(MENAFN - Arab News) Given the importance of innovation and its role in the growth and diversification of the economy, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) organized recently a major workshop on the five disciplines for innovation.
KACST worked in collaboration with the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International from the United States. The BADIR program for Technology Incubators represented KACST at the workshop.
The event was held both at KACST's headquarters and at the Incubator Initiative for Biotechnology (IIB) at King Fahd Medical City and was attended by experts from the United States and Saudi Arabia.
SRI, one of the largest research institutes worldwide, is committed to discovery and to the application of science and technology for knowledge, commerce, prosperity, and peace. SRI has a broad charter that encourages people to make a difference in the world through basic and applied research, research services, technology development, and commercialization of our innovations. It is to be the premier independent source of high-value innovations and solutions.
According to the organizers, the workshop aimed to educate the participants - heads of department, officials and various entrepreneurs - on the importance of innovation in any establishment and its impact on the local economy.
The workshop dealt with several unique and interesting innovations, and discussed ways to develop feasible propositions for customers and companies, enabling them to recognize the role of key players in innovative processes. It also aimed to enhance opportunities for cooperation and effective coordination to build the best possible teams, while identifying and avoiding obstacles on the path of innovative practices.
The workshop included an interactive program on important initiatives. These helped avoid barriers on the road to innovation, using best practices that achieved tangible results in the application of creative ideas.
The workshop was held within the framework of the outstanding efforts of KACST to support the principle of innovation and boost it in Saudi society's interest. This would achieve the workshop's vision to advance the process of sustainable development. The other objective was to accelerate the knowledge economy, the development and localization of technology in the Kingdom, through collaboration with major institutions, scientific and international universities to support technological entrepreneurship, and ensure the application of the latest and most effective methods used in the field.
Both the National Science and Technology Plan and the National Industry Strategy objectives look to diversify the economy through the development of non-oil technology industries, with the aim to build a knowledge economy in Saudi Arabia.
KACST is the nation's national research institute. It has been providing leadership for the creation of a National Innovation Eco-system. BADIR is an initiative that provides a practical strategy within Saudi Arabia's national innovation eco-system infrastructure.
BADIR is focused on supporting technological business opportunities and the development of technological entrepreneurship. KACST launched the BADIR program and established its first national technology incubator, BADIR-ICT, in 2008.
BADIR-ICT has already assisted in the creation and growth of a number of ICT businesses. Four further BADIR technology incubators, covering bio-technology, advanced manufacturing, nano-technology and energy sectors are at various stages of establishment.
KACST will support at least 11 other BADIR affiliate technology incubators in the next few years. These will be managed within universities and other institutions. BADIR and its affiliate technology incubators will be part of a national network, Saudi Business Incubator Network (SBIN). SBIN was also an initiative of KACST, which is supported by BADIR as its secretariat.
KACST have further supported technology incubation through organizing the first National Technology Incubation Forum in March 2009, which will be an annual event. At that forum it was announced that KACST was in the process of developing a National Technology Incubator Policy Framework.
That policy framework, entitled Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National Technology Business Incubation Policy Framework, envisages the Kingdom having 80 technology incubators by 2025. BADIR will play a national role to implement the policy and support the development of the national technology incubation industry.