Saudi unveils $200m fund to propel high-tech companies
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Saudi Arabia unveils $200m fund to propel local and global high-tech

Saudi Arabia unveils $200m fund to propel local and global high-tech

The initiative is part of a strategy announced for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology


Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced the launch of $200m (SAR750m) fund for early investment in local and global high-tech companies, which will enhance economic diversification and contribute to the creation of technical jobs, reported Saudi Press Agency.

The initiative is part of a strategy announced for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

The strategy aims to transform the research efforts into innovations that hold economic value, with a specific emphasis on addressing the country’s key research, development and innovation priorities.

These priorities encompass health and wellness, sustainable environment and essential needs, energy and industrial leadership and future economies.

Moreover, the strategy seeks to enhance KAUST’s collaborations with both the public and private sectors.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The new strategy builds on KAUST’s scientific and academic achievements and represents a new era for the university to become a beacon of knowledge and a source of inspiration and innovation in line with Vision 2030 aspirations for the betterment of the kingdom and the world.”

The new strategy focuses on increasing the likelihood of turning research into economically beneficial innovations. This ambition will be achieved through three major initiatives: the launch of the National Transformation Institute for Applied Research to accelerate technology development and commercialisation to support the Saudi’s economic diversification aspirations; the restructuring of research centres to align with national priorities for research, development and innovation; and the creation of the fund.

The strategy also aims to provide quality opportunities for researchers, faculty staff and students, supporting them to apply science and research to create a sustainable global impact by strengthening international and local partnerships.

Among the most important initiatives resulting from these partnerships is the KAUST Reefscape Restoration Initiative, in partnership with NEOM, which will focus on cultivating and restoring hundreds of thousands of coral reefs on an area of 100 hectares, on Shushah Island in the Red Sea.

Additionally, KAUST will continue collaboration with some of the largest companies in Saudi such as Aramco, SABIC, ACWA Power, IBM, Dow and Boeing.

Enhancing global collaboration

One of the most prominent initiatives of the strategy is to strengthen international partnerships and develop cooperation frameworks with leading academic institutions and technology pioneers in the world.

This includes forging strategic cooperation agreements with leading academic and commercial institutes in the Chinese city of Shenzhen to collaborate on applied research across fields like aerospace, robotics and microelectronics.

Through these initiatives and partnerships, KAUST will contribute to developing the higher education ecosystem, nurturing the future scientific research pioneers in the kingdom,

Furthermore, it will promote research and global innovation, and stimulating the growth of advanced technology startups. This will enhance the competitiveness of Saudi’s economy and its global position as a leader in innovation.

Commenting on the strategy, Adel Belcaid, partner and Middle East and Africa lead of the Telecommunications, Media and Technology at Kearney Middle East and Africa said: “This initiative comes at a very opportune point in the kingdom’s fast-paced journey towards achieving Vision 2030 and building a diversified, knowledge-based economy that savvily leverages hydrocarbon assets but does not depend on them.

Together with KAUST, KACST, RDIA and all other research-focused institutions and authorities, the fund is likely to better connect the research, development and innovation space in the kingdom to the global ecosystem via strategic partnerships, equity participation, and most importantly technology transfer agreements.

It will also help to develop local content and capabilities and enable, promote, and monetize home-grown intellectual property in strategic sectors such as digital infrastructure, sustainability, and mobility.”

Also read: Saudi Arabia plans to issue $9.6bn in sukuk after buyback

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