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Awards designed to encourage innovation

Abu Dhabi: Students, faculty and staff from Abu Dhabi University gathered for a friendly competition of innovative ideas for self-growth and to bring value to society.

Three winning teams out of the 11 taking part in the 2011 Chancellor's Innovation Awards were announced in a ceremony that took place on campus last week.

"The award programme was launched last year with the intent of creating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in ADU, a culture that will enhance the quality of life and contribute to the personal and professional development of our students," ADU chancellor Dr Nabeel Ebrahim told Gulf News.

Dr Modafar Ati, Sajin Salim, Rihab Abdul Aal, and Hessa Al Shamsi took first prize of Dh20,000 for their idea of establishing a Professional Knowledge Development Centre. The concept aims at offering students professional training as part of their education process.

"The students felt unprepared to join the market workforce and meet the needs of various industries — they wanted to bridge that gap," Dr Ati said.

Positive role

"Public relations and student recruitment strategy for the Al Ain campus" was the title of the concept that won second place. Shannon Glassgow, Huda Iqbal, Eman Ezzatullah, Sabah Sadiq and Sarah Fazal worked hard on their idea of offering the Toastmaster's Youth Leadership Programme to public high schools.

They felt 11th and 12th grade students lacked the necessary skills to prepare them to stand out in the application process for higher education.

The programme consists of eight sessions of two hours each, in which students work on their English, communication and leadership skills. The team won Dh15,000.

Wanting ADU students to play a positive role in their learning process, Nikki Yu, Dr Makhtar Sarr and Fatima Gazi came up with ASCAM — the ADU Students Choice Awards for the Media — an idea that won Dh10,000.

Yu described the programme to Gulf News. She said: "ADU students will research topics and personalities of interest and identify their role models in the media industry."

Dr Sarr added: "The students will get to read and research topics of interest in their career fields. This is a nifty way to keep them busy during non-school hours, yet remain interestingly engaged in learning."

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