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Andrew Griffith

UK and KSA unveil joint plan to put research links into top gear

RIYADH, March 4, 2024

UK and Saudi Arabia have agreed to work together on the deep science and tech breakthroughs that underpin progress, in tackling some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, from food security to clean energy.
 
The UK Government Science Minister Andrew Griffith, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Minister Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha, are signing a Memorandum of Understanding on plans to elevate the two countries’ science and research links, in Riyadh.
 
The signing happens whilst Griffith is in KSA to attend LEAP 2024, a leading global tech event known as the ‘Digital Davos’, as well as to meet leading figures from some of the kingdom most promising research-intensive sectors, like space and life sciences.
 
Ambitious journey
Griffith said: “KSA is on an ambitious journey to modernise its economy and harnessing the power of science and technology is central to that transformation. This is a huge opportunity for UK businesses, scientists and researchers.
 
“Collaboration on a global scale is an essential part of realising the UK’s ambitions in science and innovation. The sheer scale of Saudi Arabia’s aspirations means this relationship will be a key part of our own hopes for science and tech, in the years to come.”
 
Innovations in science and technology form a key part of Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’, the country’s plan to diversify its economy – as well as deliver encouraging social reforms and improved human rights. The transition the country is going through represents an enormous opportunity for the UK economy, with a view to exporting our expertise in science and tech. 
 
As home to 4 of the world’s top 10 universities, and as just the third country in the world to boast a tech sector valued at over one trillion dollars, the UK has a huge amount to offer Saudi Arabia as a research and innovation partner.
 
Deep science
The MoU has the UK’s world-leading research expertise at its heart, setting out how the two countries will work together on the deep science, and deep tech that is fundamental to progress in health, tackling climate change, space and more. 
 
It also covers how links can be built between UK and KSA businesses, to harness innovative technologies and take the front foot on R&D. There are also plans for a series of regular meetings, to bring together key decisionmakers from both countries’ research sectors, the first of which will take place later this year.
 
The UK already has strong and significant economic links with Saudi Arabia – with Sabic (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) and Alfanar committing to investing a combined total of £1.85 billion ($2.34 billion) into decarbonisation and clean energy technology in Teesside. 
 
There are also growing science and technology links between the two kingdoms – with the UK and Saudi Arabia working together on the development of space-based solar power, a technology which could deliver clean energy, day and night.--TradeArabia News Service
 



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