KFAS News

Kuwait Prize and Scientific Production Prize Winners

November 08, 2017

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), as a part of its annual tradition, announced the winners of the 2017 Kuwait Prize and the Scientific Production Prize. These prizes are a part of the Foundation’s efforts to celebrate and recognize the achievements and accomplishments of Kuwaiti and Arab scientists worldwide, fostering the promotion and advocacy of science, innovation and technology within Kuwait and the Arab region.

Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, the Director General of KFAS, stated that establishing a thriving research culture and an innovation ecosystem on a national and regional level, is essential in driving the future prosperity and growth of the Arab region. Thus, he noted that the award winners this year, as they have in the past, continue to showcase the significant contributions of Kuwaiti and Arab researchers towards the advancement of various scientific fields, and it is through their efforts and dedication, that pressing scientific questions will continue to be challenged and solutions derived to improve the quality of life.

Dr. Shihab-Eldin stated that the announcement of the winners of the prizes came after the approval of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation, based on the recommendations of the KFAS Board of Directors, the Prizes Committee, and the judging panels at the Foundation.

The Kuwait Prize, established in 1979, aims to support and encourage Arab researchers in various disciplines. Dr. Shihab-Eldin noted that five prizes were given this year, in the following areas: Fundamental Sciences, Applied Sciences, Economics and Social Sciences, Arts and Literature, and Arabic and Islamic Heritage Sciences.

The Fundamental Sciences (Chemistry) award was given to Professor Omar Yaghi, who is currently the James and Neeljte Tretter Chair Professor of Chemistry, at the University of California, Berkeley in the United States. Dr. Yaghi was born in Amman, Jordan, and is credited with using reticular chemistry to form metal-organic frameworks, which can be used for energy storage and generation, clean water generation and delivery, thermal batteries and drug delivery.  His contributions in establishing and advancing this new field of fundamental investigation, with industrial applications, has been momentous.

The Applied Sciences (Applied Medical & Applied Allied Health Sciences) prize was jointly awarded to Professor Amin Arnaout and Professor Shaker Mousa. Professor Arnaout is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an exemplary physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The focus of Professor Arnaout’s research has been on the biology and structure of a class of proteins called integrins, where he has been focused on elucidating their role in inflammation. The further understanding of the functional and structural mechanisms of these proteins, could lead to the discovery of potential therapeutics for common diseases linked to integrin dysfunction, such as autoimmune disorders and heart disease.

Professor Mousa is the Vice Provost for Research and Professor at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He is also the Executive Vice President and Chairman of the Rensselaer-based Pharmaceutical Research. A native of Alexandria, Egypt, Dr. Mousa’s research has focused on the development of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for angiogenesis-related disorders, thrombosis, and vascular diseases.  His contributions have led to more than 350 patents and he has published more than 500 journal articles, book chapters, and books as author and editor.

Professor Saouma Bou Jaoude, from Lebanon, received the Economics and Social Sciences (Education) prize. Professor Bou Jaoude is the Director of the Science and Math Center, as well as the Director of the Center For Teaching and Learning, and a Professor of Science Education at the American University of Beirut. His research interests include the nature of science curriculum, and teaching methods. One of the highlights of Professor Bou Jaoude’s research includes the development of an innovative pedagogical approach to teaching science and math, with an emphasis on the relation to the development of basic education in the Arab World.

The Arts and Literature award was given to Professor Nabil Ebrahim Matar. Professor Mater, who is originally from Lebanon, is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Minnesota, where his research efforts have focused on relations between early modern Britain, Western Europe, and the Islamic Mediterranean. He has been recognized for his success in the extensive use of the modern comparative methodology, which is vividly apparent in his work encompassing the literary factor, as well as theological, political, social, geographical and historical dimensions.

The Arabic and Islamic Heritage award was given to Professor Maroun Khalil Aouad from Lebanon. Professor Maroun is the Director of the French National Center for Research in Paris, France. His work focuses on the intersection between philosophy and fundamental sciences in the Arab and Islamic civilization. His research in the legacy and manuscripts of Ibn Rusha (Averroes) and Abou Hajaj Ibn Tamlouse, has led to significant contributions in the understanding of Arabic and Islamic heritage, and his efforts have led to several global recognitions.

The Scientific Production Prize was established in 1988, by the late Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, as an initiative to honor the contributions of Kuwaitis with doctoral degrees in various disciplines, as well as aim to encourage young Kuwaiti scientists and researchers to continually strive to use research and development towards the betterment of their community. Dr. Shihab Eldin stated that the winners of this year’s prize, similar to past award winners, represent the thriving national research platform, working on the development of innovative and successful initiatives to address local and global challenges. The prize was given to Kuwaiti researchers in five different categories this year.  The prize in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics category was given to Dr. Talal Fahd Hamoud Al-Azmi, an Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department in the Faculty of Sciences at Kuwait University. Professor Al-Azmi has published 23 papers in well-reputed journals in organic chemistry.  

In the Engineering Sciences category, Professor Majid Aldaihani, from the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Petroleum at Kuwait University, was given the prize for his contributions to quality assurance, manufacturing and industrial engineering. His contributions have results in 25 manuscripts in well-reputed journals and has participated in several conferences.

Dr. Raed Abdullah Hussain Mohammed Al-Roughani was the recipient of the Medical and Medical Sciences award. Dr. Al-Roughani is a neurologist at the Amiri Hospital in Kuwait and has published 72 scientific manuscripts and has participated in over 65 international conferences. His research on multiple sclerosis has been recognized at the global level and has a clear impact on the medical arena.

In the Social and Human Sciences category, Dr. Fayez Mancher Awadh Al-Dhafiri, a Professor of Education Technology in the Faculty of Education at Kuwait University was given the award, for his research contributions. Dr. Al-Dhafiri has 25 scientific papers in refereed journals and has presented at nine conferences.

Dr. Mishary Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Freih received the award for Administrative Sciences and Economics. Professor Al-Freih is an Associate Professor in the Accounting Department in the Faculty of Business Studies at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training. He has published 30 scientific papers and two books in the field of financial accounting.

An award in the Biosciences category was not given this year.

As a part of its mission and vision, the Foundation has continued to support and encourage the development of Kuwaiti and Arab researchers. Since the inception of the Kuwait Prize in 1979 and the Scientific Production Prize in 1988, KFAS has awarded 121 recipients with the Kuwait Prize and 147 recipients with the Scientific Production Prize.