Online platform for research chairs hailed as key development for Saudi universities
MAKKAH: The recent launch of an online platform for research chairs in universities in Saudi Arabia is an innovative step, experts said, which aims to improve the management of research and innovation in Saudi universities and encourage the development of innovative solutions, so that the nation can better benefit from the progress they bring.
Research chair positions, reserved by educational institutions for top researchers whose work can advance the frontiers of knowledge, are relatively new in Saudi Arabia. But they are already having a positive effect on the research community in terms of promoting talent, encouraging innovative research and developing tomorrow’s leaders in several academic fields. This in turn benefits the education system and the wider culture of the Kingdom.
Last week, Mohammed Al-Sudairi, Deputy Minister of Education for Universities, Research and Innovation, officially launched the Research Chairs Forum at an event at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University. Experts and researchers from 40 universities and colleges joined 70 Saudi university research chairs and other guests at the launch of the platform.
Participants discussed the development of a model of effective funding strategies for research chairs in universities and discussed the role they can play in solving important national development challenges.
“The organization of the Forum of Research Chairs falls within the context of the constant interest of the Ministry of Education in maximizing the role of universities and developing their research facilities, through research chairs”, Al-Sudairi said at the launch.
“They constitute a bridge with the community to keep pace with its demands (of the community) and meet its development needs, thus realizing the aspirations of the leaders, in line with the priorities of Saudi Vision 2030.”
Remarkable progress has been made in recent years in improving research standards in Saudi Arabia. This is reflected in the fact that in January, the Kingdom ranked first in the Arab world and 14th globally in terms of publication of research on COVID-19, according to the Web of Science website. More generally, 65 percent of all scientific papers published by universities in Arab countries came from institutions in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, Saudi universities have advanced internationally in the field of innovation. Three state universities ranked in the top 50 on the list of universities that obtained patents in 2020, in terms of the number of patents registered in the United States, according to annual figures compiled by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals ranked 14th in the world last year, according to data released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which highlights the vital role of patents in research and l university innovation.
King Abdulaziz University ranked 33rd, an improvement of 50 positions in just one year. King Saud University was in 45th place.
Ahmed Al-Thobaity, supervisor of the Office of Scientific and Academic Chairs at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam, told Arab News that Saudi universities have made great strides in recent years in scientific research, according to to Saudi Arabia’s goals. Vision 2030, and that the significant progress made by several universities in global rankings is a testament to their success.
He said the launch of an online platform for research chairs reflects the interest of the country’s leaders in supporting science and scientists. He added that he hopes it will provide a starting point for enhanced cooperation between researchers from all universities in the country to help build effective scientific partnerships between institutions to improve the quality of scientific research.
Al-Thobaity said the platform is particularly important for promoting the sharing of expertise between well-established universities and those founded more recently, thereby reducing the gaps in the quality of scientific studies that may exist between older and older institutions. recent.
“This platform is also important to establish a comprehensive database for research chairs which assists researchers in the country and acts, for media platforms, as a source to promote the great scientific advances of the Kingdom, in accordance with precise numbers, data and statistics, âhe added.
“Another advantage is the establishment of lines of communication between the private sector and universities, to channel financial support towards the most modern scientific discoveries in various fields.”
Manal Abdul Aziz Al-Shadde, former dean of scientific research at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, predicted that the new platform will indeed help strengthen cooperation between researchers and universities.
“Universities are taking private initiatives to promote scientific research among researchers from different universities,” she told Arab News. “However, this platform is the culmination of these initiatives, with the systematic work of the Ministry of Education, with all its technical and human potential.”
Al-Shadde said that the language of science has no boundaries or boundaries and aims to serve everyone.
“We aspire to make this platform a pioneer in improving cooperation, sharing expertise and optimizing human and financial resources and equipment,” she added. âWe will soon see the great impact of this platform by supporting our research efforts in our universities, institutions and research centers. “