Online platform for research chairs hailed as key development for Saudi universities

Saudi universities have made progress at the international level. (AFP/File)
Saudi universities have made progress at the international level. (AFP/File)
Short Url
Updated 01 December 2021

Online platform for research chairs hailed as key development for Saudi universities

Saudi universities have made progress at the international level. (AFP/File)
  • Remarkable progress has been made in recent years in improving the standards of research in Saudi Arabia

MAKKAH: The recent launch of an online platform for research chairs at universities in Saudi Arabia is an innovative step, experts said, that aims to enhance the management of research and innovation at Saudi universities and encourage the development of innovative solutions, so that the nation can more effectively benefit from the progress they bring.
Research chair positions, reserved by educational institutions for top researchers whose work can advance the frontiers of knowledge, are relatively new in Saudi Arabia. But they are already having a positive effect on the research community in terms of fostering talent, encouraging innovative research and helping to develop the leaders of the future in a number of academic fields. This in turn is benefiting the wider education system and culture in the Kingdom.
Last week, Mohammed Al-Sudairi, the deputy minister of education for universities, research and innovation, officially launched the Research Chairs Forum during an event at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University. Experts and researchers from 40 universities and colleges joined 70 research chairs from Saudi universities and other guests at the launch of the platform.
The participants discussed the development of a model for efficient funding strategies for research chairs at universities and reviewed the role they can play in addressing important national development issues.
“The organization of the Research Chairs Forum comes in the context of the Ministry of Education’s constant interest in maximizing the role of universities and developing their research facilities, through research chairs,” Al-Sudairi said during the launch.

HIGHLIGHT

The participants discussed the development of a model for efficient funding strategies for research chairs at universities and reviewed the role they can play in addressing important national development issues.

“They are a bridge with the community to keep pace with its (the community’s) requirements and meet its developmental needs, thus achieving the aspirations of the leadership, in line with the priorities of Saudi Vision 2030”.
Remarkable progress has been made in recent years in improving the standards of research in Saudi Arabia. This is reflected in the fact that in January, the Kingdom ranked first in the Arab world and 14th globally in terms of publishing research about COVID-19, according to the Web of Science website. More generally, 65 percent of all scientific papers published by universities in Arab countries were from institutions in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, Saudi universities have made progress at the international level in the field of innovation. Three state universities ranked among the top 50 on the list of universities granted patents in 2020, in terms of the number of patents registered in the US, according to annual figures compiled by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals ranked 14th globally last year, according to data released by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which highlights the vital role of patents in university research and innovation.
King Abdulaziz University ranked 33rd, an improvement of 50 positions in just one year. King Saud University was in 45th place.
Ahmed Al-Thobaity, supervisor of the Office of Scientific and Academic Chairs at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam, told Arab News that Saudi universities have made great strides in recent years in the area of scientific research, in keeping with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030, and that the significant progress made by several universities in global rankings is testimony to their successes.
He said the launch of an online platform for research chairs reflects the interest of the country’s leaders in supporting science and scientists. He added that he hopes it will be provide a starting point for enhanced cooperation among researchers from all the country’s universities to help build effective scientific partnerships between institutions to improve the quality of scientific research.
Al-Thobaity said that the platform is particularly important for promoting the sharing of expertise between well-established universities and those founded more recently, thereby reducing gaps in the quality of scientific study that can exist between older and newer institutions.
“This platform is also important in establishing a comprehensive database for research chairs that helps researchers in the country and acts, for media platforms, like a source to promote the Kingdom’s great advances in science, in accordance with numbers, data and accurate statistics,” he added.
“Another benefit is establishing lines of communication between the private sector and universities, to channel financial support to the most modern findings of science in various fields.”
Manal Abdul Aziz Al-Shadde, a former dean of scientific research at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, predicted that the new platform will indeed help to enhance cooperation between researchers and universities.
“Universities take private initiatives to promote scientific research between researchers from different universities,” she told Arab News. “However, this platform is the culmination of these initiatives, with the Ministry of Education’s systematic work, with all its technical and human potential.”
Al-Shadde said the language of science has no boundaries or borders and aims to serve all people.
“We aspire to make this platform a pioneer in enhancing cooperation, sharing expertise and optimizing human and financial resources and equipment,” she added. “We will soon see the great impact of this platform in supporting our research efforts at our universities, institutions and research centers.”


Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK and US to continue joint efforts to support Sudan

Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK and US to continue joint efforts to support Sudan
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK and US to continue joint efforts to support Sudan

Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK and US to continue joint efforts to support Sudan

RIYADH: The Sudanese quartet on Monday affirmed its commitment to continue joint efforts to achieve lasting stability in Sudan, a statement on Saudi Press Agency said.
Representatives of the quartet — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Britain and the US — held a meeting at the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh to discuss developments in Sudan.
The quartet also affirmed that it would continue to implement the reform agenda, provide support to Sudan, and support the UN Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS).


Saudi and Iraq air forces discuss promoting joint action

Commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force Lt. Gen. Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz meets his Iraqi counterpart Gen. Shihab Jahid Ali. (SPA)
Commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force Lt. Gen. Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz meets his Iraqi counterpart Gen. Shihab Jahid Ali. (SPA)
Updated 18 January 2022

Saudi and Iraq air forces discuss promoting joint action

Commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force Lt. Gen. Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz meets his Iraqi counterpart Gen. Shihab Jahid Ali. (SPA)

RIYADH: Lt. Gen. Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, the commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force, met with his Iraqi counterpart Gen. Shihab Jahid Ali during his visit to Riyadh.
During the meeting, they discussed issues of interest to the two forces and ways to promote joint action, the Kingdom’s defense ministry said on Monday.
The two sides also exchanged mementos on the occasion.
The Iraqi air force commander is scheduled to visit a number of air force units and the Saqr Aljazeera Aviation Museum during his visit.


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince condemns Houthi attack on UAE during call with Abu Dhabi counterpart

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince condemns Houthi attack on UAE during call with Abu Dhabi counterpart
Updated 29 min 46 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince condemns Houthi attack on UAE during call with Abu Dhabi counterpart

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince condemns Houthi attack on UAE during call with Abu Dhabi counterpart
  • The two leaders pledged to continue to confront the aggressive practices carried out by the Houthi militia
  • They called on the international community to stand up to these flagrant violations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made a phone call to his Abu Dhabi counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, during which he condemned an attack on the UAE by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen.

The militia attacked the capital Abu Dhabi using missiles and drones, setting off explosions in fuel trucks that killed three people and injured six others and causing a fire near the airport.

And in another incident, eight explosive-laden drones were launched by the Houthis toward Saudi Arabia, all of which were intercepted.

The two leaders affirmed that these terrorist acts that targeted the Kingdom and the UAE would increase both countries’ “resolve and their determination to continue to confront those aggressive practices” carried out by the Houthi militia, who have wreaked havoc in Yemen, killing the Yemeni people and continue its “miserable and unsuccessful attempts to spread chaos” with the aim of destabilizing the region’s security and stability.

The crown princes called on the international community to stand up to these flagrant violations of international law and norms and to reject and condemn these terrorist crimes that threaten regional and international peace and security, a statement on Saudi Press Agency said.

The Saudi crown prince expressed his deepest condolences for the deceased and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

Sheikh Mohammed thanked Prince Mohammed for the sincere sentiments, which confirmed the solid ties and close bond that unite the two countries and peoples and their determination to confront terrorism.

During the call, they also discussed regional affairs and issues of common interest, the statement added.

Also on Monday, Saudi deputy minister for defense Prince Khalid bin Salman said the Houthis’ aggression against the Kingdom and UAE represented a threat to the security of the two countries and the entire region, and showed they were not interested in political solutions to the Yemeni conflict.

He added the militia had chosen an path of escalation and would bear responsibility for tampering with the future of Yemen and for its attacks on neighboring countries.

