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MDX Dubai Students Win Big at Abu Dhabi University Research Competition


Middlesex University Dubai student researchers won a multitude of awards at the 8th Undergraduate Research Competition (URC) organised by Abu Dhabi University. In total, 23 MDX submissions were shortlisted for the final round. After rigorous evaluation by the judging panel, nine MDX submissions won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd prize in their categories. Middlesex University students dominated in Education, Media, and Psychology, winning 7 of the 9 awards. Further winners include the 1st prize position in Arabic and Islamic Studies and 3rd prize receipient in the Entrepreneurship category. 

The URC is the largest undergraduate research event in the entire GCC region and targets all major disciplines. This year, over 280 research papers were presented in the final round of the competition from diverse disciplines by teams representing major universities from across the region. This year it was held as a virtual research competition and was open to students from the wider GCC and beyond.  

This tremendous success is a testament to the research acumen of MDX Dubai students and the extended support provided to them by their supervisors and the MDX Student Research Committee. Commenting on the success, Dr. Lynda Hyland, on behalf of the Student Research Committee, said: "We're delighted with our students' success at this year's AUD undergraduate research competition. Yet again, MDX Dubai students have demonstrated their outstanding research ability. Congratulations to all those who participated, the winners, and supervisors."

Dr. Cody Paris, Deputy Director Academic Planning & Research at MDX Dubai attributed this success to the importance placed on undergraduate student research at MDX Dubai: “Student research is an important part of the student learning experience. It provides students with an opportunity to work closely with faculty, define their academic and professional interests, contribute new insights and knowledge with practical real world applications, and develop analytical and critical thinking skills.”

Students who won the competition were thrilled with the announcement. Humaira Adam, who won 1st prize in the Education category, mentioned: “This feels like a great achievement and I am happy that all my hard work has paid off. I am grateful to my lecturer Mr. Philip Anderson and the education department for continuously supporting me throughout the whole research process.”

Mashaal Hoda, who won second place in the Education category, said: “This competition is a thrilling experience for student researchers. We celebrate our passion for researching, connecting, showcasing, and advocating an educational research ethos in collaboration with Academics, Early Childhood facilitators, and key stakeholders to empower children's evidence-based teaching and learning experiences during their early childhood years.”

Reflecting on the success, Naicy Shiji Thakki, who won 3rd place in the Entrepreneurship category, said: "I am delighted to have won third place in the Entrepreneurship category of this competition for my research project. I am grateful to my mentor, Mr. Rhoderick Romano, for boosting my entrepreneurial spirit and his support with my project. I would also like to thank the university’s Student Research Committee for organising insightful briefing sessions at each stage of the competition which guided my project preparation."

The full details of the winners are as follows:

Students and Programme

Title of project

Supervisor name



Sara Kasouma, BA Advertising PR and Branding

How Do Luxury Brands Communicate Their Core Values To Young Consumers Through Storytelling on TikTok?

Dr. Cody Morris Paris

1st place

Public Relations and Mass Communication

Tania Sofia dos Santos Silva, BA Journalism and Communication

Mama4Papas Podcast

Stephen King

3rd place

Public Relations and Mass Communication

Naicy Thakki, Business Management (Marketing)

Container Homes: Increasing Affordability of Student Housing in UAE

Rhoderick Romano

3rd place


Humaira Adam, BA Education Studies

The Impact of Covid-19 on the Mental Health of High School Students and The Steps Taken by Schools to Support Student Mental Health in the UAE

Philip Anderson

1st place


Mashaal Hooda, BA Early Childhood Studies

How does the nursery ethos facilitate children’s risk-taking in outdoor play provisions with special references to staff attitudes and the environmental affordances?

Philip Anderson

2nd place


Sowsan Yafi, BA Early Childhood Studies,Faareha Salman,BA Early Childhood Studies, Hala Al Madi, BA Early Childhood Studies, Jessica Alam Eddie, BA Education Studies & Cynthia Warutere, BA Early Childhood Studies

The impact of COVID-19 on inclusion and mental health in Higher education

Phil Anderson

3rd place


Lubna AbdulShakoor, BSc. Information Technology

Online Zakat Calculator: A modern approach for the New Generation

Ms. Engie Bashir

1st place

Arabic and Islamic Studies

Alita Anna Abraham, BSc. Psychology with Counselling Skills

Predictive Social Factors of Problematic Internet Usage

Dr. Lynda Hyland

2nd place


Stepheni Nathania Juriansz, BSc Psychology with Education, Gloria D'souza, BSc Psychology with HR & Gayatri Santhoshkumar, BSc Psychology with HR

iTeacher - Investigating student's implicit biases towards gender and qualifications of teachers

Dr. Nishtha Lamba

3rd place


We would like to wish a huge congratulations to all our winning students and their supervisors. Many thanks to Dr. Fehmida Hussain, Dr. Lynda Hyland, Dr. Anita Kashi Shrivastava, Dr. Daphne Demetriou, and Dr. Sreejith Balasubramanian for their continued support for students participating in this competition, including training and support sessions and guidance for faculty in nominating and supporting supervisees.

Beyond this competition, Middlesex University Dubai provides support for student research through a range of programs. To learn more about student research at MDX, please visit this page on our website.

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