DUBAI: MIT Technology Review Arabia, a Majarra platform, has announced the winners of the fifth Innovators Under 35 MENA Award, which honors leading innovators with “superb technical expertise, whose inventions or research promise to change the way people live for the better, and make a quantum leap around the world,” the company said.
This year there was an unprecedented number of nominees, with innovations in fields including technology, biotechnology, computer science, medicine and materials science.
The jury panel comprised 22 distinguished and independent judges, including technical experts, entrepreneurs, and academics affiliated with research centers, leading technology companies, and prestigious universities around the world.
They include Ashraf Khalil, a professor of computer science in the College of Technological Innovation at Zayed University in the UAE; Malak Abed Al-Thagafi, a professor at Emory School of Medicine and the founder and chief strategy officer of prenatal genetic testing company Shomool; Maha Albalushi, managing director of Oman Tech Fund; Fares Ghandour, a partner at Wamda Capital and CEO of mental-wellness company Tuhoon; Nidhal Guessoum, a professor of astrophysics at the University of California at San Diego; and Bashar Kilani, managing director of IT company Accenture.
The jury members awarded 15 innovators from the Middle East and North Africa.
Nearly half the winners this year were from Saudi Arabia, including Ahmad Alabdulkareem, CEO of Technology, Intelmatics Corporation; Alaa Alahmadi, assistant professor of Computer Science at Taibah University; Wedyan Babatain, postdoctoral fellow at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Fahd Al-Qureshah, assistant research professor at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, and a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University.
Introduced to the region in 2018, the contest is the regional version of a global awards scheme launched by MIT Technology Review in 1999.