Prince Khalid urged the international community to stand up to such Houthi transgressions, including its threatening of security of international waterways, and to their regional supporter, Iran, who he said considered the region and its security as negotiating cards.

He also said Iran’s continued support of the militia with weapons and equipment through the ports of Hodeidah and Salif represented a violation of UN resolutions and international laws and norms, and called for an international effort to address it.

Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Twitter the Houthi militia's attacks against the Kingdom and UAE today constitute a threat to the region's security and stability.

The attacks also confirm that this militia has become a major source of threats to regional and international security and stability, he said.

Prince Faisal added that the Kingdom and the Coalition continue to support international efforts to bring peace to Yemen and that the Kingdom’s initiative to find a political solution to the Yemeni crisis is still on the table.

"At the same time, we are fully prepared and ready to deal with the Houthi intransigence, and to defend the security of the Kingdom and our region." he said.

State minister for foreign affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said that the Houthi militia's "cowardly terrorist attacks" against the Kingdom and UAE "are an extension of their actions that threaten the security and stability of the region and the international sea lanes".

Al-Jubeir added  that Saudi Arabia and its Coalition partners have exerted efforts to reach a political solution to the Yemeni crisis, including the Saudi initiative to support the UN efforts, which were faced with the militia's rejection and intransigence.

" We are continuing these efforts and defending our security and the security of the region and sea shipping lanes, to achieve security and stability in the region and the world." he said.
 


Visitors swarm Saudi Arabia’s Jazan Honey Festival

Around 3,500 kilograms of honey were sold at last year’s festival with a total value of more than SR2 million. The event aims to support local beekeepers. (SPA)
Around 3,500 kilograms of honey were sold at last year’s festival with a total value of more than SR2 million. The event aims to support local beekeepers. (SPA)
Updated 17 January 2022

Visitors swarm Saudi Arabia’s Jazan Honey Festival

Around 3,500 kilograms of honey were sold at last year’s festival with a total value of more than SR2 million. The event aims to support local beekeepers. (SPA)
  • Event showcases the region’s tourism, economic, and investment components

JEDDAH: The seventh Jazan Honey Festival is attracting more fans in the region’s Edabi governorate, where the event is held annually.

The festival was recently launched by Jazan Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz. He was briefed upon his arrival about the festival’s activities and the accompanying events.
Local resident Dr. Mohammed Al-Ghazwani said the festival sought to introduce and showcase the region’s various agricultural, tourism, economic, and investment components, including honey.
He added that the festival, where 50 beekeepers were displaying various types of first-class natural honey, also aimed to support local beekeepers and that it had helped apiarists to invest in the region’s fertile environment to produce commercial quantities.
“The festival also helps Jazan’s honey farmers to develop packaging methods for their honey products, in light of the support and care given by the wise leadership aiming to develop the country and serve citizens and improve their well-being,” Al-Ghazwani said in a speech on behalf of locals. “Over 700 kilograms of honey have so far been sold over the last three days of the festival, worth more than SR250,000 (around $67,000).”
Around 3,500 kilograms of honey were sold at last year’s festival with a total value of more than SR2 million.

HIGHLIGHT

The festival was recently launched by Jazan Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz. He was briefed upon his arrival about the festival’s activities and the accompanying events.

A local visitor to the festival, Mohammed Hassan Hakami, told Arab News that the region could produce different types of honey including sidr, which was a well-liked and popular variety in the Kingdom.
“In the region, we also have other honey types, such as Al-Qatad, Al-Majra, Al-Samrah, and Al-Shawkah. We also have different types of fine beeswax,” Hakami said.
He bought 2 kilograms of sidr tree honey and expressed his confidence that the festival’s organizers would not allow low-quality honey to be put on sale.
Honeybee expert Faiz Al-Quthami said that Salam honey could not be produced anywhere else but Jazan.
“Jazan is the best region for producing bees, honey, and beeswax. The region also has mangrove honey, which is higher in medicinal and nutritional value than any other type of honey. However, many beekeepers pay less attention to this type of honey,” he said.
Al-Quthami said that some types of honey were more expensive than others simply because of the shortage of the produced quantities.
He said that Majra honey, for example, was produced in small batches due to its short season but that this factor justified its high prices when compared to those of sidr tree honey.
“Sidr honey is very popular in Saudi Arabia for its fine quality, availability, and reasonable price. Based on scientific research and studies, however, Al-Samar honey is the second-best honey after that of the mangrove shrubs.”


