Students with their internship reports with staff members of the Gulf Medical University.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
A programme for high school students looking forward to becoming scientists with a strong foundation in the field of research will be opening up its second cycle this academic year 2019-2020.
The Gulf Today learnt about this as the Gulf Medical University (GMU) located in Ajman announced on Saturday the completion of the first cycle with 16 young scientists from the Gems International Schools romping off with their individual certificates at the end of a two-year-long weekend research internship from mentors of the first private medical school in the UAE established in 1998.
Known as the “GMU Future Scientists of the UAE” initiative, the programme was started in Jan. 2018 in compliance with the “strategic initiatives of the UAE Emirates Council of Scientists launched by the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, with the aim of creating a conducive environment for innovation and scientific research in the country,” according to GMU chancellor Prof. Hossam Hamdy.
The UAE Emirates Council of Scientists, chaired by Minister of State for Advanced Sciences Sara Al Amiri, also the Emirates Mars Mission deputy project manager, is composed of 10 other members. It has seven functions namely “to propose policies that will create a nurturing environment for innovation and scientific research to help build a generation of Emirati scientists in all fields; to provide scientific advice on issues referred to by the Cabinet; to nurture research and development; to foster cooperation among research and scientific entities in (the) government and private sector; to develop partnership with local and international entities to share knowledge and expertise; to encourage expertise knowledge among scientific talents in science and technology; and (to deliver) other tasks mandated by the Cabinet or the Prime Minister.”
The first batch of graduates from the Grades 9 to 12 of the various Gems schools across the country had qualified through a rigorous admissions process.
Gems College & Career Counselling Worldwide associate director Dr Kierstan Connors said: “For our students, this has been a lifetime experience of research, learning and curiosity.”
“This is our first 16 (through our collaboration with GMU). I have received 10 student or parent inquiry and request about it (since the programme began last year.”
The “graduation ceremonies” or distribution of the certificates to the 16 were held on June 15.
Hamdy and GMU-Research vice chancellor Prof. Salem Chouaib shared their viewpoints on the value of inculcating among the youth the importance and significance of research.
Hamdy said: “Usually research is introduced very late during the learning process. However, learning takes place through research and socialisation, and it is important to embed the learner in the environment at the earliest possible stage. There will be subsequent batches.”
“One of the important missions of GMU is to help students discover the world of research and help them become (individuals) generating knowledge, rather than mere knowledge consumers,” stated Chouaib.
The 16 attended a series of lectures conducted by the university research scientists, professors and clinicians particularly those at the Thumbay Research Institute for Precision Medicine. They were required to submit and present results of their experiments-cum-research projects.
Rosemary Wolley said: “This programme let me realise the importance of research in the scientific community. It has made me excited for the future discoveries in cancer research. I hope to become a research scientist someday. I hope I can contribute (something worthwhile).”
Varsha Bijali scheduled to become a freshman medical student this academic year 2019-2020 was grateful for her close collaboration with “leading professors of biochemistry and cancer-cell biology because this gave me the perfect opportunity to understand the field of Medicine beyond its academics.”
Adithya Mathew said: “I was looking into a career in science, before enrolling in this programme. This programme has given me valuable theoretical and practical knowledge that is not only helping me in school; but will also help me in the future. My love for science and research has increased ten-fold. It is indeed a learning experience.”
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