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Shihab El-din: A new KFAS strategy with three thrusts to contribute to establishing the knowledge economy KFAS presents its new strategic for 2017-2021

Jun 22, 2017

News Detail

KFAS presented at a press conference held in its headquarters, the  major achievements realized in 2016 through its activities and initiatives implemented by its various departments and programs and through its four affiliate scientific centers. All achieved results were made within the framework of KFAS’ mission which is to "stimulate and galvanize the advancement of science, technology and innovation to serve society, scientific research, and the shareholding companies in the private sector."

At the conference, KFAS Director General Dr. Adnan Shihab El-din said that one of the most important achievements in the past year is drafting the new five-year strategy 2017-2021, which was approved by the Board of Directors. Additional achievements could be witnessed in launching the first Giftedness Academy in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and in completing the power generation systems application project by using solar energy in a number of homes and cooperatives.

Dr. Shihab El-din added that these achievements also included providing grants to support and train more than 2,200 managers and employees from the private sector in various fields in addition to funding 219 research proposals that encompassed 59 new projects. The research grant scheme at KFAS focuses on national priorities and addresses issues facing the country. In an effort to promote and strengthen the scientific culture, the Foundation has published two new scientific journals in both paper and electronic formats.

The Director General provided more explanation about the new strategic plan (approved by the Board of Directors after several preparation and evaluation stages, which started in 2015) and said that the plan consists of a set of programs governed by three main thrusts. These thrusts could be summarized as: the dissemination and publicizing of scientific culture, increasing community's awareness of science and its various the fields, supporting scientific research, developing research capacity in Kuwaiti research institutions, and enhancing innovation efficiency among private sector employees and the youth.

He reiterated that the programs under these thrusts aim to increase public awareness, encourage the youth to become more interested in science as a pivotal  component of a knowledge-based economy, focus on developing teaching methodologies of science and mathematics, in addition to funding scientific research and taking advantage of modern technology transfer and applications.

Dr. Adnan said that the new strategy focuses on strengthening work relations with Kuwaiti relevant government agencies in an attempt to increase government spending on scientific research so that Kuwait could reach the global minimum level of 1% of GDP by 2020 in order to build a knowledge base and create a scientific and technological environment conducive to sustainable economic growth.

Dr. Adnan Shihab El-din expounded by saying that the Foundation started in 2016 to draft its new strategy with a mid-term review of the previous 2011-2016 strategy and continued the evaluation and preparation process throughout that year until the new draft strategy was approved by the Board of Directors in November 2016. The new strategy was presented to the Kuwaiti shareholding companies and the scientific and academic community as stakeholders, via numerous meetings held by KFAS in the recent months. The objective has always been to benefit from the valuable feedback, recommendations, and suggestions put forward in these venues so that they could be incorporated in the new strategy.

Commenting on the financial results of the Foundation, Mr. Firas Al Odah, Director of Finance and Investment Directorate said: "During 2016, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences accomplished a number of significant achievements amidst negative economic developments, the repercussions of low oil prices, and the sluggish growth of global economy".

He added that these achievements include the implementation of the new investment strategy which aims at reducing the level of domestic investments in favor of the diversified markets in various international asset portfolios and at entering new markets with better investment returns while ensuring acceptable risk levels.

Mr. Odah reiterated that the performance of KFAS Endowment Fund was satisfactory during the year, despite the difficult economic and political challenges in our region. He attributed this strong performance in 2016 to the Foundation’s strategy of diversifying income sources and of reducing risks.

He stated that in the fiscal year 2016, about 43% of the Foundation's total expenditure was dedicated to funding its scientific centers such as Dasman Diabetes Institute, Sabah Al Ahmed Center for Giftedness and Creativity, and Jaber Al Ahmad Center for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

Al-Odah said that about 57% of the total expenditure was slated to fund programs and activities of the scientific departments in the Foundation. These funding allocations could be highlighted as follows: research programs and projects (13%), scientific culture dissemination programs (9%), international cooperation programs (7% 6%), and KFAS annual prizes (3%).

He reiterated by saying that the Foundation continued to launch several new projects, as well as to oversee a number of ongoing projects, such as the Virtual University (The Advancement of Science Academy), which aims to buttress training and continuing education, energy efficiency enhancement projects, solar energy systems application projects, and projects addressing conservation of water resources.

As for the main achievements in 2016, Dr. Shihab El-din highlighted the following:

  • The Sabah Al-Ahmad Center for Giftedness and Creativity, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, opened the first Giftedness Academy to nurture scientific talent among the new generation and the youth. Moreover, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the Foundation aims to establish five additional similar academies for gifted students in the coming three years.
  • KFAS completed the solar energy pilot project in cooperative societies and homes. Based on the success of the project, the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development adopted the next stage of the project and included it in the State Development Plan 2017-2020. The target is to generate electricity by using solar energy systems on rooftops of public buildings and homes. The anticipated result of the project is to provide 10 cooperatives and 1500 homes with solar panels to generate electricity. The Foundation aims to include 15,000 homes in the next phase of the project with an ultimate expanded target of including most homes and horizontal dwellings, i.e around 200,000 homes by 2030. This mega outcome will conserve nearly 2 GWe of generation capacity.
  • In 2016, the Foundation boasted the addition of two prizes to its two main ones (The Kuwait Prize and The Scientific Production prize), which continue to be of aspiring interest to Kuwaiti and Arab researchers and innovators. The Foundation celebrated the awarding of the first new prize, the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development in Health and Food Security in Malabo, the capital of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in November 2016. It also honoured last December in Kuwait, the winners of the second prize, the Anwar Al-Nouri Prize for Best PhD in Education in the Arab World.
  • The Foundation availed 221 research and training opportunities for students and junior researchers at prestigious research centers and universities, including the Harvard Business School, the John F. Kennedy College in Harvard, the International Center for Theoretical Physics, the French Science Po, and the University of London for Economics and Political Science.
  • By the end of 2016, the Scientific Center would have received more than 9 million visitors since its inauguration.
  • The Foundation established one of the most prestigious Arab e-libraries in the Arab world that focuses on science and technology. A library with a distinctive search facility that includes 120 books and more than 10,000 scientific articles, in Arabic, downloaded on the “Scientific Advancement Gate”. KFAS launched two new scientific journals in both paper and electronic formats.
  • In 2016, the Foundation funded approximately 30 private sector seminars, workshops and conferences compared to 24 similar events in the previous year.
  • The Foundation availed grants to support training of more than 2,200 managers and employees from the private sector in various fields. It also provided excellent training programs such as the Innovation Challenge and Open Registration.
  • Funding research programs at the Dasman Diabetes Institute in 2016 included 86 researches, 15 of which were new projects. The number of patients participating in research at the Institute reached 992 last year.