Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI) has further strengthened its partnership with Qatar Foundation’s (QF) popular edutainment reality TV show, Stars of Science – helping contestants take their innovative ideas to the next stage following the completion of the competition, and transforming them into viable start-ups.
Enhancing the existing level of collaboration, Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of QF RDI, has launched a special edition of its flagship accelerator program, XLR8, dedicated to the Season 11 contestants of Stars of Science. It commenced on February 17, and is geared toward helping aspiring entrepreneurs turn their ideas into products that have the potential to make a commercial impact.
Dr. Richard O'Kennedy, QF Vice President for Research, Development, and Innovation, said: "Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science is inspiring Arab youth and equipping them with the know-how and tools to innovate. “Extending our support to the contestants of this competition through expert mentorship, market-relevant guidance, and hands-on training is of key importance to QF RDI, because it is through such purposeful collaborations in science, technology, and innovation that we deliver impact across the nation and beyond." Over a period of two months, Stars of Science contestants participating in the XLR8 program will receive intensive training and mentorship under the supervision of leading mentors from Qatar and abroad, as they work on developing their ideas to the prototype stage.
Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, Executive Director, QSTP, said: “As an international hub for applied research, innovation, incubation, and technology entrepreneurship, QSTP’s XLR8 program provides a significant platform for great ideas to come to fruition. The exposure to an impressive network of expertise that XLR8 provides enables aspiring entrepreneurs to move ideas closer to commercial reality.
“We’re excited to host the special edition of XLR8, and welcome young entrepreneurs from Stars of Science who, through their impactful innovations, will go on to contribute to Qatar’s vision of developing a sustainable and diversified economy.”
More than 130 of the show’s alumni have raised $14 million in revenue, crowdfunding, and research grants, helping to cement Stars of Science position as a leading platform for innovation in Qatar and the region. QF RDI’s collaboration with Stars of Science began in 2015, which saw the seventh season of the show. Ever since, over 30 contestants have benefited from QF RDI’s Industrial Development, Intellectual Property, and Commercialization function that works towards transforming projects created with QF support into market-ready innovations. Building on this collaboration, QF RDI’s Intellectual Property office delivered an ‘Introductory IP Workshop’ for Stars of Science Season 11 contestants on February 14 at the Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas.
Abeer Al-Hammadi, Director of Innovation and Economic Development, QF RDI, said: “Our collaboration with Stars of Science goes beyond providing educational workshops for the contestants – we also provide subjective market and patentability assessment for each case. “The patentability analysis provides professional legal advice on how best to protect the idea, while the marketability analysis gives market screening overview for the inventors to know what companies are active in the market, what are the general trends within, in addition to other insights.”
Contestants interact closely with QF RDI’s commercialization team to understand the assessment output, and to receive guidance on how best to commercialize their technologies.
“On occasion, our relationship with the Stars of Science inventors continues after the end of their season, where we have provided guidance and consultations related to IP and sometimes licensing matters as needed,” says John McEntire, Director, Industry Development, IP & Commercialization, QF RDI.