions Track (SDG 13), Sustainable Food & Agriculture Track (SDG 2), Life Science & Healthcare Track (SDG 3), Sustainable Consumption and Production Track (SDG 12), Sustainable Arts, Fashion & 3D Printing Track.

Dr. Hassan Al Dirham, President of Qatar University, “This initiative was a unique opportunity for students to learn about space and sustainability and challenged them to come-up with impactful entrepreneurial solutions that would help in addressing pressing sustainability issues on earth. Winning teams’ projects are impressive and impactful. We are very proud of our students who won in the climate action track. It is hoped that this competition will be the start of more opportunities for our students to be engaged in global efforts aiming to advance sustainability on earth.”

Dr. Omar Al Ansari, Vice President for Academic Affairs, said: "This competition is part of the university's efforts aiming to spread awareness about the issue of sustainability and build capacity to address it through various initiatives as well as enhancing curricula and encouraging scientific research that contributes to finding solutions to it. The fact that a team from Qatar University won over a large number of participants from different countries and universities in the climate change track is a testament to the high caliber of our students and their ability to contribute effectively in the global efforts talking sustainability challenges.”

Commenting on the competition, Prof. Rana Sobh, Dean of the College of Business and Economics said, “Business schools have a responsibility to shape the minds of future leaders that would make responsible and sensible decisions to shape the minds of future leaders and build the skills and attributes business school graduates will need to create a sustainable future for all. This is why I believe Business colleges should lead just initiatives”.

She added, “The ultimate goal from the competition is to find economically viable and scalable solutions that would help accelerate the global transition towards decarburization. But most importantly, and in the process, empower, educate, inspire future generations and shed light on the significance of tapping into the limitless resources of space”.

In the category of sustainable consumption and supply chain track, Egypt and Saudi Arabia team won. The project of this team was based on Se-Explores, Self-Deorbiting CubeSats. In which new passive mechanism was created to self-deorbiting CubeSats after finishing their active life in low earth orbit and reuse the re-entered material.

Sustainable Food and Agriculture track, team from Brazil won. The project of this team was based on Ocean Micro plastics. Micro plastics: determining the future of seafood production; by collecting satellite and land-based data related to micro plastic concentration and water properties, this project aims to create a prediction model for the concentration of micro plastics, fish quality, and production in different fishing areas, having as the main goal to improve the fish quality and quantity delivered to the world population.

In the category of Art, Fashion and 3D Technology track, team from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and USA won. The project of this team was based on 3D printing food in space. 3D Food printing allow creating nutritionally complete designs to keep the astronauts physically healthy, and allow to design custom meals inflight, combining personal needs with individually tailored nutrition design 3D edible sculptures would be stimulating and good for mental wellness.

In the category of Climate Change, two teams won. The projects of these team were based on Phytoplankton & CCS Station, whereas team from Egypt touched the Using Renewable energies as an alternative to fuel for plane topic and team from Qatar; the idea was simply is providing safe habitats for phytoplankton to benefit from oxygen they produce in increasing oxygen levels in atmosphere and they also monitor its health and status globally from space.

A team from Palestine, which was the winning team in the Life Science and Health Care track, was also identified as the winner of all winner. The project of this team was based on Particulate Matter Monitoring. Health Alert System, a device that reads pm2.5 particles and sends the data to an app working in cohesion with a satellite to plot concentration points on a map.

Prof. Rana Sobh, explained, “We will not stop here. This is just the start. Our aim is build an ecosystem that establishes the foundation of space economy. In fact, the challenge will be followed by establishing a Business Space Innovation Lab at the College of Business and Economics that would help create purpose driven and sustainable start-ups.”

Throughout their three-month journey, participants attended a series of webinars and a 48-hour hackathon. World-renowned space scientists, entrepreneurs and innovation experts. Over one thousand students registered, in the completion after its launch, eighty-nine teams from over 30 countries submitted their proposals and eighteen teams made it to the final stage and made their final pitch presentations last week. Presentations were attended by over 30 international and local judges from Qatar and Qatar University who scored and assessed their projects over sixteen criteria.

“What is unique about this competition is that participants had the opportunity to leverage space access, science and technology to come up with impactful solutions that would advance sustainability on earth. “Our ultimate goal with the Challenge is to empower students and to foster educational initiatives that give access to the new space economy and frontier technologies. It has been inspiring to be part of this journey, to see these young kinds pick up the mantle to solve the problems we are facing. I look forward to supporting this fantastic generation in building these sustainable solutions whilst building on space for earth utilization through our space innovation labs’, said Wasim Ahmed, CEO of Metavisionaries.

Jim Adam, one of the judges in the competition, former NASA’s Deputy Chief Technologist said: “The Global Space Sustainability Challenge, hosted at Qatar University, is making significant progress opening the beauty of space exploration to the entire world. All of the ideas generated here should inspire everyone from Students to Leaders to promote the peaceful uses of outer space to benefit all mankind”

It is noteworthy that this competition comes within the framework of the new vision of the College of Business and Economics that supports sustainable business practices and enhances students’ culture in working to find solutions to better manage our resources, whether at the local or global level.

About 1,000 students from 30 different countries around the world participated in this competition. And 18 projects were qualified for the finals, evaluated by 20 international and local judges, as a large number of workshops were offered to participating students on space, innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability, and the teams were mentored by the world's most renowned experts in a 48-hour hackathon.

Source: Qatar University

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