Al-Jasser: Knowledge-based economy vital for growth

Updated 05 November 2013
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Al-Jasser: Knowledge-based economy vital for growth

The 5th Annual Saudi International Technology Incubation Conference opened by Economy and Planning Minister Muhammed Al-Jasser in Riyadh on Tuesday, is focusing on the need to develop a knowledge-based economy.
Speaking on the importance of transforming the Saudi economy to a knowledge-based economy driven by creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, Al-Jasser said such a development would bring an economic renaissance in the Kingdom.
He explained that with the knowledge-based economy, countries such as Japan, Korea and Singapore have made tremendous economic progress without having natural resources.
This year, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Badir have teamed up with the Technopolicy Network to organize the 5th edition of the conference, which has incorporated the networks of the 10th International Annual Conference. Its aim is to provide stakeholders and practitioners in the entrepreneurship and incubation industry the opportunity to contribute to discussions with international and local expertriates about the importance of science and technology-based businesses within the Kingdom and to consider the latest developments in technology entrepreneurship, innovation and the role that incubators should play.
The conference will help develop knowledge and understanding between policy makers, incubation practitioners and stakeholders about the importance of science and technology-based entrepreneurship and its role in the creation of a knowledge-based economy and a diversified technology industry base, while providing networking opportunities that support the development of the Saudi incubator industry.
The minister pointed out that the spending on research and development in the Kingdom has increased from 0.4 percent to 3.4 percent, which is a remarkable achievement at the regional level. He stressed that the Kingdom has topped in such spending among the Arab countries. At global level, he said, the Kingdom has been ranked 33rd among 139 countries in spending for research and development.
KACST President Mohammed ibn Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel said scientific research and technological advancement were pivotal elements of the progress and prosperity of nations in various developmental areas as developed countries striving toward progress, had long understood.
In fact, he said, the developed countries have spared no expense on research and development (R&D), dedicating a considerable portion of their GDP (gross domestic product) to this purpose, which has led to the phenomenal scientific and information revolution we witness today. It has also led to the fierce competition, which effectively relies on financial and economic power, as well as the possession of novel and information technology.
“Realizing that any developmental effort has to be based on a solid scientific foundation, our government has dedicated great attention to science and technology. Thus came the conception of KACST in 1397H, to promote and support applied scientific research that contribute to development in the Kingdom, supporting and coordinating the tasks of scientific institutions and research centers in that area, according to the developmental needs of the Kingdom.”
KACST has supported many scientific research projects aiming to serve developmental issues in various sectors. These research projects have yielded good results which have benefited various parties of both the private and public sectors. KACST has also provided scientists, researchers and students in Saudi universities with considerable support and services.
It is also in the process of implementing many research projects in its labs and research centers, which are well equipped. KACST research helps in solving many developmental problems that the Kingdom encounters in different areas of both the public and private sectors.
The studies, consultations and services of KACST reach most of the government's ministries. Including the Ministry of Higher Education, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense and Aviation.
At the lead of the large institutions which deal with KACST are Saudi Aramco, Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries & Medical Appliances Corporation (SPIMACO), (the Advanced Electronics Company (AEC), Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden), National Agricultural Development Company (NADEC), Saudi Oger and Almarai.
Nawaaf Al-Sahhaf, CEO, Badir Program for Technology, said KASCT was successful in setting up 11 incubators in major cities, including Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Jeddah, the Eastern Province, Qassim and Al-Kharj, which play an important role in supporting the process of economic development.
The other speakers included Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Gov. Abdul Latif Al-Othman and Technopolicy Network Chairman Richard Bendis.


50 years after Concorde, US start-up eyes supersonic future

Boom Supersonic co-founder, Blake Scholl, poses for a photograph in front of an artists impression of his company's proposed design for an supersonic aircraft, dubbed Baby Boom, at the Farnborough Airshow, south west of London, on July 18, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 July 2018
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50 years after Concorde, US start-up eyes supersonic future

  • Boom Supersonic’s aircraft is expected by the company to fly for the first time next year
  • The Concorde was retired following an accident in 2000 in which a Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris, killing 113 people

WEYBRIDGE, United Kingdom: Luxury air travel faster than the speed of sound: A US start-up is aiming to revive commercial supersonic flight 50 years after the ill-fated Concorde first took to the skies.
Blake Scholl, the former Amazon staffer who co-founded Boom Supersonic, delivered the pledge this week in front of a fully-restored Concorde jet at the Brooklands aviation and motor museum in Weybridge, southwest of London.
Boom Supersonic’s backers include Richard Branson and Japan Airlines and other players are eyeing the same segment.
The company aims to manufacture a prototype jet next year but its plans have been met with skepticism in some quarters.
“The story of Concorde is the story of a journey started but not completed — and we want to pick up on it,” Scholl said.
The event coincided with the nearby Farnborough Airshow.
“Today... the world is more linked than it’s ever been before and the need for improved human connection has never been greater,” Scholl said.
“At Boom, we are inspired at what was accomplished half a century ago,” he added, speaking in front of a former British Airways Concorde that flew for the first time in 1969.

Boom Supersonic’s aircraft, dubbed Baby Boom, is expected by the company to fly for the first time next year.
“If we can’t continue where you left off, and build on that, then the shame is on us,” Scholl said, addressing himself to an audience that included retired Concorde staff.
“Our vision is to build a faster airplane that is accessible to more and more people, to anybody who flies.”
Boom Supersonic is making its debut at Farnborough and hopes to produce its new-generation jets in the mid-2020s or later, with the aim of slashing journey times by half.
The proposed aircraft has a maximum flying range of 8,334 kilometers (5,167 miles) at a speed of Mach 2.2 or 2,335 kilometers per hour.
If it takes off, it would be the first supersonic passenger aircraft since Concorde took its final flight in 2003.
The Concorde was retired following an accident in 2000 in which a Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris, killing 113 people.
Some analysts remain skeptical over the push back into supersonic.
“Supersonic is not what passengers or airlines want right now,” said Strategic Aero analyst Saj Ahmed, stressing that many travelers wanted cheap low-cost carriers instead.
Ahmed said supersonic jets were “very unattractive” because of high start-up development costs, considerations about noise pollution and high prices as well as limited capacity.

Independent air transport consultant John Strickland also noted supersonic travel was unproven commercially.
“Business traffic, on the face of it, is the most lucrative for airlines,” Strickland told AFP.
“But if there is an economic downturn or something happens where the market for business class traffic drains away, then you have nothing else left to do with that aircraft.
“I think it’s going to be some time before we see whether it can establish a large viable market... in the way that Concorde never managed to do.”
These concerns have not stopped interest from other players.
US aerospace giant Boeing had last month unveiled its “hypersonic” airliner concept, which it hopes will fly at Mach 5 — or five times the speed of sound — when it arrives on the scene in 20 to 30 years.
And in April, NASA inked a deal for US giant Lockheed Martin to develop a supersonic “X-plane.”