This article from Khaleej Times is causing some consternation among US bloggers, though why I really can’t tell. Nanodot, which features news on nanotechnology, has a post: Saudi Arabian nanotechnology: it’s different, favorably cited by the big-foot of bloggers, Instapundit. But the piece only says that in the rest of the world, nanotech research is directed by ‘government research agency, university, or CEO, and funded by that agency, university, or corporation.’ And that’s exactly what’s happening here, except that what’s being announced in the news report is that ‘a government research agency’ is what’s being established; no technology is being promoted or researched.

Feigning shock and horror that Saudi Arabia wants to enter the nanotech world can only be seen as ‘Saudi bashing,’ something all too prevalent among certain blogs. That’s a pity.

Saudi Arabia plans to set up nanotechnology institute

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia plans top set up a nanotechnology institute. The proposal has been approved by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, according to Dr Abdullah Al Othman, rector of King Saud University (KSU).

To be located on a two million square metres facility in Riyadh Techno Valley, it will be named after King Abdullah, and serve as an advanced technology research centre for KSU.

Al Othman said that Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defence and aviation, has donated SR30 million for the recruitment of top research scientists from all over the world. He spoke at the start of the three-day Seventh Saudi Engineering Conference, which was inaugurated by Interior Minister Prince Nayef on behalf of Crown Prince Sultan at KSU’s auditorium in Riyadh recently.


December:29:2007 - 11:48 | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink
4 Responses to “Saudi Arabia to Enter Nanotechnology Quest”
  1. 1
    Kashmiri Nomad Trackbacked With:
    December:30:2007 - 07:02 

    Islam And The West Accelerated Links For 30 Decemb

    Crossroads Arabia on the Saudis entering the field of nano-technology.

  2. 2
    olivetheoil Said:
    December:31:2007 - 06:55 

    Feigning shock and horror that Saudi Arabia wants to enter the nanotech world can only be seen as ‘Saudi bashing,’ something all too prevalent among certain blogs.

    John:
    I frequently attend scientific meetings so it is not “Saudi bashing” for me to legitimately ask how they plan to interact with female scientists all over the world? They want to recruit Nobel laureates–would that only be male Nobel laureates? Should women in science (like me at one time), accept being asked to cover-up or be told not to shake hands or speak out of turn because we must not be seen as “Saudi bashers”?

    This isn’t about bashing anyone. It’s about me stating I will be damned if I give up a single right or privilege because it does not suit someone else’s world view. I earned my rights the hard way and I am not going to give an inch of ground in the name of cultural sensitivity.

  3. 3
    John Burgess Said:
    December:31:2007 - 09:19 

    Olive: The article does not address how an institute might be properly composed, who should be on it, what genders, etc. It merely goes after the Saudis for the affront of choosing to enter the nanotech field.

    Gender equality is another issue and an important one. It’s not what this piece was about though.

    I’m not quick to assign the term ‘Saudi-basher’. I use it when someone ramps up negativity solely for the sake of being negative, as did this piece. Saudi Arabia has lots of things to be negative about. The desire to keep up with developing technology is not one of them.

  4. 4
    AbuSinan Said:
    December:31:2007 - 11:12 

    It will be interesting to see what comes out of this new institute.

    I work in the intellectual property field and it is amazing the LACK of research and submissions for patents coming from the Middle East. Those that do tend to be work done in behalf of Western corporations and entities.

    Nanotechnology is an area that I am familiar with, as an electrical engineer, but not an area I work in myself. The real test will be to see how they get up and running, what kind of talent they can recruit, put out and what they can put forth in the next few years.

    The number, 30 million riyals might sound nice, but I think that works out to less than ten million US dollars. When one notes that a fresh university graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in the area here in the US can ask for $70,000 a year, plus signing bonus and moving incentives, the $10 million figure starts to look a lot less impressive.

    A seasoned professional in the area can easily command $150,000 to $250,000 year a year, plus all of the bonuses. Getting these types of people to Saudi might cost even more than that, although the “tax free” nature of the salary would help.

    I dont know if this will be like other places in the Gulf where much cheaper African and Indo-Paki engineers do most of the work with a few Westerners hired as managers. That would certainly save some money, but one wonders what they will do for the quality of work coming out of the institute.

    I’d like to visit this place sometime in the future.

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