26 Dec, 2021

Majarra and MIT Technology Review Arabia announce the 2021 Innovators Under 35 MENA Winners

Majarra and MIT Technology Review Arabia have announced the names of the winners for the fourth edition of the Innovators Under 35 award, which aims to honor Arab innovators from around the world who are under the age of 35, showcasing their efforts and celebrating their contributions in innovating solutions for the challenges facing their communities and humanity as a whole. The winners list includes the most brilliant researchers, experts, and scientists whose inventions have achieved a categorical transformation in a number of vital fields.


Winners of the 2021 edition of Innovators Under 35

MIT Technology Review Arabia, with the assistance of 21 distinguished judges from various sectors, have selected 15 innovators for the Innovators Under 35 award in 2021. They are:

  • Ali AlHammadi, Emirati, Assistant Professor at Khalifa University, with a PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University, for his innovative geospatial insights for smart cities.
  • Mohamed Abdelaziz, Egyptian, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Hamlyn Centre, with a PhD from the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery - Imperial College London, for his work on a versatile, MR safe robotic platform to assist physicians in treating patients with cardiovascular diseases.
  • Atheer Awad, Jordanian, Research Fellow at the University and College of London (UCL) School of Pharmacy, who received her PhD in Pharmaceutics and Drug Design from UCL, for her invention of 3D printers for personalized medications.
  • Jamal Shaktour of Palestine, in his position of CEO at ResQ2, for his work in developing an electric backpack with two masks to filter out toxic chemicals from the air in battleground conditions.
  • Ghada Dushaq, Jordanian, Postdoctoral Researcher at New York University - Abu Dhabi Campus (NYU Abu Dhabi), with a PhD in Microsystem Engineering from Masdar Institute for Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, for her novel application of germanium to improve the speed and efficiency of computer chips and processors.
  • Eslam Katab, Egyptian, PhD student completing his studies at the Technical University of Munich, Klinikum Rechts der Isar, for his research into using c-Rel proteins to diagnose and possibly treat lymphoma and pancreatic cancers.
  • Ahmed ElGamal, Egyptian, Founder & CEO of LinkBox, with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the American University of Cairo, for his software allowing users of the same PDF or EBook to simultaneously connect for real-time annotation, collaboration, and chat.
  • Nouf AlJabri, from Saudi Arabia, Geophysicist working at Aramco, with a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), for her work developing a process to convert plastics into clean fuels and renewable chemicals.
  • Nader Shafi, Lebanese, research associate at the American University of Beirut (AUB), who received his Master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering from AUB, and has invented SkanMD, a handheld scanner for skin anomalies and diseases.
  • Dana Alsulaiman, Saudi Arabia, Assistant Professor of Material Science and Engineering in the Physical Science and Engineering division of KAUST, who earned her PhD in Bioengineering at Ladame Lab - Imperial College London (ICL), and developed a functional hydrogel-coated microneedle platform for sampling of cancer-specific biomarkers from interstitial fluid.
  • Ibrahim Abdelwahab, Egyptian, Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, after receiving a joint PhD/DIC in physics and chemistry from both Imperial College London and the National University of Singapore. He is receiving the award for developing nanoscale intelligent materials for ultrafast photonic applications.
  • Salim Al-Kaabi, Omani national, and Founder and CEO of Lubanium, which he had done after receiving his Bachelor’s in Process Operation and Maintenance at Caledonian University. The company provides eco-friendly and sustainable products and painting protectants for artists.
  • Mohamed Shehata, Egyptian, PhD candidate at the Computer Science and Computer Engineering Department of the University of Louisville, and who has programmed non-invasive software/CAD system for early and precise identification of renal allograft dysfunction.
  • Yasmin Al- Halawani, Jordanian, Postdoctoral Fellow at the System-on-Chip Center of Khalifa University, after receiving her PhD in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the same university. Her innovation involves efficient data compression via novel brain-inspired hardware platforms.
  • Mia Dibe, Lebanese. Product Implementation Specialist at 3D Repo and University College London (UCL), after receiving her Master’s in Smart Cities and Urban Analytics with merit from The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at UCL. She has created an AI-enabled detector of floor construction using onsite imagery to compare the actual construction to the intended plans.


Global Judging Panel

The judges’ panel was composed of 21 experts from various technology, AI, biology, medical, and cybersecurity fields, in addition to other future-centered sectors, including renowned independent figures from among technical experts, entrepreneurs, investors, and academics from the leading universities and companies throughout the world.


Malak Abed Al-Thagafi, director of general directorate of national RDI, at KACST, stated that: “Nothing has a greater impact on society than innovation. One need only imagine life without electricity, cars, vaccines or smartphones to realize how innovation impacts our lives in ways great and small.” Al-Thagafi further said that despite the primacy of innovation, efforts to actively support the development of young people as innovators are relatively new and recognizing them is limited: “As one of the innovators under 35 judges, I feel privileged to select and to shed the spotlight on the innovators from the MENA region in different fields. For the last three years, I can see the dramatic increase in the quality of the candidates. I feel our future is safe with those great minds.”


Whereas Bashar Kilani, Managing Director of Accenture said: “This is my third year as a judge and I’m impressed with the progress over the years. The candidates are simply outstanding. Their work is of high quality and relevant to the challenges of tomorrow”. He added: “The community and program inspire optimism and hope in the future of the region.”


Kaoutar El Maghraoui, principal research scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, said: “It has been an honor to serve as a judge for the MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 MENA. All the submissions were of high quality. I was very impressed with the quality of the work, the entrepreneurial mindset, and the impact that many applications from the MEA region have had at such a young age.” She added: “ The tremendous and potential impact that these young talents could have is huge and spans areas in healthcare, education, commerce, material science, energy, etc.”