Scientific research and technological advancement are pivotal elements of the progress and prosperity of nations in various developmental areas, as developed countries, striving towards progress, have long understood. In fact, the developed countries have spared no expense on research and development (R&D), dedicating a considerable portion of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to this purpose, which has led to the phenomenal scientific and information revolution we witness today. It has also led to the fierce competition which effectively relies on financial and economic power, as well as the possession of novel and information technology.
In this day and age, we are witnessing development at an increasing pace in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as the proliferation of beneficial developmental projects, in addition to an ongoing race to improve the quality of life. We are also noticing a growing interest amongst the members of society in all areas of life, in a world where the strength and position of nations are measured by their achievements in terms of growth, as well as their ability to benefit and employ scientific and technological progress in developmental projects.
Realizing that any developmental effort has to be based on a solid scientific foundation, our government has dedicated great attention to science and technology Thus came the conception of King Abdulaziz for Science and Technology (KACST) in 1397H, to promote and support applied scientific research that contribute to development in the Kingdom, supporting and coordinating the tasks of scientific institutions and research centers in that area, according to the developmental needs of the Kingdom.
KACST has supported many scientific research projects aiming to serve developmental issues in various sectors. These research projects have yielded good results which have benefited various parties of both the private and public sectors. KACST has also provided scientists, researchers and students in Saudi universities with considerable support and services.
KACST is also in the process of implementing many research projects in its labs and research centers which are well equipped. KACST research helps in solving many developmental problems that the Kingdom encounters in different areas of both the public and private sectors.
The studies, consultations and services of KACST reach most of the government's ministries. Including the Ministry of Higher Education, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense and Aviation. At the lead of the large institutions which deal with KACST are ARAMCO (the Saudi Arabian Oil Company), SABIC (the Saudi Basic Industries Cooperation), STC (the Saudi Telecommunications Company), SPIMACO (the Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries & Medical Appliances Corporation), AEC (the Advanced Electronics Company), SEC (the Saudi Electricity Company), MAADEN (the Saudi Arabian Mining Company), NADEC (The National Agricultural Development Company), SAUDI OGER, and ALMARAI.
In terms of international cooperation, KACST is an effective partner of many allied countries… the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency), the UNESCO (the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the UNIDO (the United Nations Industrial Development Organization), not to mention the majority of Islamic scientific networks and world scientific associations.
The efforts of KACST in the area of science and technology have culminated in the approval of the Council of Ministers of the National Policy of Science and Technology, as the first step towards completing the strategy and plans needed to implement the policies of the Comprehensive National Plan for Science and Technology, which outline and define the future directions of the system of science, technology and innovation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
KACST has successfully completed the first quinquennial plan for science and technology (1427/1428-1431/1432H) in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Planning, and with the participation of many related parties in the Kingdom, with the State assigning approximately 8 billion SAR for this period of time.
These practical and consecutive efforts will undoubtedly propel scientific research, giving us great hope in the optimal realization of the policies outlined in the plan. This is furthermore true with the presence of success factors such as clear vision, solid planning and implementation, as well as the involvement and active participation of related parties, all the while employing the local and international expertise available in that area. All of this will, God Willing, help promote our national security, comprehensive development and economy, and achieve the individual and societal prosperity which the Kingdom strives to obtain.
Dr. Mohammed ibn Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel