Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) announced on Friday the National Aspirations and Priorities for RDI for the next two decades. These aspirations and priorities are: Health and Wellness; Sustainable Environment and Supply of Essential Needs; Energy and Industrial Leadership; and Economies of the Future.
These will enhance the Kingdom’s global competitiveness and leadership, in line with the directions of Saudi Vision 2030, and strengthen the Kingdom's position as the largest economy in the region.
On the RDI National Aspirations and Priorities, the Crown Prince said: "Our ambition for Saudi Arabia is to become a global leader in research, development and innovation with an annual investment equivalent to 2.5% of GDP in 2040. This will diversify and add 60 Billion Saudi Riyals ($16 billion) to the economy in 2040 while creating high-value jobs in science and technology.”
To ensure its growth and prosperity, Research, Development and Innovation governance in the Kingdom has been restructured and a supreme committee headed by the Crown Prince has been formed to oversee RDI. An RDI Authority has also been established to act as an enabler, legislator and regulator, and to develop moonshots, flagship programs, projects, budget distribution and performance monitoring.
To achieve the ambitions announced by the Crown Prince, the Kingdom will seek to attract the very best national and international talent. Cooperation and co-investment with major research centers, international companies, non-profits, private companies and startups will be prioritized.
The Kingdom has adopted its four national priorities for Research, Development and Innovation, namely Health and Wellness, Sustainable Environment and Supply of Essential Needs, Energy and Industrial Leadership and Economies of the Future, based on the competitive advantages of the Kingdom. Moreover, Saudi Arabia intends to address the most important challenges facing humanity in order to secure the future of generations to come. These priorities will be a compass to guide future projects and initiatives.
Due to the importance of human health, and based on the Kingdom’s advanced infrastructure for medical research, its possession of the best medical system in the region, the presence of an expanded genetic database, and other competitive advantages, Health and Wellness sits at the top of the national priorities. Through this priority, the Kingdom aims to provide people with a better and longer healthy life, byaddressing prevailing medical challenges in the Kingdom and the world, providing digital healthcare to ensure health equity, and supplying the world with biotech solutions.
The Kingdom seeks, through the priority of Sustainable Environment and Supply of Essential Needs, to become a global model in preserving the planet and providing basic needs of water, food and sustainable energy.
Environmentally friendly technologies for water provision and desalination will be developed, along with modern and sustainable technologies for food production, increased green spaces, carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies, and sustainable technologies for low-cost electricity generation.
Given the Kingdom's natural wealth and competitive advantages in the energy and industrial sectors, Energy and Industrial Leadership has been identified as another priority. The Kingdom will seek to create technologies for the production of alternative energy such as green hydrogen, solar and wind. In addition, the industrial sector will be directed to produce technologically advanced and high-value industries, and to develop the mining sector competitively and sustainably.
Economies of the Future has been chosen as one of the four priority areas, building on the Kingdom’s competitive and leadership advantages through investments in futuristic cities such as NEOM and the Red Sea Project, coupled with a talented pool of young Saudis already engaged in RDI as well as a world class digital infrastructure.
This priority aspires to promote innovation in digital technologies, develop the future of urban life and build human-friendly and carbon-free cognitive cities, in addition to exploring deep seas and building a global position for the Kingdom in the field of space.
The National Aspirations and Priorities will serve as the cornerstone for the development of the national strategy for RDI, which will be announced at a later stage. This will be followed by ambitious national programs to solve major challenges facing the Kingdom and the world. The Kingdom will warmly welcome the participation of researchers and pioneers in this journey of innovation for the sake of humanity.