Saudi Arabia’s HRH Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Launches US$200 Million Fund As Part Of A New KAUST Strategy To Support Tech Startups

Saudi Arabia’s HRH Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Launches US$200 Million Fund As Part Of A New KAUST Strategy To Support Tech Startups

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has unveiled a new strategy aimed at transforming research into economically viable innovations. Announced by HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and Chairman of the KAUST Board of Trustees in August 2023, this strategy will prioritize areas of national importance within research, development, and innovation (RDI), including health and wellness, sustainable environment and essential needs, energy and industrial leadership, and economies of the future. It is designed to enhance KAUST’s partnerships with the public and private sectors, aligning with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

 “Since its foundation, KAUST has distinguished itself with its research, innovations, and faculty, becoming one of the leading research universities globally,” said HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “The new strategy builds on KAUST’s scientific and academic achievements, marking a new era for the University to become a beacon of knowledge, and a source of inspiration and innovation, in harmony with Vi- sion 2030 aspirations for the betterment of the Kingdom and the world.”

 The strategy will adopt a three-pronged approach: launching the National Transformation Institute for Ap- plied Research (NTI) to accelerate technology development and commercialization, restructuring research centers to align with national RDI priorities, and creating a US$200 million fund to support local and international firms specializing in high-tech. It aims to offer oppor- tunities for KAUST researchers, faculty, and students to participate in creating sustainable global impact by strengthening international and local partnerships. Key initiatives from these partnerships include the KAUST Reefscape Restoration Initiative, which in collaboration with KSA’s urban area project NEOM, will cultivate and restore hundreds of thousands of coral reefs over an area of 100 hectares on Shushah Island in the Red Sea. KAUST will also continue its collaborations with prominent local and global companies such as Aramco, SABIC, ACWA Power, IBM, Dow, and Boeing. Additionally, the new KAUST strategy involves forging strategic cooperation agreements with leading academic and commercial institutes in Shenzhen, China, to collaborate on applied research in cutting-edge fields like aerospace, robotics, and microelectronics. Through these initiatives and partnerships, KAUST aims to contribute to the development of the higher education ecosystem, nurture future scientific research pioneers in the Kingdom, promote research and global innovation, and stimulate the growth of advanced technology startups.

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