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Thomson Reuters and KACST: building a new pipeline for innovation.

The alliance, which began with a handshake, launched a special partnership between two parties: one in the Middle East and the other in the West.

The agreement doesn't involve oil fields or water rights; it's all about gaining access to information. The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) organization in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will be working with the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters to promote research, cultivate innovation, and encourage a global exchange of technology.

KACST is responsible for science, technology, and innovation in Saudi Arabia, and as an independent scientific organization, KACST reports to the Saudi Arabian King and Prime Minister, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. KACST is gearing up to provide resources for scientific solutions and patent information as part of Saudi Arabia's 15-year National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan. KACST is at the forefront of this initiative to reinvent Saudi Arabia as a knowledge-based economy by 2025.


Identifying key performance indicators and monitoring those indicators are critical to the Kingdom's national strategic plan, and Thomson Reuters has the necessary tools to help KACST launch the first phases of the national strategy initiatives.

"We talked about our strategic plan for scientific innovation, and within that strategic plan, we highlighted key topic areas to work in," says Dr. Abdulaziz Mohammed Al-Swailem, vice president of research and support at KACST. The plan involved connecting "technology partners worldwide to work together hand in hand and shoulder by shoulder on different research aspects," he says.

After KACST approached Thomson Reuters about a possible partnership in late 2010, the collaboration began to take root. "We understood that KACST wanted to continue with its charter to maintain a leadership position in Saudi Arabia," says Joe Donahue, senior vice president of the Life Sciences business at Thomson Reuters. "Initially, KACSTs two main interests were to provide leadership in national policy, national strategy, and funding, and also to have the best-in-class tools and the leading capabilities to support decision making for the researchers at KACST." And Thomson Reuters was in a position to help.

One of the first initiatives under the agreement with Thomson Reuters was to create an interactive university performance dashboard. "With this dashboard, we can monitor the publications, citations issued by KACST and Saudi Arabian organizations and also to embark on our activities in research and patent citation numbers," according to Dr. Al-Swailem. "We can also link it to a number of researchers in each organization in Saudi Arabia."

The dashboard lets KACST show its leadership, display the output of the country's university performance, and provide benchmarks for the progress, says Donahue. Thomson Reuters is also helping scientists with core research by providing pharmaceutical data, information about what's in the pipeline, a tally of scientific citations, and tools and analytics.

"We are also providing the key content and technical resources to implement strategic technology reports," Donahue says, which cover a range of disciplines, from life sciences and trends in healthcare to water, energy, and research reports. By understanding the global context of KACST's portfolio, Thomson Reuters can help monitor those areas as well, he says.

The first research initiatives will focus on water research, petrochemicals, nanotechnology, and biotechnology, all strategic areas that were selected based on the national needs and international competitiveness among Saudi Arabia and other research institutes worldwide.

Under terms of the agreement, KACST will use resources from across the Intellectual Property and Science business of Thomson Reuters, including Thomson Reuters Cortellis, GENESEQ, MetaCore, Newport and Modules, Integrity, BioMARKERcenter, InCites, Derwent Chemical Patents Index, Thomson Innovation, and Markush chemical information.

Initially, Saudi Arabia will direct its attention to building the infrastructure and spreading the word about KACST's research activities and capabilities to generate high-quality research proposals. "And we hope that this will lead Saudi Arabia to become one of the leading countries in the region and that it will be followed by transforming our research activities and research products for the industry," says Dr. Al-Swailem.

Both parties consider this partnership to be instrumental in achieving the interim goals of the Kingdom's national strategic plan in the years ahead. "We look at it as a real partnership between KACST and Thomson Reuters," says Dr. Al-Swailem.

"It's really an honor to partner with KACST," says Donahue. "It's an important relationship. We're looking forward to great things to come."
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Title Annotation:King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology
Author:Brynko, Barbara
Publication:Information Today
Geographic Code:7SAUD
Date:May 1, 2012
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