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Saudi Arabia to Build Separate Women's Science Center

Photonics.com
Dec 2006
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 7, 2006 -- Saudi Arabia is opening a women's education center in Riyadh for nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology research "as part of the government’s drive to empower women," the Arab News reported this week.

The Ministry of Education and the King Abdul Aziz Center for Science and Technology (KACST) signed an agreement Saturday to establish the center, the first of its kind in the kingdom, which it said will "open a new era in women’s education in the Kingdom and help women to make better contributions to society." It will serve researchers at women’s colleges and Saudi universities, the article said.

Prince Turki ibn Saud, vice president for research institutes at KACST, and Prince Khaled ibn Abdullah, the Saudi deputy minister for women’s education, signed the accord. A joint committee comprising officials from KACST and the ministry will be formed "to ensure optimum use of the center for research purposes," the Saudi Press Agency said.

Under the accord, KACST will design, build and furnish the new center "and supervise its scientific aspects." The ministry will provide 5000 square meters of land near north of the Eastern Ring Road in Riyadh and will maintain the center after it is built.

“The center will focus on advanced technologies and activities that are suitable to the nature of women in the kingdom. It will have advanced workshops for nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology,” said Prince Turki. “The center offers a good opportunity for specialists, especially those who have won master’s and doctoral degrees and full-time researchers and female teaching staff at Saudi universities."

The ministry said the center will also have facilities to develop industrial products through small companies owned by Saudi researchers and businesswomen.

The center will have a number of applications. Nanotechnology research will reportedly be geared toward petrochemicals, water desalination, electronics and other areas. Biotechnology applications will include medicine, the environment and agriculture, and information technology research will focus on electronic programs and devices.

The article said the Saudi Arabia Cabinet has already approved the project as part of its eighth five-year plan that focuses on the empowerment of women, privatization of state-owned corporations, setting up of strategic industries and developing mining and tourism sectors.

For more information, visit: www.the-saudi.net/saudi-arabia/kacst.htm


GLOSSARY
nanotechnology
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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