KAUST’s new strategy to accelerate Saudi Arabia’s sustainability drive: top official

KAUST’s new strategy to accelerate Saudi Arabia’s sustainability drive: top official
KAUST’s new strategy to accelerate Saudi Arabia’s sustainability drive: top official

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: The new strategy for King Abdullah University of Science and Technology is expected to accelerate Saudi Arabia’s journey toward sustainability, thus contributing to the Kingdom’s renewable goals, a top official said. 

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Ian W. Campbell, interim vice president, innovation, and executive director of special prospects at KAUST, said that the new strategy for the university clearly aligns with the goals and aspirations of Saudi Arabia. 

“KAUST’s new strategy aligns very clearly with the research outcomes of the goals and aspirations for the Kingdom; the more sustainable use of environmentally sensitive commodities takes technology from a very early stage and scales it, and also provides our inputs to global challenges at the same time,” said Campbell.

He added: “KAUST has huge aspirations to reduce our demand for oil and gas and begin to replace that with 50 percent renewable energy by 2040. We want to be net zero by 2060. The Saudi Green Initiative talks about how we convert from today’s technologies to reduce our carbon footprints and contribute to the overall net goal of the G20.” 

Campbell highlighted that KAUST is privileged to work with Saudi Arabia’s $500-billion megacity NEOM as its partner in developing the Shushah Island in the Red Sea area, which will become the world’s largest coral garden on completion. 

“It is our pleasure to work with NEOM on Shushah Island. Going beyond that, we have collaboration with NEOM in climate and livability, on energy, and on how we plan the livability on NEOM when The Line is complete,” said Campbell.

It was on Aug. 21 that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled the new strategy for KAUST. Under the new strategy, the Kingdom allocated a SR750 million ($200 million) fund for early investment in local and international high-tech companies. 

The strategy also aims to transform research into economically productive innovations by focusing on the national priorities for research, development and innovation.

The key areas included in the strategy are health and wellness, sustainable environment and essential needs, energy and industrial leadership and economies of the future.

“The new strategy builds on KAUST’s scientific and academic achievements and represents a new era for the university to become a beacon of knowledge and a source of inspiration and innovation in line with Vision 2030 aspirations for the betterment of the Kingdom and the world,” said the crown prince after the launch of the new strategy. 

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