The delegation’s visit follows the launch of the Ministry of Education’s R&D program, which has been identified as a top priority in transforming Saudi Arabia’s evolving economy.
“The UK… has always been a strong believer in international collaboration”
The delegation explored R&D and education partnership opportunities particularly in science, technology, engineering, and health fields in line with Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’.
The RDO was established in March 2018 with a projected three-year budget of $1.6 billion and a mandate to enhance the capability of Saudi public universities to conduct high-quality R&D.
The RDO has specifically earmarked $75 million of this budget for international R&D partners to incentivise scientists and researchers to find solutions to challenges including renewable energy, climate change, pollution management and efficient water usage.
Commenting on the visit, UK Universities minister Sam Gyimah said “the UK has some of the best researchers in the world and has always been a strong believer in international collaboration.
“We know that science and innovation flow by the exchange of ideas… I want to develop these relationships and work with our global partners, like Saudi Arabia, to generate the ideas and products of tomorrow.”
Director-General of the Research and Development Office at the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education Hisham Alhadlaq, who led the delegation, echoed Gyimah’s support for international cooperation.
“The UK was selected for this collaborative delegation visit as it is considered a global R&D powerhouse,” he said.
Speaking to The PIE News, Alhadlaq said one of the aims of the visit was to set up collaboration opportunities at the individual level and engage with students early on in their studies.
“From this visit, we have learned the mechanisms for this are very important, that’s why we have an international collaboration initiative and its why we are launching an international exchange initiative to allow people to freely be engaged with each other when it comes to research.
“The UK is leading in science and technology – that’s why we think Saudi Arabian students get a lot from studying in the UK, and we encourage our students to study abroad there,” he added.