Innovation holds key to emerging challenges



SIRAJ WAHAB | Arab News Staff

Published — Friday 11 January 2013

Last update 11 January 2013 12:55 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

DHAHRAN: A high-ranking Saudi academic has described innovation as a key pillar in the Kingdom’s march toward achieving knowledge economy goals.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Saudi-GE Innovation Center in Dhahran Techno-Valley earlier this week, Dr. Khalid S. Al-Sultan, rector and CEO, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), said innovation held enormous potential in addressing the emerging challenges in all sectors of growth.
“Our university is committed to promoting localized innovation and strengthening Saudi talent base through strong academia-industry linkages,” said Al-Sultan. “This association with GE is one example of that strategy.”
The Saudi-GE Innovation Center is expected to play a key role in identifying and nurturing localized solutions that will enhance energy efficiency. “The center will contribute to shaping a new generation of talented Saudi professionals who are involved in hands-on research,” said Al-Sultan.
What Al-Sultan said was echoed in a recent survey in which an overwhelming majority of businesses said innovation was the main lever for a more competitive economy. Eighty-six percent of Saudi respondents in the GE survey said innovation contributed to improving the products and services of their company.
Prominent among those who were present at the high-profile event in Dhahran were Saudi Aramco President and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih, SABIC vice chairman and CEO Mohamed Al-Mady, GE Vice Chairman John Rice.
The center is to serve as an ideas incubator for GE and its partners to work together, share knowledge, collaborate and co-create — thus building localized solutions.
The unveiling of the new center is part of General Electric’s $1 billion investment commitment. The 2,200 sq. meter center aims at fostering homegrown innovation and is set to work closely with customers on addressing the Kingdom’s priorities in creating more energy efficient and affordable health care solutions.
Since the center is aligned with the Kingdom’s Vision 2020 which aims to boost Saudi entrepreneurship, manufacturing and exports to accelerate diversified and sustained economic growth, it will collaborate with partners, customers, key think-tanks and academic institutions to promote the country’s innovation ecosystem.
The center offers visitors a highly engaging and digitally interactive experience of GE’s accomplishments in the Kingdom over the past 80 years. The center highlights GE’s country partnerships and capabilities as well as examines key trends and issues in various sectors including energy, aviation and health care.
“The Saudi GE Innovation Center demonstrates our commitment to be a true partner in Saudi Arabia’s growth story,” said GE Vice Chairman John Rice. “The center will support the creation of localized solutions by working alongside Saudi professionals who best understand the Kingdom’s requirements.”
He described innovation as the game-changer and the driving force of economic development. “Creating a robust innovation environment will contribute not only to addressing local challenges but also to supporting the evolution of a talented pool of professionals and entrepreneurs,” said Rice. “We are thankful to KFUPM and Dhahran Techno Valley for their continuous support to the initiative and to all our partners in the Kingdom.”
Executives in the Kingdom rightly believe that it is important to encourage a stronger entrepreneurial culture in the education system through stronger linkages between students and business-savvy individuals, which is reflected in the operational ethos of the Saudi GE Innovation Center. They perceive that encouraging investments and promoting domestic technology development rather than imported solutions are main priorities to further progress innovation in the Kingdom.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

SYDNEY: Amnesty International has demanded that Mustafa Al-Hosawi, a Saudi prisoner at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, be treated for the torture he underwent at the hands of the CIA.The US branch of the organization sent a message to health officials at the...
JEDDAH: The city’s airport staff saved a 20-year-old woman who tried to throw herself from the upper floor to the mezzanine floor in the southern hall. Sources said the suicide attempt was due to family disputes. Administrators said a supervisor in t...
RIYADH: Education Minister Ahmad Al-Issa has ordered to gradually close down private night schools beginning from the current year. The closure of these schools will be complete by 1439H.Al-Issa’s decision is based on reports of a body, which highlig...
RIYADH: Riyadh and Phnom Penh have signed a labor deal to recruit domestics and general workers from Cambodia.Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani and his Cambodian counterpart Ait Samana signed the agreement.Al-Haqabani said the Kingdom is keen on open...
Jeddah: The Criminal Court in Jeddah has sentenced a man to nine months in jail for beating his wife and insulting her by calling her “stubborn and ignorant.” The man has also been required to make a written pledge not to go near his wife, while the...
MUNICH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister defended his country’s treatment of women on Friday, saying it had made progress on female education but would take time to let them drive cars.“When it comes to issues like women’s driving, this is not a relig...
RIYADH: A cross-section of Saudi society on Friday denounced the Jazan massacre that shook the nation on Thursday, when a gunman went on the rampage killing seven education officials and injuring several others in Al-Dair governorate.The culprit, ide...
JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Awad Al-Balawi, head of the Saudi Border Guard, recently confirmed the expansion of the employment program for women within the border security sector. He said that the sector is entering a new phase as women will be employed in a n...
RIYADH: A medical team of the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital (KASCH) at the King Abdulaziz Medical City (National Guard) here have successfully conducted the first liver transplant on a baby boy. Fahad Mari Said Al-Sairdh, father of the...
JEDDAH: The Makkah Investigation and Prosecution Board reintroduced the crane crash incident to the Riyadh Investigation and Prosecution Board recently, adding 10 more employees and supervisors from different government agencies before the courts. Th...
JEDDAH: The teacher who gunned down seven education officials in Al-Dair governorate on Thursday had been showing behavioral problems in recent days, Al-Janob Misfer Al-Subhan, director of King Faisal Secondary School in Dharan, was quoted as saying...
JEDDAH: The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is investigating the Nakheel Mall case, in which a girl was beaten up by a group of Haia members, an official of the commission has said. “The HRC is supposed to guarantee the rights of those harmed, whoever...
AL-AHSA: King Faisal University (KFU) in Al-Ahsa is currently studying the possibility of admitting female students to specialize in veterinary medicine, the director of the university, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saati, confirmed. He said the matter has been p...
JEDDAH: A fingerprinting campaign, titled “Imprint Homeland,” against extremism and terrorism, was launched at the Jeddah corniche on Thursday night. The drive will cover all the 17 regions of Makkah province.The campaign, initiated by the Makkah gov...
RIYADH: The number of unemployed Saudi nationals reached 647,000 by the end of last year, of whom 56 percent, or 363,800, hold bachelor’s degrees or licenses. Female bachelor’s degree and license holders accounted for three-fourths of unemployed Saud...

Stay Connected

Facebook