The latest winner of QF's innovation TV show was revealed in a dramatic Grand Final on Friday night.
Three contestants, three inventions, and three dreams all advanced to the Grand Final of Stars of Science Season 11 in brilliant style.
With their ideas, the three finalists in Qatar Foundation’s innovation TV show have inspired in the minds of young people the ambition of embarking on a journey of scientific innovation. But as their journey came to an end on Friday night, only one of the contestants would be able to take home the prize and become the next top Arab Innovator. The question on everyone’s lips was: who would that be?
In the months leading to the final episode, Youssef El Azouzi, Abdulrahman Saleh Khamis, and Nuha Abu Yousef have all worked on innovations that impressed both the Stars of Science jury members and the audience. Abu Yousef’s innovation offers a less invasive surgery alternative for Bell’s palsy patients to help them regain control of their upper and lower eyelids.
Khamis has invented of the Smart Educational Prayer Rug, helping to reinvigorate tradition by providing groundbreaking digital know-how that brings the practice of Islam closer to a modern generation of worshippers.
And El Azouzi’s innovation, the Flow Modulation Stent (FMS), helps mitigate the risk of heart failure by offering an affordable, low-maintenance solution to end-stage Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) patients worldwide.
Before the winner of Season 11 was revealed, each of the contestants had the chance to give a few final thoughts on their experiences. “Since the start of my journey with Stars of Science, I faced many challenges – not as a mother raising her children, but as a mother who gave birth to a child during Stars of Science,” said Abu Yousef, as she thanked the jury members and Qatar Foundation for supporting her.
"My innovation was born out of the suffering of millions of people. It is the first innovation ever to help stimulate the eyelid muscles. During my journey with Stars of Science, I have always said to myself ‘Nuha, you will become the next top Arab innovator, but this time, you will add the female inflection to it’.”
From the jury panel, Professor Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry told Abu Yousef: “I am glad that you reached the finals. You were able to do that despite going through many challenges in both Stars of Science and your personal life, and despite giving birth to your son during the program.”
“I supported you since the beginning, not because you are a doctor or a woman, but because you are hardworking. Indeed, despite all the challenges, you were able to reconcile between the different responsibilities in your life, which is a wonderful example for all Arab women to look up to.”
Prayer rug innovator Khamis turned to the jury and said: “A quarter of the planet's population is Muslim. In fact, an estimated 1.8 billion people are Muslims. The Smart Educational Prayer Rug, or Sajdah, will be the best educational tool for new and young Muslims, to teach them how to pray and read the Quran.”
After reciting verses from the Qur’an, Khamis asked the jury members to invest in this product, and urged them to make Sajdah the winner, so that millions of Muslims can learn and maintain their prayers.
Jury member Dr. Khalid Al-Ali congratulated the prayer rug innovator for reaching the finals. “I am proud of you,” he said. “You are an example of the creative and innovative Arab youth. I expect that Sajdah will be the end of the beginning for you. Now you have work to do, which is to develop your invention and help it reach the market, mosques and people’s homes.
After hearing touching words from his father, El Azouzi, said: "I stand before you today not as Youssef El Azouzi, but I am here today to represent 26 million people suffering from heart disease.
“Heart disease is a deadly disease. In fact, it is one of the most deadly diseases we have today. The 11th season of Stars of Science ends today, but the next stage of saving humanity will begin tomorrow!"
Congratulating El Azouzi for his passion and perseverance, Professor Fouad Mrad said: “We have reached the end of the season, and I agree with what my colleagues have previously said. By reaching the final stage, the three finalists who stand before us today are all winners.” Each of the contestants then took their places before the jury members as the time to announce the winner finally arrived. Looking both fearful and excited, the contestants waited in anticipation to see what the future holds. The lights went down, and everyone listened to host Khalid Al Jumaily announcing that the winner of Stars of Science Season 11 is… Youssef El Azouzi.
Abu Yousef came second, with Khamis third, but ultimately Season 11 belongs to El Azouzi, who received the highest share of votes both from the audience and the jury members. And, as the lights went down on another dramatic Stars of Science season, the final abiding image was El Azouzi’s family – watching his winning moment, and overwhelmed with pride and joy.