quotes Researchers: The connecting link between policy and practice

05 December 2021
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Updated 05 December 2021

Researchers: The connecting link between policy and practice

Researchers and analysts offer a wide array of services to the public and private sectors. Data collected can be analyzed to show the strengths and weaknesses of a company or any entity. They analyze risks, needs, shortcomings, opportunities, and their key findings can improve policy and practice.
In Saudi Arabia, there has been a great emphasis on the impact that the public and private sectors have on the community. There are distinct gray areas that cannot be cleared except through the help of researchers and analysts. Every entity — public or private — needs a researcher in their midst. By doing so, they can develop their projects, knowing full well the different risk scenarios that they might encounter. The reports can support or inhibit the use and impact of a policy.
In recent years, the Kingdom has sent thousands of Saudis abroad on scholarships, specializing in a plethora of fields. The government has invested in education in and out of the Kingdom, increasing the number of educators, researchers, experts and more, but it is still not enough. A research chair platform was recently established, which will play a pivotal role as it will connect all universities under one umbrella. Newcomers can learn from the expertise of veterans in any field, share findings and more. We are still not at the level of advanced countries, but with support from the government and private entities, we will catch up soon, though there is a need to develop a quick plan of action to rectify this issue.
These days, anyone can call themselves an expert. It is a curious notion. It takes a long time to become an expert in a field. It requires special knowledge, deep experience and extraordinary skills.
Companies can be useful in acquiring talent, researchers, experts and consultants. Take Saudi Aramco, for example. It has three global research centers in Saudi Arabia, nine satellite centers and technology offices, a 60,000-square-foot lab and research space at the Houston Research Center in Texas, and 850 professionals housed in a new facility at Aramco headquarters in Dhahran, in the Eastern Province, while allocating its annual budget to keep it at the forefront of research.

These days, anyone can call themselves an expert. It is a curious notion. It takes a long time to become an expert in a field. It requires special knowledge, deep experience and extraordinary skills.

Noor A. Al-Naboud

Researchers and analysts add value to universities, government agencies and private institutions through their unique skill sets. Not only can they benefit that agency, but they can also help journalists with reports and news features. Due to the level of transparency, the data will show where strong points and weak points lie, as well as potential risks and benefits that do not serve one party alone, but all those involved.
Establishing research centers is one of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is keen to develop the country to better compete with more advanced nations.
We need to keep the dialogue going, support research and researchers in any given field, and, most of all, acquire the best Saudi researchers out there and put their expertise to good use. With their help, private and governmental sectors can advance and rapidly grow. In my opinion, Saudi researchers can be significant for two reasons. Firstly, they are more aware of their country’s needs, and understand the culture best and the need to grow efficiently and effectively with the least amount of risk. Secondly, our young men and women can absorb and provide comprehensive reports and plans in their respective fields when given a chance — and we are giving them a chance. Our educational institutions are working with them, and it all starts with one step.

• Noor A. Al-Naboud is a writer and insurance expert. Twitter handle: @moionlynoor