The National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan (NSTIP) or the MAARIFAH program for research was initiated by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) with the strategic objective of promoting a research environment in the universities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The program consisted of six different research tracks, each with its own strategic objectives and research areas. The Science and Technology Unit at Umm Al-Qura University (STU-UQU) joined the program in 2008 and became a major contributor until the program's end in 2015.
The MAARIFAH program consists of the following six tracks:
The program addresses several strategic technologies and its policy for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It aims at delivering, establishing, and developing the strategic and advanced technologies topping the Kingdom’s priorities, as well as, encouraging and improving the national scientific and technological caliber.
The strategic fields include the following technologies: water technology, oil and gas technology, petrochemical technology, nanotechnology, space and aviation technology, energy technology, information technology, advanced material technology, electronic, communication and photonics technology, environmental technology, agriculture technology, building and construction technology, medical technology, mathematics and physics technology, and biotechnology.
STU-UQU has actively taken part in the strategic technologies plan since its initiation in 2008. We have 110 accepted projects in various technological programs with a total approved funding of 194,365,725 SAR . Please Click Here to see the graphical representation of STU-UQU performance in Strategic Technologies Plan.
The operational project program deals with developing the basic facilities and operational units. It also fulfils the objectives of one of the approved programs within the five-year-plan for MAARIFAH. The duration of the operational project is 5 years. STU-UQU had submitted 4 project proposals with an estimated total budget of 206,259,000 SAR.
Technology Innovation Centers (TIC's) are specialized facilities on campus where researchers and students work with the relevant industry to develop innovative products and services. One of TIC’s core mission is to bridge the gap between academia and industry.
Dr. Nabeel Koshak led a research team that won a 5 year 50-million SAR grant in order to create the Technology Innovation Center in Geographic Information Systems in a competition that involved more than 80 project proposals. The following team was involved in the preparation of the proposal, which included: Dr. Mohamed Mokbel, Dr. Saleh Basalamah, Dr. Anas Basalamah, Dr. Meraj Mirza, Dr. Ramzi Al-Zahrani, Dr. Ahmad Al-Qattan, Dr. Khaled Al-Ghamdi, Dr. Amine Marref, Dr. Wael Badawi and Dr. Jumma Dawood.
The Technology Innovation Center in Geographic Information Systems (GISTIC) is Umm Al-Qura University’s first technical innovation center.
The core facility program is designed to create high-quality technical core facilities in the 15 NSTIP technology areas. Through this program, new core laboratories and other facilities are established in Saudi universities as part of the role these universities play in the development of the Kingdom. The major objectives of such facility centers are to create a better research environment in each region of the Kingdom. Funding under this program is awarded based on a contest organized by MAARIFAH. A special team is assigned the task of visiting university premises and providing recommendations regarding core labs and facilities.
This program is funded by KACST, which provides several grants to Saudi faculty members, where they spend 8-12 weeks at a top university or research center's lab that specializes in one of the following technology areas: Water Technology, Oil and Gas Technology, Petrochemicals Technology, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology, Electronics, Photonics and Communication Technology, Aeronautics and Space Technology, Energy Technology, Advanced Materials Technology, Environmental Technology, Agricultural Technology, Building and Construction Technology, Medical and Health Technology, and Mathematics and Physics Technology.
Eight researchers from Umm Al-Qura University have participated in this program from 2008 to 2012.
This program is based on awarding several annual grants to postgraduate Saudi students from Saudi universities. The student spends the grant period in one of the advanced technology laboratories at one of the reputable global universities or centers. Under this grant, MAARIFAH provides scholarly stipends allotted to postgraduate students sent for training. It is disbursed during the research period, which ranges from 8-12 weeks.