RESEARCH CENTERS

Saudi Arabia 2020 | GREEN ECONOMY | B2B

A string of exciting new research centers have sprung up in the Kingdom to support the government's efforts to help generate and implement the world's best public policy solutions.

Mansour A. Al-Garni
MANSOUR A. AL-GARNI
Vice Director General
National Center for Water Research and Studies (NCWRS)
Adam Sieminski
ADAM SIEMINSKI
President
King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC)

What is your primary research mandate?

MANSOUR A. AL-GARNI NCWRS was established by a ministerial decree in 2017 to take care of the Kingdom's water sector and become a globally recognized and well-respected research institute. The center takes care of all aspects relating to water and has three important initiatives within the 2030 National Strategy: research, building a database, and localizing technology through internal capacity building. Internal capacity building includes designing workshops, holding lectures, field training, and recruiting different experts nationally and internationally from various universities and other entities that can help execute our program. We have already designed various workshops in different disciplines for the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture employees. We also offer scholarships for MEWA employees to get their master's degrees or even PhDs. We want to enhance MEWA's internal capacity over the next four years. Currently, NCWRS' structure comes under the Deputy Minister of Water; however, in the future, it might be linked directly to the minister. The center has cooperated with the World Bank to bring international best practices in water sector research to the center. Recently, we established the center's by-law, aligned priority research topics with the national transformation program and 2030 national water strategy, and made our business plan for the short and long terms. Basically, we are building a database to store and retrieve information in a way that is accurate and effective to help perfect our water management planning and practices.

ADAM SIEMINSKI KAPSARC was founded as a non-profit institution for independent research into global energy economics, bringing together international researchers and working on alignment between energy policy objectives and outcomes. When KAPSARC was founded, there was a desire to have research in petroleum and other forms of energy because it is such a large part of the economy in Saudi Arabia. Its study required a group that is independent. Clearly, there is great work done at Aramco and the ministries of energy, economy and planning, and finance, but, in many countries, there is a desire to have non-governmental organizations provide additional input. That is the purpose of KAPSARC. While KAPSARC started as a petroleum research house, we are now much broader, covering energy and economics in general. Currently, we are ranked 17 out of more than 60 global think tanks for energy and resources. Although we are relatively new and rankings are subjective, it is indicative that our peers perceive KAPSARC positively.

Who will benefit from your research?

MAAG Our database will be an open source for researchers. At present, we are trying to establish what data we and our stakeholders have and in what format it is in. We want to gather this all together and ask them what they need. After that, we will tender an expert to design our database and suggest new components that will be important in the future. It is important that everything is compatible. The database will feed everyone with information, but you will need authorization to add data.

AS Our research is intended to determine how to have a thriving economy, which is a main goal of Vision 2030. We are working to understanding how to achieve, measure, and evaluate the economic diversification agenda. Our main research focuses are oil and gas and power, but we look into related areas as well, such as urbanization and transportation, as well as climate and environmental policies. We have multidisciplinary working groups on electricity transition, with experts from electricity, logistics, and climate coming together with renewable energy specialists. A major area of research globally is in sustainable mobility, such as electric vehicles. Saudi Aramco has a major program looking at improving the efficiency of the internal combustion engine, with a high compression gasoline engine that is efficient and uses less fuel to get the same amount of power. Another option is using solar photovoltaic (PV) production in combination with electric vehicles. The interplay between the availability of battery storage in vehicles and generation of power may not be true of solar, but could be true of natural-gas-fired electricity production that uses the most efficient equipment at night to charge car batteries during the day, when air conditioning is being used at the highest rate through the 24-hour cycle. Parking lots could also have grid connections, with power being sent back and forth between the cars. We also have a group working with the National Risk Unit to examine the impact of natural phenomena such as flooding on energy delivery.