Industry, Logistics & Shipping

Top Saudi organisations form alliance to drive innovation

Six key partners from industry, research and academia have formed an alliance to drive the commercialisation and application of innovative research and development activities in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabia Advanced Research Alliance (Saara) is a new partner-based collaboration between the organisations that span Saudi Arabia’s public and private sectors. It will provide a focal point within Saudi Arabia to bring industry and academia together to find ways to translate technology and intellectual property into commercially available products and applications.

To mark the establishment of Saara, a signing ceremony took place today in Dhahran under the patronage of Ali Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

Al-Naimi said: “The establishment of the Saara alliance is a very welcome initiative and will help stimulate continued economic growth in the kingdom.”

The Saara partners are: Saudi Aramco, the leading global integrated energy and chemicals company; King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Saudi Arabia’s premier national science agency and its national R&D labs; King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), an institution known for its competitive graduates, leadership in science and engineering programs, and accumulated innovation push; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a world-class, graduate-level science and technology university, inspiring a new age of scientific achievement; Taqnia, the technology arm of the Saudi Public Investments Fund, and a knowledge-based industries accelerator; and RTI International, one of the world’s leading research institutes dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice.

As its first action, Saara has established Technovia, a new venture dedicated to maintaining a systematic, staged process to build a pipeline of commercialisation opportunities in Saudi Arabia.
Located at the Dhahran Techno Valley, and with offices in Riyadh and Thuwal, Technovia will be operated by Taqnia and RTI. Technovia will work with stakeholders to prepare technologies for the strongest market entry and position them competitively for external investment and funding. It will screen ideas for those with highest commercial potential, conduct intellectual property assessment, market research and competitive analysis, develop and test prototypes and field-able demonstrations, and prepare technologies for commercial launch.

Dr Mohammed Al Suwaiyel, president, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, said: “As a sign of our focus and intent, the Saara partners’ first action is to create Technovia - a new venture that will bridge the gap between research and industry by streamlining the processes required to rapidly transform great ideas into high-impact commercial solutions that can be readily adopted by industry.”

Khalid A Al-Falih, president and CEO, Saudi Aramco, said: “Saudi Aramco is proud of its contribution to developing the kingdom’s world-class research and innovation infrastructure and we are committed to continuing to raise the bar even higher. Saara and Technovia’s focus on the rapid commercialisation of innovative technologies will have a multiplier-effect, stimulating innovation, driving growth in new industrial sectors and helping to further diversify the kingdom’s economy.”

Dr Turki bin Saud Al-Saud, vie president for research institutes, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and chairman, Taqnia, said: “A critical need for the success of the national science, technology and innovation plan is to bridge the gap between R&D and industry. We expect Saara and Technovia to bridge part of this gap by its affiliation with an industrial leader like Saudi Aramco and leading R&D organizations like KFUPM, KAUST, and KACST.”

Outlining the need to streamline intellectual property commercialization processes in the kingdom, Dr Khaled Al-Sultan, rector, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, said: “Saudi Arabia’s improved R&D infrastructure requires a stronger technology commercialization pipeline. This alliance will strengthen the national innovation ecosystem and help drive a diversified economy for the kingdom.”

Dr Jean-Lou Chameau, president, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, said: “Technovia will help accelerate Kaust's economic and technology development impact on Saudi Arabia’s key national strategic priorities. This collaboration will become a platform for all research universities in the kingdom and offer Saudi-based and global companies opportunities to impact the knowledge economy within the nation.” - TradeArabia News Service