Skip Navigation

Former student selected for NSF grant

Published Jan 04, 2018

Texas A&M at Qatar Class of 2011 graduate Sinan Al-Obaidi has been selected as a Texas A&M National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Site (iSite) grant recipient.

Texas A&M iSite is a program that supports the initiative of the College of Engineering in promoting entrepreneurship among engineering students and strengthening the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Eligible applicants include undergraduate and graduate engineering students of Texas A&M University. Those who are not engineering majors are eligible to participate by collaborating with engineering majors.

“The award has two main parts. First, I would be getting specially customized courses that will help me understand business needs, customer acquisition, market evaluation and develop my business canvas,” said Al-Obaidi, currently a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University, “Second, the grant total is $2500 which I am planning to spend toward reaching out to industries and getting the right guidance to offer a product that serves the market needs.”

Al-Obaidi, who currently majors in electrical engineering, wanted to create a business model that integrates the Internet of Things (IoT) for agricultural applications. In order to do this, he recruited five other members as part of his team with expertise from engineering, agriculture and liberal arts.

“I have a team from Food Science, Electrical Engineering, and Bio-Economics to revolutionize the farming industry by shifting open door farms to semi-automated farms, meeting the future demands for food due to population growth, tackle the main global issues regarding food and water security, and challenge any geopolitical regional deformations or natural disasters that could disturb the food supply chain by full utilization of technology,” Al-Obaidi said. By receiving the grant, Al-Obaidi also added that he would have a legacy with National Science Foundation, which will make him eligible to apply for the second phase of the grant amounting $50,000 to build a prototype of his business model.

In addition to iSite, Al-Obaidi was also successfully selected to be a participant in the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA), a 10-day entrepreneurship program that will take place in Doha from 31st December to 11th January 2018. AIA aims to support ideas into technology startups within 10 days through experimental learning practice supervised by experienced mentors from Silicon Valley companies and global startups.

“I will pitch my NSF funded idea in Doha and expose it to potential collaborations, acceleration programs, and investors,” said Al-Obaidi, “moreover I would be looking forward to recruit people to support me further in developing the idea through the AIA online platform and the face-to-face workshops and meetings.” 

For Al-Obaidi, expanding into entrepreneurship is a step forward in becoming a strong asset towards Qatar’s higher education system.

“I am working hard to gain different types of experiences in the field of research and development from proposal writings, team member recruiting, lab management, prototype development, and modulation skills,” Al-Obaidi said. After completing his Ph.D. and earning a post-doctorate, Al-Obaidi will return to Qatar and aspires to work under Qatar Foundation Research and Development, contributing to Qatar’s knowledge-based economy.