Saudi law of elderly is based on country’s customs and traditions

Saad Al-Hammad, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. (Supplied)
Saad Al-Hammad, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. (Supplied)
Updated 17 January 2022

Saudi law of elderly is based on country’s customs and traditions

Saad Al-Hammad, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. (Supplied)
  • Legislation will give the elderly ‘priority in services and investing their skills in a variety of fields’

RIYADH: It is important to ensure social protection for elderly people — be it quality of life, providing assistance, or investing their skills in various fields. Society, however, must know that these rights are part of Saudi Arabia’s social norms and traditions.

The Saudi Cabinet approved a new law to protect the rights of elderly citizens in the Kingdom earlier this month.
Saad Al-Hammad, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, said: “The new law strengthens the position of the elderly in society and is based on our customs and traditions, by giving the elderly priority in services and waiting areas and investing their skills in a variety of fields.”
This legislation, says Al-Hammad, grants the elderly special privileges and preserves their social, financial, and legal rights. It also sets harsh penalties, such as fines and imprisonment, for those who abuse the elderly, be they elderly individuals themselves or the private and government institutions that provide services to them.

HIGHLIGHT

This legislation, according to official, grants the elderly special privileges and preserves their social, financial, and legal rights.

He noted that the elderly have the right to choose to live with their families, and that sheltering in care homes depends on the situation of the elderly and what serves the public interest.

According to a UN report, those aged 65 and over made up around 3.4 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population. (Supplied)

“National centers are part of the transformation work in the elderly services, with the goal of achieving well-being and social integration for them, improving their status, and assisting families in providing care services for those who need them,” Al-Hammad explained.
According to Article 8 of the law, if a provider is unable to support the elderly financially, and no one in the elderly’s family can support them either, the ministry shall support them financially, according to what is specified by the regulation.
The ministry is obligated to enable the elderly to live in an environment that preserves their rights and dignity, and spreads awareness to clarify their rights. The ministry is also responsible for providing reliable statistical data about the elderly, which will benefit researchers in conducting studies and research.
The law also requires the ministry to organize and implement appropriate programs for the elderly, improve their skills, experiences, and hobbies, enhance their integration into society, encourage able-bodied elderly people to work, support their employers and promote volunteering activities serving the elderly.
The ministry must rehabilitate public and commercial facilities, residential neighborhoods, the surrounding environment, and mosques to ensure they are suitable for the needs of the elderly. They must also allocate places for the elderly in public facilities and at public events and urge the private sector, business owners, and civil bodies to care for them.
Government agencies should prioritize the elderly seeking basic services, particularly health and social services.
The ministry must also grant the elderly a privilege card that allows them to benefit from the public services to meet the necessities of their daily lives.
According to a UN report, those aged 65 and over made up around 3.4 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population, a figure it predicted could reach 6 percent by 2030.
Eng. Badr Al-Eyada, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Elderly Support Organization, stressed that it conducted a study on the situation of elderly care and launched a guide to services for the elderly. The guide presents services and facilities provided by the governmental, private, and civil sectors in 13 regions of the Kingdom.
Al-Eyada said his organization established and operated the first telephone consultation unit for the elderly in the Kingdom, which reflects its dedication to programs to facilitate telephone consultations for the medical, psychological, social, and legal needs of elderly people across the Kingdom.
He added that the approved law would provide the elderly with the care, attention, and protection they deserve, and helps ensure social security for the elderly, whilst significantly raising awareness of this group’s rights.