HCT and Northrop Grumman to host unmanned aircraft Innovation Challenge in April 2013

The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and the Northrop Grumman Corporation will collaborate to explore ways to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in areas that build local capacity across various sectors in the United Arab Emirates, after the parties recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Signed during the recent 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Dubai, the MOU continues a successful partnership between Northrop Grumman and HCT that began in 2010, and further expands Northrop Grumman’s focus on domestic and international educational programs that deepens student appreciation and excitement for STEM programs and careers.

As a result of a 2010 agreement, students at HCT have been able to participate in an “Innovation Challenge” – a competition where teams of HCT male and female students, who are mentored by Northrop Grumman engineers, gain practical experience by designing, building, and testing an unmanned aerial vehicle with the final activity culminating in a flying competition.

The 2013 Innovation Challenge unmanned aircraft competition, which will be the third competition and which is open to the public as spectators, will be held on April 23-24, 2013 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Itwill see the HCT student teams compete in criteria which include oral presentations on the teams’ respective designsand a flying competition that meets specific criteria.

The winning team will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the annual Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) convention for North America. The 2013 convention will be held in Washington, D.C., in August and will provide the winning team with the opportunity to present its winning design to an international audience of students, industry representatives and academia.

Pamela Frazier, president, Northrop Grumman International, Incsaid: “Northrop Grumman is honored to actively participate in, and sponsor this competition that encourages innovation among students in theUAE.”

“The Innovation Challenge directly supports an important element of the vision of the UAE leadership in ensuring knowledge and technology is actively transferring to younger generations. It is a perfect example of how Northrop Grumman continues to cultivate widespread literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a goal to deepen student appreciation and excitement for STEM programs and careers, especially among females,” she added.

Dr. Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technologysaid the 2013 Innovation Challenge “will build on the great success of the previous events and we will see our students, both male and female, demonstrate with great skill how they are able to utilize the knowledge they gain in their courses in such a practical, applied and hands-on manner.”

“This competition is a clear example of HCT’s learning by doing philosophy and we thank Northrop Grumman for again committing such wonderful support to enriching our students with these experiences in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles,” he added.

During the Global Entrepreneurial Summit, in which the Higher Colleges of Technology was an education partner, Ms. Frazier was part of a panel discussion on “Establishing a Unified GCC SME Ecosystem,” during which she shared highlights of the Innovation Challenge and the importance of continuing to provide students with innovative opportunities that pique their interest and curiosity.