King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) has been able to enter the top ten universities in the world in the number of patents granted by the US Patent Office. KFUPM attained the seventh place worldwide after filing 183 patents in 2017, surpassing a number of prestigious universities such as Harvard College and California Institute of Technology.
This is stated by the IFI Claims website, which specializes in monitoring the patents of international universities filed in the US Patent Office.
According to the website, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals filed 183 patents in 2017, an increase of 55 patents over 2016. Thus, the university jumped from the 14th position in 2016 to the seventh position in 2017u
H.E. Dr. Khaled Al-Sultan, Rector of KFUPM, said that the University has exceeded the objectives of its strategic plan in the field of patents, pointing out that the university, which had only five patents from its inception until 2005, is now among the top ten universities in the world in the field of filed patents.
The construction of an integrated innovation system is the cornerstone of the university's success in optimizing investment in its patents. This, coupled with the establishment of Dhahran Techno Valley as the largest gathering area in the world for oil and gas research centers, has paved its success by focusing on excellence in basic research. DTV includes an innovation center, an entrepreneurship institute and an advanced modeling center.
Dr. Sultan said that the university has gone beyond focusing on patenting to the selection of these innovative activities on specific areas, to first ensure its feasibility first and to then develop a unique method of marketing.
KFUPM completed full procedures in the processing of its technologies, where it licensed a number of innovations and put them in the international markets through alliances with international entities. In addition, there were a number of local and international startups formed on the basis of KFUPM patents.
HE the Rector pointed to a number of examples of the university's achievements and successes in licensing and marketing a number of innovations, such as a licensing the catalytic cracking technology for heavy oil products. The technology was developed jointly by King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Aramco and Nippon Japan. The technology is licensed to a French company that is currently marketing the technology globally, and is planning to build two factories in the Kingdom for refining and petrochemical production based on the developed technology.
Further, he pointed out that new technology for the desalination of highly polluted water has also been marketed. The technology has obtained seven patents with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The technology was licensed to a startup technology company in the United States. The company has successfully applied the technology to purify the water used to extract rock oil.
From 2012 to 2016, the university ranked among the top twenty universities in terms of the number of patents, and in 2017 alone, the university produced 183 patents to jump to seventh place. The total number of patents registered on behalf of the university now exceeds 800. This number is more than 60% of the total number of filed patents of the more than 300 Arab universities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
These milestones indicate that the Dhahran Techno Valley Project has evolved - in a short period of time - into an integrated model for a true innovation and technology valley in the region.
Dr. Al Sultan explained that the second phase of the Dhahran Valley project has focused on providing an environment for the launch of new technical companies through advanced infrastructure. In this regard, the Innovation Center, which includes an area designed and developed specifically for the Entrepreneurship Institute’s Business Incubators program, was established, in addition to the Center for Modeling and Technology Development and Rapid Manufacturing.
The completion of the DTV project coincided with the development of the innovative environment at the University, which led to the emergence of promising opportunities for technology development, and cooperation in the production and commercialization of existing industries that will be invested in the production of national technologies, or to establish startup technical companies contributing in building the Kingdom’s knowledge-based economy.
In order to meet the enormous need for innovation facing KFUPM, DTV, the research centers and technology transfer projects, the university has established the Center for Modeling and Technology Development. The investment for this center and the plans for its implementation will make it unique in the entire MENA region.
The DTV complex is expected to transform into an attractive nucleus of venture capital that contributes to the financing structure necessary to capitalize technology development and transfer projects. The complex business projects will contribute to the completion of the components of the knowledge product cycle through integrated components, including research and development projects, planning and incubation of technology transfer projects, the development and growth of technology transfer projects and the pursuit of venture capital and capitalization.
At the end of his speech, His Excellency stressed that all the achievements of the university were made possible with the help of Allah Almighty, and then to the great material and moral support provided by our wise government under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
“I extended my thanks to H.E. Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Essa, for his constant follow-up and wise instructions, and I pray to Allah to preserve our country's security, pride and safety under the leadership of our wise government”, he added.