Kart Group, in association with Dubai Holding, has launched a first-of-its-kind scholarship programme worth Dh390,000 ($106,195) for aspiring young designers. The Design for Good initiative will offer two scholarships to subsidise tuition fees for applicants to the Fall 2019 Bachelor of Design programme at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). To be eligible, applicants must design a space-compliant game for astronauts or future explorers of Mars. Designers must ensure their games promote the physical and mental well-being of future space travellers, enabling them to perform athletic activities, maintain muscle capacity, bone density as well as cardiovascular health – especially during lengthy space travels. The concepts could include a toy reliant upon zero-gravity conditions, a video game that uses VR, or a sports game that encourages physical activities such as extreme football.

Mustafa Khamash, creative director, Kart Group, said: “As a designer myself, I realise how hard it can be for students to find their way in this field. As a student, I was given the scholarship to pursue my own studies and this is a way for me to pay it forward. I know how life transforming it can be.”

Speaking about the Design for Good initiative, Mustafa Khamash added: “The Design for Good initiative aims to motivate the design community veterans to invest time and money in the development of underprivileged young talent to consider design as a viable and rewarding career.”

Khamash believes the Middle East has no dearth of talent. “As experienced designers, we need to do all we can to not only foster that talent but to raise the awareness of how relevant future technologies are to the careers of tomorrow. “We hope that this scholarship challenge will be a way to make the competition not only fun, but relevant to something the students can see unravelling right here in the UAE, specifically with the UAE’s ambitious Mars mission on track for a 2020 launch.”

Mohammad Abdullah, president of DIDI said: “With the upcoming UAE space mission to Mars, this is a way to engage students in a very contemporary topic. They can see this coming to life here and to be able to contribute ideas to this exciting project, is a way for them to see the many applications of design and innovation to the careers of the future.”

Students must first apply for admission to the university to be eligible for the scholarship challenge, and applications are assessed based on both merit and financial need. The scholarships are open to both Emirati and expatriate students. The last date of submission is July 7, 2019.