KFAS marks four decades of sci­en­tific, tech­no­log­i­cal busi­ness

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Foun­da­tion for the Ad­vance­ment of Sci­ence (KFAS) is mark­ing its 40th an­niver­sary as a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that sup­ports sci­en­tific progress in Kuwait in all fields. KFAS was es­tab­lished by an Amiri de­cree in 1976 with the aim of driv­ing progress in all ar­eas of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy while also in­spir­ing a cul­ture of progress and in­no­va­tion.

The mis­sion of the foun­da­tion, chaired by His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad AlJaber Al-Sabah, is to “stim­u­late, sup­port, and in­vest in ini­tia­tives and hu­man re­sources that con­trib­ute to the build­ing of a strong STI sys­tem and cul­ture, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously fos­ter­ing an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment in which in­no­va­tion can flour­ish.”

Since it was es­tab­lished, KFAS has been sup­port­ing sci­en­tific knowl­edge in Kuwait, to help all the rel­e­vant in­sti­tu­tions achieve their goals, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Dr Ad­nan Shi­hab Eldin said. KFAS is work­ing on dis­sem­i­nat­ing sci­en­tific knowl­edge among all classes of the so­ci­ety, and its pro­grams and ac­tiv­i­ties have come to play a prom­i­nent role in the lo­cal sci­en­tific sys­tem, es­pe­cially among the youth, be­sides to back­ing sci­en­tific cre­ativ­ity, Shi­hab Eldin said.

KFAS achieve­ments in­clude es­tab­lish­ing the Sci­en­tific Cen­ter, Sabah Al-Ah­mad Cen­ter for Gift­ed­ness and Cre­ativ­ity (SACGC), the Das­man Di­a­betes In­sti­tute and Sheikh Jaber Al-Ah­mad Cen­ter for Nu­clear Medicine and Molec­u­lar Imag­ing, he noted. In ad­di­tion, KFAS has also em­barked on work at the Kuwait Univer­sity dig­i­tal project, to help the Arab youth will­ing to con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion amid the lim­ited ca­pac­ity at tra­di­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

Ma­jor chal­lenges

Mean­while, Shi­hab Eldin said that KFAS is com­mit­ted to deal­ing with the ma­jor chal­lenges fac­ing the coun­try, mak­ing ut­most ben­e­fit from sci­en­tific re­search for re­searches and pro­grams on water se­cu­rity, clean and re­new­able en­ergy and the en­vi­ron­ment. The foun­da­tion care­fully se­lects the re­search projects that could help de­velop so­lu­tions or poli­cies to ad­dress the coun­try’s ur­gent is­sues, to­gether with pro­vid­ing ad­vanced train­ing pro­grams for the pri­vate com­pa­nies to en­able them set new meth­ods of work, think­ing and be­hav­ior, be­sides en­hanc­ing the spirit of in­no­va­tion, the di­rec­tor gen­eral said. Re­fer­ring to the KFAS new strat­egy that has been ap­proved by the board of di­rec­tors, Shi­hab Eldin said that it aims to con­sol­i­date co­op­er­a­tion with the lo­cal sci­en­tific in­sti­tu­tions and to in­crease the spend­ing on sci­en­tific re­search in Kuwait from 0.3 per­cent to 1 per­cent of GDP by 2020. An­other ma­jor goal of the strat­egy is to speed up the steps for es­tab­lish­ing a na­tional coun­cil to be en­trusted with iden­ti­fy­ing re­search pri­or­i­ties and fi­nanc­ing them, as well as pro­mot­ing peo­ple’s aware­ness and spread­ing sci­en­tific cul­ture.

In­no­va­tion projects

Shi­hab Eldin pointed to the ‘chal­lenge of in­no­va­tion’ pro­gram KFAS of­fers for high-pro­file CEOs. Through the pro­gram, the CEOs take part in de­vel­op­ing in­no­va­tion-based projects through col­lec­tive ac­tiv­i­ties that lead to real change in their firms. Later, th­ese projects will be sub­mit­ted to lead­ing world uni­ver­si­ties for a re­view.

He also re­ferred to the ‘Open En­rol­ment’ pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tive for pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies. It em­pha­sizes a hands-on ap­proach to in­spir­ing in­no­va­tive think­ing and cre­ative prob­lem solv­ing. In 2015, KFAS fi­nanced 203 lots of land for re­search projects, in­clud­ing 76 do­na­tions for new re­searches, all to­tal­ing KD 1 mil­lion (about $3.3 mil­lion). KFAS has also fi­nanced all re­search pro­grams at the Das­man Di­a­betes In­sti­tute and in­ter­na­tional agree­ments. In 2016, KFAS has fi­nanced 46 re­search projects with in­ter­na­tional sci­en­tific and re­search in­sti­tu­tions with KD 1.5 mil­lion, he said. — KUNA

Dr Ad­nan Shi­hab Eldin

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