Why universities are crucial to the growth of the Middle East's tech hub
Training and Development

Why universities are crucial to the growth of the Middle East's tech hub

In the past 20 years the role of technology in the Middle East has changed dramatically. Undertaking a massive transformation in such a short time, the region has become well known for its technical innovation, with governments supporting advancements through the implementation of large-scale national transformation projects.

As the technology sector has grown in the region, so has the number of science- and technology-focused universities. In just a short time, many have become globally renowned for their work, including Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Only founded a decade ago, it has two supercomputers that make the world's top 15 most powerful.

"[These universities] have the potential to create the world's next great tech hub - geographically halfway between Silicon Valley and Shenzhen. They're ideally placed to take up this challenge as they're young institutions that are agile, dynamic and unburdened by dated conventions," wrote Tony F. Chan, KAUST's president in an article for the World Economic Forum.

According to Chan, science and technology universities are performing better than their traditional counterparts around the world. He says this is down to "their unique blend of high-quality research and intensive focus on innovation."

In the Middle East, research is just one of the many ways that universities are supporting the region's tech ecosystem. Megha Kumar, research director at IDC Middle East, Turkey and Africa, has noted that much of the research undertaken is designed to help businesses make the most of the latest technologies.

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Keri Allan

Keri Allan is a freelance journalist and editor who has been covering the engineering and technology sector for over 15 years, writing for titles including E&T Magazine, The Engineer and Arabian Computer News.

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