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

JEDDAH: Social media is abuzz with the news of an 80-year-old man who has been relieved of his duties after working for four decades at the Prophet’s Mosque. Citizens have launched a campaign for the man, identified as Moqtada by publishing his photo...
DAMMAM: The World Heritage Committee of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added the rock art in Hail to the World Heritage List. The addition was made during the committee’s 39th session in Bonn, Germany, and becam...
Huge projects change the faces of cities and great ambitions help create such projects. Madinah had its date with a quantum leap to usher in a new era of urban development. Such huge projects help achieve formidable civilization advancements and sign...
RIYADH: The Japanese ambassador to the Kingdom, Noriheiro Okoda, has held a meeting with Hashem Abdullah Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), and discussed bilateral cooperation in the fields of atom...
AL-BAHA: Forty three percent of Al-Baha cannot be developed easily because of the region’s mountainous terrain.This is the view of Khaled Al-Sayegh, undersecretary for construction at the municipality, who was speaking at an event held at the College...
JEDDAH: An official at the Council of Saudi Chambers said the council’s members are discussing a regulation to submit to the Ministry of Labor and other government agencies to deny a number of privileges to companies that force its labor to work unde...
ABHA: With many families wanting new furniture during Ramadan, furniture and interior decorating shops are raising prices to more than double what they were before the month.Homeowner Zaina Mohammed says she used to change her home furniture every Ra...
RIYADH: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) President Prince Sultan bin Salman described the first visit by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to Madinah as “historic.”In his comments following the visit which saw th...
MADINAH: Economists expected the volume of investments in Madinah’s economies during the coming few years to reach SR500 billion.The forecasted growth in the population, to reach 2.6 million people after 25 years, and the number of visitors to 12.2 m...
JEDDAH: It seems that many Saudi families are gradually coming to terms with the new reality of living in apartments, as building villas is not possible due to shortage of appropriate land.With the increasing display of housing units by the Ministry...
RIYADH: Migrant rights advocacy group Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) has lambasted their country’s leadership over the claim that the number of overseas Filipino workers are declining due to sustained economic growth in the Philippines.The group has cal...
RIYADH: A charitable foundation called “Smile” will be launched on Sunday night at the Al-Hokair Land in the Saudi capital to make people happy. “The foundation will be launched to make Saudi Arabia a center of smiles,” well-known television host and...
MAKKAH: The Kingdom has seen a sharp rise in the number of Umrah pilgrims to around 6 million from 1.5 million in the last 16 years. Moreover, the number of pilgrims overstaying their visas has come down to about 1 percent. The Ministry of Haj has be...
RIYADH: The King Khalid Foundation (KKF) said here recently that it has financed small enterprises (SMEs) run by 130 widows in some of the Kingdom’s provinces.KKF hosted an iftar party last week for local media at its headquarters in Riyadh at which...
JEDDAH: Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaed, governor of the Northern Borders province, has died.He will be buried after Taraweeh prayers in Jeddah on Saturday, the Royal Court said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. No other det...

Stay Connected

Facebook