The tragedy of university research



The Minister of Education recently launched a workshop titled “The future of Saudi universities” during which he announced that the amount spent on university research over past years has not exceeded SR100 million. At the same time, the budget specified for scientific research was SR6 billion. He said that this was evidence of weak coordination with the goals and objectives of Saudi Vision 2030, and he called for university initiatives that would support innovation with effective curriculums.

We all know that various ministries and government institutions pay little attention to research, whether university or non-university. But we now recognize the tragic reality that universities have not made use of the SR6 billion that might have been used to create scientific research projects that could have benefited society.

We are aware that there are deanships or research centers in every university, so why have they not made use of the scientific research budget? Is it because they have no clear scientific methodological research plans? Or is it a matter of bureaucratic procedures related to research projects? Or are most university professors not qualified to create and conduct scientific research projects? Or are there other reasons that prevent our academic institutions from carrying out research projects?

Whatever the reasons, it is tragic that our universities are failing to make use of money budgeted for scientific research and we hope that this problem can be redressed.