FALLS CHURCH, Va., Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) of the United Arab Emirates have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate and explore ways to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in areas that build local capacity across various sectors in the UAE. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121024/LA98563LOGO) A photo accompanying this release is available at http://media.globenewswire.com/noc/. Signed during the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Summit held recently in Dubai, UAE, the agreement continues a successful partnership between Northrop Grumman and HCT that began in 2010. The agreement further expands Northrop Grumman's focus on domestic and international educational programs aimed at deepening student appreciation of and interest in STEM programs and careers. Since 2010, students at HCT have participated in "Innovation Challenge" – a competition during which teams of HCT students, mentored by Northrop Grumman engineers, gain practical experience by designing, building and testing an unmanned aerial vehicle. The activity culminates in a flying competition. The 2013 Innovation Challenge unmanned aircraft competition, which is open to the public as spectators, will be held April 23-24 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The competition's elements include an oral presentation on the team's design and build of its UAV as well as a flying competition that meets specific criteria. The winning student team will travel to the 2013 Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International convention held in August in Washington, D.C., and present its design to an international audience. "Northrop Grumman is honored to participate in, and sponsor, this competition that encourages innovation among students in the UAE," said Pamela Frazier, president, Northrop Grumman International, Inc. "Innovation Challenge supports an important element of the vision of the UAE leadership in ensuring knowledge and technology are transferred to younger generations. It is a perfect example of how Northrop Grumman cultivates literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and encourages student interest in STEM programs and careers, especially among females and other minorities." "The 2013 Innovation Challenge will build on the great success of the previous events and we will see our students, both male and female, demonstrate with great skill how they are able to utilize the knowledge they gain in their courses in such a practical, applied and hands-on manner," said Tayeb Kamali, HCT vice chancellor. "This competition is a clear example of HCT's learning-by-doing philosophy, and we thank Northrop Grumman for again committing such wonderful support to enriching our students with these experiences in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles." During the Global Entrepreneurial Summit, Frazier was part of a panel discussion on "Establishing a Unified GCC SME Ecosystem," during which she shared highlights of the Innovation Challenge and the importance of continuing to provide students with innovative opportunities that pique their interest and curiosity.