Saudi Vision 2030 has been endorsed as a Clear Goal set for Economy and National Development Works of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Vision 2030 seeks to identify Kingdoms' General Directions, Policies, Aspirations and Targets. It also aims to display Capabilities and Strength points of the country to help sustain the pioneering position held by Kingdom in all domains.
The National Transformation Program has been put forward as one of the various executive programs that work towards realizing the Vision 2030 plan.
NTP identifies several strategic objectives related to the vision, and address challenges present upto 2020 mentioned therein through specific goals. Each year, the program identifies Initiatives to be undertaken to achieve these Objectives and sets detailed plans of interim indicators, for the Measurement and Performance tracking. The program was launched across 24 government agencies in its first year. It is planned that the program will expand to cover more agencies each year.
Ministry of Education have previously launched a series of bold Transformational Initiatives to help achieve the Goals set by Saudi Vision 2030, and by the National Transformation Program for General and Higher education. Adding to these, now there is a demanding commitment to strengthen the whole ecosystem of Organizations, Foundations and Research and Development Works and Activities based in Saudi Arabia.
It is also needed to ensure that outputs produced by this sector are commercialized successfully, this is rational economic perspective. There is no other Objective which has same Direct or Effective Impact on both the Quality and International Position of Saudi universities, and on the new value engines that are anticipated enormously to enhance the Balance, Diversity and Performance of the Saudi Economy.
Our target is to have at least 5 Universities in 200 World Best Universities. Our focus should be on Research and Development and it should be a Major Empowerment Factor towards this end. Ministry’s mission is to achieve all these benefits in ways, that are in complete alignment with the National Priorities. We are in highly Adequate and Qualifying Position to execute such a mission.
Research and Development sector in the Kingdom is a principal component of our economy. When performing well, it is considered as a source of New Knowledge Development, and for Promotion of Innovative and Value-creating Products and Services. Nevertheless, we believe that it have to work better and be sure, it will work better. The New Program set by the Ministry is meant to assist in the realization of that, through Utilization of previous plans and currently available Infrastructure.
We have inspected the current working situation of the Research and Development sector, and prepared with a wide group of concerned partners, a comparison of its processes and performance with related sectors representing world best practices. This gave us a clear understanding of Strength Points that we can build on, and gave us Weak Points also to rectify.
Good news is that Saudi Research and Development sector have achieved noticeable progress in some fields in the recent years and that the sector entertains several obvious strength points. For example, since 2013, total peer-reviewed publications have surpassed 65 thousand works, which is astonishing when compared with many other economies. Many of these Innovations were already put into execution. Similarly, the National Science, Technology and Innovation plan holds a strong portfolio of Research and Development programs. Until now, R&D received more than 3.4 billion Saudi Riyals in funds.
Still there is a considerable room for Improvement, so that the Research and Development sector becomes more integrated to help ensure more synergetic collaboration and more efficient transfer of knowledge to happen. This sector profoundly needs better understanding of the Private sector Requirements and Priorities, when the former has to introduce meaningful incentives, capable of pushing demand for research and development performed locally.
It also needs to build talents, particularly in Science, Engineering, Information Technology, Biotechnology and Health Science. In the same vein, it needs to invest in basic infrastructure that is necessary for Quality Research and Development embarkings, especially in the upcoming phase of Outputs Commercialization. Finally, this sector has to focus far more, than what it does presently on Outcome and Impact Standards like Licensing, Commercialization, Economic Returns and Quality.
As part of the ongoing Ministry efforts, and with collaboration with concerned partners, we have formalized a Strategic Framework to oversee the strengthening of Research and Development sector. This framework is composed of a number of pillars, including:
Priority Adaptation - Ensure that Research and Development funding is adaptable to current National Priorities;
- Talents - Ensure that our Human Resources have capacities suitable in all the skill areas of the R&D sector;
- Adequate Funding - To ensure that the Right Funding is available to guarantee valuable outcomes;
Performance Measurement - To focus on Quality and Economic ends, not only on measuring deliverables like the count of published works;
Partnerships - With private sector and world leading R&D organizations;
Projects - Encouraging entrepreneurship spirit across the Kingdom to help create demand for Research and Development.
In this context, I am pleased to announce that we have held a workshop on 11th of May 2017, and hosted more than 30 involved partners working in various parts of the Research and Development sector in the Kingdom, including 20 R&D Organizations, where we validated our Strategic Framework and discussed the future of the sector in the country. We deeply value the active contribution of the participants in the Workshop, and we look forward to get more benefit from their experience whilst specific development efforts are getting into shape.
Based on the above, I am pleased to announce that the Ministry’s progression into the second phase of its Research and Development program, which is focusing on the following:
Develop a roadmap that targets reinforcement of the Research and Development Ecosystem.
Identify initiative priorities and some near term Quick Wins.
Enhance clarity of program management processes to guarantee better collaboration amongst respective partners.
To formalize the appropriate management model, it is crucial to collaborate with a wide group of concerned partners (other Government Agencies, University and Industry Leaders, International Partners ...etc) while we move into the issues of Sector Management, National priority Domains and Areas, Performance Management and Research works financing.
More importantly the upcoming phase will involve launch of a Number of Initiatives that works for Instant and Middle term influences on the sector’s robustness. For the Introduction and Conception of these initiatives, we will work hand in hand with our respective partners towards:
Development and enhancement of the talent base across the Research and Development value chain, especially with regard for Product Development and Commercialization.
Establishment of partnerships between World Leading Organizations and the Private Sector.
Minimizing Bureaucratic Procedures.
In certain cases, Provision of University-level Research Funding Schemes.
The comprehensive roadmap and the initiatives priorities will be announced in due time, through coordination with our Universities, Ministry will undertake a proactive role to collaborate with respective partners at the Launch and Execution of these initiatives. Several of these initiatives are aligned with Ministry’s' wider role that encompasses capacity building and creation of an appropriate environment for success.
I would like to thank again our Respective partners in Research and Development sector for their support towards the progress we have made until now, and we look forward for more collaboration and for better impact.
I would finally point out, that you can visit our website for additional information on the Research and Development program.