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'KAUST is not a castle, but an open university'

Tuesday March 22, 2011 03:57:51 PM, Agencies

An impressive overview of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Jeddah

Jeddah: An overview of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology's (KAUST) progress since its inception 19 months ago was provided by its top researchers at a session on the sidelines of the ongoing 11th Jeddah Economic Forum on Monday.

Within a short span, KAUST has to its credit a number of exclusive researches, with efforts continuing to make them beneficial to Saudi Arabia's commercial ventures.


"KAUST is not a castle, but an open university. Although our research studies are of international level, we'll endeavor to make them useful to the local business community, including small and medium enterprises," Professor Jean Marie Basset, director of Catalysis Research Center at KAUST, said.

Terrence McElwee, director of technology transfer and innovation, and Amin Shibani, vice president of economic development, both at KAUST, also gave presentations at the session conducted by Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Vice Chairman Lama A. Al-Sulaiman.

Asked by a questioner how beneficial is KAUST to the student community in general, Shibani said KAUST is currently planning a summer program for students, both Saudi and expatriate.


"This is aimed at bringing students closer to the activities of KAUST," Shibani said, adding: "We are going ahead with our targeted audience in the initial stages."

Al-Sulaiman emphasized that the JCCI, in the interest of its members, is interested in getting the advantage of KAUST, which is shaping into a world-class research center with its slogan "A new house of wisdom" and located just about 90 km from Jeddah.


"Since its mission is to contribute to knowledge economy, we would like to be in touch with KAUST through its user network so that our members benefit from its research activities," she added.

In this connection, McElwee said could be of immense advantage to the business community.


Explaining, he added, MENA400 is a new way to approach technology-based economic development that focuses on what individuals can do now. It helps with new business ideas, new ways to obtain key technologies not currently available in the region, new business models customized for the region or a country, new user networks around topics like venture capital or patent licensing, new online tools and resources to extend the power of the network, and partnerships between researchers and companies who need R&D solutions. After all, a little inspiration goes a long way.


"We are here to help companies build them their own designs and networks; we don't make designs and networks for them, he said. "KAUST aims at becoming a leading model; transfer of our researches from the lab to the marketplace is the challenge," he added.

A questioner provided an interesting point of discussion when he said Jeddah was producing a huge amount of volcanic ash through the business of recycling of automobile tires. "It's emitting a huge amount of black carbon (to the detriment of the environment), he said and wanted to know how KAUST could help him. "Used tires found around the city are a huge problem," he said.






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Picture of the Day

President of India Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil addressing at the inauguration of the National Festival of Tribal Dances, ‘PRAKRITI’, in New Delhi on March 16, 2011. Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Culture, Kum. Selja, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Kantilal Bhuria and Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Mahadev S. Khandela are also seen.

(Photo: Mukesh Kumar)



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