The Gulf Cooperation Council comprises the following six countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Historically, these countries and the region at large have been recognized as key suppliers of oil and gas. The economies of the GCC countries were primarily, and in earlier years, based on the export of these crucial and indispensable products.
The growth in population, the evolving world economies, and, in particular, the fluctuation of oil and gas prices have held the GCC countries hostage to their dependency on these products. The need to diversify their economies to create more stable futures and drive internal growth became apparent in the late ‘80s and all the way up to the 21st century. However, some of the basic infrastructures were lacking to allow for this growth, namely, higher level education facilities, research and development centers, and the appropriate incentives to create and innovate.
Over the past few years, it has become apparent that the strategies that were developed and put in play to address this growth are beginning to bear fruit. King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Saudi Arabia has become a major research hub, attracting world renowned researchers and providing opportunities for local and regional students to tackle some of the more difficult issues in various technical fields. This is attested to by the number of publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as the number of patent applications filed internationally. Similarly, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, the oldest research center of its kind in the region, has also evolved and welcomes leaders and researchers in various fields. Here again, the recent increased in publications and international patent filings are an indication of the commitment of this relatively small state to promote innovation.
These are merely two examples of many such performing institutions, such as Kuwait University, Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, Qatar University, Qatar Foundation, and the numerous public or private research and development companies which are considered as main drivers in their respective countries, namely SABIC in Saudi Arabia, Borouge in the UAE, Equate in Kuwait and many more.
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