AN ABRIDGED REPORT ON THE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS RECORDED BY RESEARCH CHAIRS' PROGRAM FROM 2011-2014
King Saud University has witnessed an unprecedented developments in the area of scientific research, one of the most prominent being the establishment of scientific research chairs. The move has raised the prestige of the university locally, regionally and internationally. The success of research chairs program has indeed surpassed the modest expectation of the university and has become a model for other institutions that crave to institute similar programs.
At present, the total number of active and operational chairs has reached up to 112 chairs. The fundamental aim of establishing research chairs at King Saud University is to produce distinct research outputs that could greatly contribute to the creation of national wealth , assist with solutions for developmental problems, contributing to the development of knowledge and thought. Through the program, the university hopes to initiate and advance technological and scientific development. By that it will partner with industrial sector and stimulate opportunities for innovation.
By engaging with industrial sector, the university aspires to contribute indirectly to the cultivation of teamwork culture in scientific research, thus linking the university to the larger community. Furthermore, the university aims to invest in talented local staff and also take advantage of global expertise in useful areas to achieve scientific partnerships with broader community. We need to note that by being innovative and creative, the national income will be diversified.
One of the main objectives of setting up of the research chairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to develop scientific research; thus contributing to the achievement of the strategic national goals (sustainable development based on the knowledge economy, etc.); establishing strategic partnership with the community; achieving regional and international leadership; as well as facilitating the diffusion of innovation, creativity and knowledge generation culture . The goal also includes nurturing a generation of researchers and graduate students, attracting distinguished minds in the field of global scientific competition so as to ensure that the nation actively participates in research and global knowledge production. Through that, the nation can attain leading position in the fields of R & D, and innovation.
Main Fields of Research
During the period under review, the overall 112 chairs are categorized in accordance to specialty contiguity.
There are 42 Research Chairs in the fields health which constitute 38% of the overall chairs in the program.
The Research Chairs in the field of Scientific studies are 27, thus 24% of the available chairs.
Research Chairs in the field of engineering are 17, which is 15%.of the overall chairs.
In the field of humanities, there are 26 Research Chairs which is 23% of the chairs available in the program.
Achievements so Far:
Since the inception of the chair programs in 2008, a lot has been achieved. Indeed, the achievements are spectacular by any standard. As a result of state, community and private sector's support, the program recorded outstanding results in various fields of research and innovation. Below is the summary of the areas of research output of university research chairs during the period under review:
-Published research paper in reputable journals allied to ISI.
-Authored and translated books
-Media posts: news, articles, reports, radio and television programs, etc.
-Events: lectures, seminars, workshops, awareness campaigns, courses, etc.
-Continuous support to post- graduate students in terms of mentoring, financing and accessibility to research facilities.
-Greatly assisting in raising the rank of the university in major global ranking of the universities.
Figure 1: Published Journal Articles.
Figure 2: Published / Translated Books and patents.
Funding Sources of the Chairs:
Generally speaking, the sources of funding for the chairs can be classified into three:
State Funding: Just like what is obtainable with Canada Research Chairs, substantial part of the funding for the activities of the chairs program comes from the state.
Private Sector Partnership: Another source of funding is partnership that king Saud University has with private sector to stimulate applied research and innovation.
Revenue From Consultancy Services: The program engages in carrying out consultancy services given the presence of highly qualified staff and facilities in the program. The services generates income for the program.