(MENAFN - Arab News) A high-profile forum beginning at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) today will focus specifically on building a knowledge economy.
Organized by KFUPM with the support of Rector Khalid S. Al-Sultan, it is known as "KFUPM Technology Forum." This is the second consecutive year that such a conference is being organized by the university innovation and technology arm, Dhahran Techno Valley.
"The forum, to run for two days, aims to bring together representatives of universities, industries, funding and policy-making organizations along with technology transfer specialists and private capital investors," said Samir A. Al-Baiyat, supervisor, Dhahran techno Valley.
The real force behind the key conference is Iyad T. Al-Zaharnah. He is the director of Innovation Center at Dhahran Techno Valley. "International and local experts will present, exchange and discuss ideas/issues related to technology transfer from universities and university-industry partnerships for building a future Saudi knowledge economy," he told Arab News yesterday.
"The forum will include a variety of activities that explore into what is needed to create hubs for innovation at the campuses of Saudi universities and develop high-performance technology incubation eco-environments. This includes all the main phases of a technology product cycle - the research-based innovation, the technology business planning, the technology business growth and the technology venture investment and capitalization," said Al-Zaharnah.
The forum activities, he said, are designed to highlight the roles of university-industry research and development collaborations, the technology-related venture investments, the technical support and infrastructure (engineering, manufacturing, IT, etc.) for technology development and transfer in Saudi Arabia.
Highlighting the specific objectives of the conference, Al-Zaharnah said it aims to identify the impediments hindering effective technology development/transfer in Saudi Arabia. Speakers, including some of the well-known names in the world of innovation, will shed light on the requirements for creating favorable environments that bring Saudi Arabia large piece of the world R&D related foreign direct investment.
"It is anticipated that outcomes of the forum will provide an insight to the actual challenges facing technology transfer from universities and building effective university-industry technology partnerships in Saudi Arabia," said Al-Zaharnah.
KFUPM Rector Khalid S. Al-Sultan will deliver the opening address today at 9 a.m.
Among the speakers at the conference will be Sahel N. Abduljauwad, vice rector for applied research, KFUPM; Gasem S. Al-Shaikh, CEO, Petroleum, Chemicals and Mining Company Ltd.; Clive Rowland, CEO, University of Manchester Innovation Group; Dave Clark, director, Dhahran Research and Technology center, Baker Hughes; Halim Hamid Redhwi, vice president, Dhahran Techno-Valley Company and Amjad Shaikh, technology transfer executive, Dhahran Techno Valley.
Tomorrow, there will be a cafe style session at 1:30 p.m. where the attendees are expected to discuss the formation of a regional association for technology transfer. "This is going to be a very interesting session," said Al-Zaharnah.