RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN
Published — Tuesday 4 November 2014
Last update 4 November 2014 12:02 am
The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) has provided more than 6,600 research projects throughout the Kingdom with a staggering SR3.5 billion in funding, said Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel, KACST president, here on Sunday.
Al-Suwaiyel was inaugurating the first Saudi conference in support of scientific research, organized by KACST at its headquarters in Riyadh.
A host of international speakers, including Mohamed Al-Ohali, deputy minister for educational affairs at the Ministry of Higher Education, KACST Vice President for Research Institutes Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad, and Abdulaziz Al-Swailem, vice president for scientific research support, were present at the event.
The KACST president confirmed funding high-quality research activities that could contribute to national development.
The president said that KACST would welcome any new proposals for future research projects.
“There is no competition in this field; researchers can present the proposals at any time,” he noted.
However, KACST plans to prioritize research according to 14 areas, which include water technology, oil and gas, petrochemicals, biotechnology, nano technology, information technology, space and aviation, electronics and photonics and telecommunications.
Al-Suwaiyel said that while an average of 10 to 15 patents were filed by Saudi academic institutions in an eight-year period up until 2003, more than 200 patents were submitted in 2008 alone.
The findings were based on reports on research performance indicators issued by KACST and Thomson Reuters.
He also recalled that around 10,000 scientific papers from universities and research institutions in the Kingdom were published by 2012.
He said the aim of the conference is to discuss the prospects and challenges in garnering research funding.
In addition, the conference will also identify different methods to measure the results of research and achievements.
He said that the three-day event, held under the slogan “funding, challenges and solutions,” seeks to gather professionals, decision-makers, business developers, service providers and beneficiaries from funding agencies, the government and research and development agencies, as well as the academic world and the industrial and private sectors, to discuss research and development support issues.
In his brief speech, Al-Ohaly said the conference is being held at the right time since “there is a pressing need for integration among research, educational and training institutes to maximize the effectiveness of research initiatives.”
“Some 8,000 researchers have been enlisted for various projects from the inception of KACST,” he told Arab News.