WHAT Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have questions about filling out the nomination form or the nomination process, please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) here. This deadline to apply has been extended to August 18, 2019.


Innovators Under 35 (IU35) General Information

What is IU35?

Innovators Under 35 is an annual list that recognizes outstanding innovators who are younger than 35. We are searching for individuals whose superb technical work promises to shape the coming decades. Our goal is to recognize the development of new technology or the creative application of existing technologies to solve the world’s biggest problems. We reward ingenious and elegant work that matters to the world at large—not just to peers in a particular field or industry.

What is MIT Technology Review Arabia?

MIT Technology Review on important technologies and innovators since 1899, with the backing of the world’s #1 technology institute. The Arabic version was launched in June 2018.

MIT Technology Review exists in Arabic?

Yes, we’re just as thrilled that MIT Technology Review is now in Arabic for the first time. Published by Haykal Media, in partnership with Dubai Future Foundation. Visit the website here.

How is the list chosen?

Once all the nominations are in, the editors of MIT Technology Review winnow the group down to fewer than 100 finalists. The editors will solicit specific information from each finalist. This means that most nominees will not be asked for more information.

How is this different from the global IU35?

It focuses on candidates originally from the MENA region.

Do I have to be based in MENA to be considered?

You can be based anywhere in the world, but should be originally from the MENA region.

If I’m selected to this, will you send my application to the global list?

No, selection to the IU35 MENA does not guarantee being selected on the global list.

Information for Nomination

I nominated someone for the Innovators Under 35 list and have not heard back from MIT Technology Review yet. What should I do?

You do not need to do anything. We will be in touch with the candidate directly if he or she becomes a finalist.

What are you looking for in the nominee description?

This should be a brief capsule summary of the technical work for which you believe the nominee deserves recognition, including an explanation of its impact, both within the nominee’s field and in the wider world. Don’t tell us that someone is innovative or accomplished in general. Point to something in particular that we can write about.

What is the age qualification?

The nominee must be under 35 by September 30 of the year of the award. For instance, if you are nominating someone now for the 2019 global list, he or she should turn 35 no earlier than October 1, 2019.

What do you mean by “affiliation(s)”?

This is simply the nominee’s place of work or study. We provide multiple fields in case a nominee is both working professionally and studying for an advanced degree and in case a student or professor is founding a company. Please do not list professional memberships or the schools where a nominee has previously earned degrees. Past winners have come from startups, large companies, government agencies, and nonprofits, as well as from universities around the world. We encourage nominations from institutions of all types.

Whom should I list as references?

These should be advisors, supervisors, coworkers, or colleagues at other institutions who are familiar with the nominee’s work and able to describe the work and its importance. These people should be willing and able to provide a short (approximately one-page) letter in support of the nominee, within two weeks of being asked.

Can a nominator be listed as a reference?

Yes! However, we might request a separate letter of support for the nominee.

Can I nominate candidates jointly—for example, a group of three cofounders?

Please submit a separate nomination for each individual.

Information Required from Finalists

How will MIT Technology Review contact finalists for additional information?

If you are selected as a finalist, you will be contacted by e-mail in early October. You will then have two weeks to submit all required materials and to ensure that reference letters have been submitted.

What information is required from finalists?

  • Current CV
  • Personal statement
  • Date of birth (winners must be under 35 on September 30 of the year of the award)
  • The names of three individuals who can write brief reference letters, along with their contact information (email addresses and phone numbers).

What information should I include in my personal statement?

The statement should be a brief (300- to 500-word) first-person description of your work, including some technical detail about your innovation and how it could affect the world at large. It is also helpful to include links to media articles, peer-reviewed papers, company websites, etc.

What information is required for a reference letter?

Reference letters should be approximately one page long and should contain several paragraphs explaining how the writer knows the candidate and why he or she believes the candidate has done exceptional work.

In what form should a reference letter be submitted?

A reference can be completed and mailed on official letterhead or sent as an e-mail reply to the e-mail message that we will send.

What is the deadline to submit all required materials?

All materials, including reference letters, are due two weeks from the time finalists are notified.


Who are the judges?

The judges include experts, academics, and specialized people in the technology and science ecosystem.

Will I be notified if I don’t get selected?

Only the finalists will be notified and asked to share further documents and details.

When will the results be announced?

During EmTech MENA in Dubai- November 4-5, 2019.

Did not find your question?

If you have any questions regarding the nomination process, please e-mail emtech@haykalmedia.com and we will do our best to answer you ASAP.

Other Innovators Under 35 from the Arab World selected to the global list:

Abdigani Diriye: A computer scientist who founded Somalia’s first incubator and startup accelerator.

Fadel Adib: Using Wi-Fi to track people moving around in other rooms.

Maryam Shanechi: Using control theory to build better interfaces to the brain.

Ayah Bdeir: Electronic blocks that link with one another also connect art and engineering.