National Technology Development Program launches ‘Technology Research Challenge’ initiative to spur innovation
The National Technology Development Program (NTDP) launched on Sunday ‘Technology Research Challenge’, as its second pivotal initiative. The new initiative aims to support technology companies to develop their products, build their capabilities, and strengthen their relations with universities and research centers by stimulating research, development, technology innovation, building capabilities and localizing knowledge in the IT sector in line with Saudi Vision 2030 objectives. The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) acts as the strategic partner and supporter of the initiative based on its specialized expertise in research, development and innovation.
The initiative brings together technology companies, universities and research centers by presenting technology challenges that companies face to specialists in computer science, information technology and emerging technologies from university students, researchers and faculty members. This allows the participating organizations to take part in proposing, planning and executing scientific projects or innovations with documented results, in order to benefit from them and implement them as innovative practical solutions.
With a keen focus on the Kingdom’s IT sector, the initiative also aims to build up research, development and innovation capabilities, direct the efforts of universities and research centers to research projects that meet the needs of the private sector, and encourage more cooperation between the private sector, universities and research centers in research, development and innovation projects.
The challenge is expected to be launched each semester with 3 challenges annually, targeting technology companies, universities, research centers, students and researchers provided that companies present achievable challenges as a research project during one or two semesters, with the important presence of innovation, applicability and marketing. Universities and research centers choose the adopted challenges, and allocate teams of students or researchers to work on them as research projects. With the exception of this year’s first season launch, the research teams will work on challenges that will be presented by the program in cooperation with some companies, universities and research centers.
The jury consists of members from universities, research centers and business centers (accelerators, incubators, project builders, innovation centers, and specialists in the technology investment field) working on reviewing and evaluating projects to determine the winners. The winning companies will receive the Best Tech Research Challenge Award, while universities or research centers will win the Best Tech Research Support Award, in addition to prizes for the winning students. Registration for researchers starts after universities nominate the participating teams through the initiative’s website https://ntdp.gov.sa/trc.
It is noteworthy that the National Technology Development Program is working to launch several initiatives during this year to achieve its goal of developing the IT sector in order to make the Kingdom a global leader in the manufacture and adoption of technology, through its work on several tracks. These include technology localization to contribute to the establishment of an integrated national technology system, creating competitive opportunities and encouraging investment in the technology field, as well as developing the IT sector by supporting all contributing companies and sectors targeted in the sector. The program also aspires to contribute to the development of the IT system and stimulate research and innovation in the sector, to become an effective contributor to the development of the national digital economy.