RIYADH, 16 October 2004 — A top official of the Prince Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz Science Park (PASP) said the facility could serve as a nucleus for setting up business incubators in the Kingdom.
PASP Chairman Professor Halim Hamid Redhwi pointed out that commercial companies and universities that operate within the framework of the science park will stand to benefit from PASP, the first of its kind in the Middle East.
Redhwi was delivering a lecture on “Science and Technology Parks: A new era for sustainable technology-based development” at a recent meeting of the British Alumni, sponsored by the British Council.
British Ambassador Sir Sherard Cowper -Coles and Director of British Council Alan Smart were also present at the function.
“Companies could get access to university research and the university staff could also get experience of working on real research problems faced by high-tech companies,” Redhwi said, adding that international companies are currently working with the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) on cutting edge research related to the oil and gas industry in the Kingdom.
Besides this mutual relationship between the university and established companies, he said, the park promotes local and regional private startup enterprises and entrepreneurs through its incubation program. In addition to providing land and infrastructure, PASP provides unique opportunities and growth incentives for these start-up companies through specialized growth environments.
Referring to PASP’s objectives, he said it is an ambitious initiative to accelerate technological innovation and development in the region through the combined synergy of industry and university. Its purpose is the creation and growth of a highly collaborative research and learning environment between the industry and university through the shared utilization of resources, joint research programs, and the exchange and transfer of technology.
PASP was established in 2003 in affiliation to KFUPM. Located on a 300,000 square meter site, north of the KFUPM main campus, the park is closely integrated with the university. The location with its proximity to science and engineering colleges provides for considerable interaction between tenant firms, their personnel and university scientists and engineers.
In addition to providing land, infrastructure, PASP offers unique opportunities and incentives for start-up companies through specialized growth environments in the park’s technology incubator.
Redhwi, who led a delegation from KFUPM in March this year to the United Kingdom, said KFUPM Science Park made advances learning from the experiences of the science park companies established in UK universities. “We got specific help from Manchester Science Park (MSP) about its structure and by-laws,” he said. Redhwi was subsequently invited to represent Saudi universities at a British Council International Seminar on ‘Enterprise, the university and cultural change’ in June this year , which took place at the University of Warwick. He was accompanied by a representative of industry in Saudi Arabia, Tariq Najmi, who it is hoped will be one of the first Saudi businessman to become a tenant in the new KFUPM Science Park (PASP)