Dr. Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al-Sweel
The efforts of the government in improving the education system and increasing the weight of Saudi Arabia in the field of sciences worldwide were translated to reality with the creation of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).
Although it took some good years to kick-off the city is now well-established and has started to produce major research programs in combination with other government entities and the private sector.
Since the introduction of the national policy on science, technology and innovation that gave the main guidelines to measure the speed of transformation of Saudi Arabia into a Knowledge-Economy in accordance with the indicators internationally accepted by the United Nations Educational, ScientificandCulturalOrganization(UNESCO)or Organization forEconomicCo- operation andDevelopment(OECD), the progress of the city has been remarkable.
“Following the ten strategic principles of the national policy on science and technology that look for the synergies of the components activating the role of education and training and improving the competition to increase scientific and technical progress the first five- year plan has supported many researches within the universities and research centers,” explains Dr. Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Sweel, President of KASCT. The emphasis has gone to strategic and vital fields for the Kingdom as the development of water, petroleum and gas, petrochemicals and nano technologies, advanced materials, biotechnology, environment, energy, space and aviation, information, electronics, communications and photonics, in addition to medical and health researches.
The financial support for the first five- year plan totaled about SR8 bn but has been expanded to a total of SR15,7 bn for the period from 2010 to 2014.
He was the Governor of the Communication and IT Commission since 2003 and vice-president of research institutes of King Abdul Aziz University for Science and Technology from 1990 – 2003. Previously he worked at King Fahd Petroleum and Minerals.
TURNING POINTS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CITY
· 1977: establishment of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology.
· 1978 – 1987: Al-Uyainah Solar Energy Program (with the United Stated).
· 1981: fish breeding in fresh water program (with Taiwan)
· 2000: First Saudi experimental satellite Sat1 (a & b)
· 2002: Lunch of the first national policy on science, technology and innovation in the region after obtaining the approval of the cabinet of ministers thereof.
· 2004: Lunch of the Saudi satellite Stat 1-c, after which the first satellite of Saudi Program Sat 2 and Saudi Comsat 1 and 2 had been lunched.
· 2005: establishment of the National Center for Nano- Technologies.
· 2008: Lunch of BADER Program for Technology Incubators, which forms the core for establishing a technology- driven industry.
· 2008: Lunch of King Abdullah Initiative on Supporting Arabic Internet Content and visit of His Royal Highness for the inauguration of the second phase projects.
· 2009: construction of biotechnology incubator and inauguration of several excellence centers.
· 2010: construction of the advanced manufacturing incubator.
· 2010: Project of the National Initiative for Water Desalination by Solar Energy.
· 2010: Biotechnology (Camel DNA Decoding).
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