King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) rose to the fourth place worldwide in 2018 according to the annual ranking of the American National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners for universities in terms of the number of patents registered in the United States. This is the second appearance of KFUPM within the list of the top ten universities in the world. KFUPM achieved the sixth place in 2017.
The National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association published the seventh annual report on trends in academic patents, Tampa, Florida in June 2019. It has announced the top 100 universities in the world that were granted US patents in 2018, followed by the preparation of the report using data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It highlights the vital role of patents in research and university innovation.
The universities that advanced KFUPM in ranking are the top three American universities: University of California, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.
KFUPM Rector, Dr. Sahel Abduljauwad, said that the University has achieved a big leap forward in innovation. It has entered the list of the top four universities in the world in the number of patents in 2018, after having five patents only in 2005. These achievements came as a result of building an integrated innovation system which focused on the quality of the research process, developed programs by KFUPM to support and motivate innovation. It includes training and awareness raising, establishment of an advanced office for the registration of intellectual property & commercializing the technology and the establishment & launch of Dhahran Techno Valley (DTV), the world's largest gathering of oil and gas research centers. Its system includes an Innovation Center, Entrepreneurship Institute and Advanced Modeling Center. DTV represents an appropriate environment through which planning and development of incubation of technical works based on KFUPM patents.
Dr. Abduljauwad said that KFUPM began to appear in the lists of major producers of patents since 2011, when it achieved the 55th place in the world. It continued to rise in ranks reaching the 13th place in the year 2015, then the seventh in 2017, after that reaching the current place within the top five universities in the world. This achievement comes as a result of the strategic methodology and vision of the future developed by KFUPM to meet the challenges of modern civilization and the requirements of social & economic development and provides a fertile environment for creativity and innovation, which is a major goal of the Saudi Vision 2030. He pointed out to the great material and moral support provided by our government for education 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 - may Allah preserve them.
KFUPM vision and its future objectives focus on commercializing the technology & innovation to its maximum limits so that KFUPM inventions & innovations contribute significantly to the national economy and diversify its resources, which makes the University an effective contribution to the achievement of Saudi Vision 2030. Furthermore, KFUPM vision is to be distinguished globally in the field of technology commercializing and transforming them into economic products, attracting investments for technology development and developing the technological entrepreneurship environment.
The Vice Rector of KFUPM for Applied Studies and Research, Dr. Nasser Al-Aqeeli emphasized that the success of KFUPM did not stop at the filing of patents, but continue on licensing and marketing in order to support the national economy with industrial or commercial entities working to transform KFUPM innovations into technical products. He pointed out that KFUPM has licensed a number of its innovations and connected them to international markets through alliances with international bodies. There are a number of local and international startup companies founded due to KFUPM patents.
The signing of technology commercializing agreements with industrial partners is part of a long-term strategy for economic development initiated by KFUPM in 2006. It aims to develop a model system to be followed in the field of economic development based on transforming KFUPM research outputs and patents into economic outputs And technical products.
Dr. Al-Aqeeli stated that, during the past five years, the number of private university activities has increased gradually in the fields of licensing and technology commercializing. This resulted in the licensing of more than (100) patents either in full commercial or experimental form, for verifying the economic feasibility of the patent. This represents about 10 % of the total number of patents for KFUPM, which exceeded (1000) patents.
Some of these licenses resulted in the full commercial application of technology and has become a financial return for KFUPM. This is also a very good percentage compared to the annual average of technology licensing issued by American universities, ranging between 5 and 7%, according to multiple sources.
He said that KFUPM has clear plans to expand the field of converting its patents into economic projects through joint development agreements with national or international industries or companies that have research & development centers in Dhahran Techno Valley or through financial investments allocated by KFUPM through Dhahran Techno Valley Company. DTVC, which is owned by KFUPM, is currently investing in (12) projects for the development of a technology containing more than (30) patents for the purpose of commercializing and transforming it into industrial products with economic dimension.
KFUPM has conducted feasibility studies on these technologies, which have shown promising opportunities such as water separation systems from industrial oils, industrial control systems, lightweight building materials and thermal insulation, nanotube production devices (nanometer tubes), and Hybrid water desalination systems through laser beams.
He pointed out that KFUPM has recently completed the establishment of the Center for the development of technology, modeling and printing three-dimensional. This Center will contribute significantly to fill an important gap in the development of innovative products contained in KFUPM patents, especially in the field of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Center is expected to contribute significantly in transforming KFUPM inventions into economic products, especially in the field of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
IV Industrial and is expected to contribute significantly to the transformation of inventions University to economic and private products in the field of industrial revolution IV.
It is worth noting that KFUPM recently signed marketing agreements for a number of its research products and patents with four international and local companies. The companies that have recently been licensed for the purpose of commercializing include PETROGISTIX, SAS ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, Watchtower Co., TELAA, National Modern Chemical Factory (MN-CHEM), ADANI, GRADIANT and AXENS. There are agreements and licenses that KFUPM will start implementing in 2018/2019, including the National Modern Chemical Factory (MN-Chem) and Black Gold Industrial Co., also, KFUPM is currently investing in commercializing a number of technologies In the commercialization of a number of technologies in Dhahran Techno Valley Company.