Industry and Academia: The Power of Creative and Authentic Partnerships

I was invited to speak at last week’s Petrotech Middle East conference, a gathering of the key refining and petro-chemical companies and organizations in the region.  The focus of the session was ‘Education’ and the impact it can have on these very important industries. 

My speech focused on some of the examples of how close and authentic partnerships between industry and KAUST have led to successful outcomes for both industry and the University.  Combining resources to focus on challenges that matter will lead to a greater impact.  My view is that partnerships with universities can extend and enhance the R&D and innovation capabilities and capacities of industry and provide a channel to ‘import’ new ideas and talent into the company.

Examples of this include the placement to date of over 250 of our KAUST graduates into Saudi companies and organizations into positions where they are playing a key part in research and innovation inside the company.  Working closely with our industry partners we have now co-invested with industry in a KAUST born technology start-up, created a joint venture with an industry partner to commercialize and market a new technology, and established pilot plants to test new technologies.  

KAUST’s approach of focusing on embedding an innovation mindset and culture, partnering closely with industry and other innovators, and supporting ways to rapidly and effectively commercialize new ideas and technologies in this region are, I believe, closely aligned with supporting growth and expansion of industry in this region.

I finished with a list of the current and upcoming opportunities for industry to engage closely with KAUST:

  1. Our KAUST Industry Collaboration Program
  2. The Arabian Venture Forum: Nov. 20/21, 2016 at KAUST
  3. The KAUST Research and Technology Forum: planned for April, 2017
  4. World IP Day KSA: April 26, 2017
  5. Career Fairs @ KAUST: twice a year
  6. More…just ask!

We are open to finding the most effective ways to partner with industry to creative impact through technology and innovation and I look forward to creating more authentic partnerships.