Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

Case Study: KACST Technology Innovation Center in Radio Frequency and Photonics

Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

Case Study: KACST Technology Innovation Center in Radio Frequency and Photonics

Article excerpt

This introductory section provides the necessary background for presenting the Technology Innovation Centers (TICs) supported by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). The section starts by introducing the main features of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and its drive toward building a knowledge-based society. KACST as the main national Saudi center for knowledge development is then introduced in terms of both its vision and its mission. The strategic bases of the Saudi National Science and Technology Policy (SNSTP), developed with KASCT contribution, are then described. Their associated practical implementation programs are given, including the program concerned with TICs. The presented work on TICs is then highlighted in preparation for the subsequent sections of the paper.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia enjoys a wide area that extends over '2 million km2.' It has a population of over '27 million,' with a population growth of around '2.3%.' The country has the largest oil reserves in the world. Figure 1 gives the map of the country with some basic information (Arafah, Al-Harbi, & Bakry, 2007).

Since 1970, the country has been following a continuous set of 5-year national development plans, reaching currently to the 9 th, while also preparing for the 10th (Arafah et al., 2007). The ambition of the country toward achieving sustainable development, with competitive edge, has directed its plans to use its resources for building a knowledge-driven society. For this purpose, KACST was established in 1985, as the main national knowledge development center that produces, coordinates and supports efforts in this direction (Bakry, 2009).

King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology

King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology states its vision as: ' to be a world-class science and technology organization that fosters innovation and promotes knowledge-based society in the KSA (Bakry & Bakry, 2005).' In its mission, it emphasizes sustainable development, and provides the following dimensions for its achievement:

* 'Formulating national policies and plans for science, technology, and innovation;

* Coordinating science, technology, and innovation activities nationally;

* Conducting applied research and technology development;

* Providing support to scientific research and technology development in the kingdom;

* Investing in technology development and commercialization;

* Establishing and fostering local, regional, and international cooperation and partnerships for technology transfer, localization, and development;

* Promoting, fostering, and investing in intellectual property; and

* Providing consultation and innovative solutions (Bakry & Bakry, 2005).'

King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology contributed to the initiation of the SNSTP in 2002, and to the subsequent development of national science and technology plans that are based on the policy (Bakry, 2004).

Saudi national science and technology policy

The Saudi national science and technology policy has the following 10 main strategic development bases (Bakry, 2004):

(1) A comprehensive vision should be adopted in the development of science, technology and innovation.

(2) The role of education and training should be activated, and their efficiency should be supported.

(3) Scientific research and technology development capabilities should be promoted.

(4) Scientific research trends should emphasize the priorities of national securities and the requirements of sustainable development.

(5) The financial sources supporting science, technology and innovation should be promoted and diversified.

(6) Technology transfer and the development of adequate technologies should be enhanced toward promoting productivity and competitiveness.

(7) National human capabilities should be fostered and encouraged toward enhanced creativity and innovation. …

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