In the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Saudi Space Commission, His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Energy and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, and His Excellency, Minister of Education Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed al-sheik, the Saudi Space Commission signed four memoranda of integration With the Ministry of Education, King Abdulaziz University, King Saud University, and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. The agreement aimed at the integration between the two sides in the fields of developing national human capital through education and training, strengthening research, development and innovation efforts and exchanging academic experiences, spreading awareness of space science and its fields, and supporting everything that would enhance the role of universities to achieve the strategic goals of the Saudi space sector.
The agreement was signed on Sunday, November 15, 2020, in Riyadh by the CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh, and KFUPM President, Dr. Muhammad M. Al-Saggaf.
For his part, His Royal Highness, Chairman of the Saudi Space Commission said: “Building the creative and innovative person who contributes to the renaissance of his country is a strategic approach of the Kingdom since its establishment, and the Kingdom has realized the importance of the space sector since the seventies and made a major contribution to the establishment of Arabsat Company, in parallel with building national human resources by sending many distinguished people to international universities and establishing local universities in various parts of the country.
More than 30 Saudi scientists and academics participated in the shuttle Discovery flight in 1985.
His Royal Highness said, "As a strategy of Saudi Space Commission, We have developed specialized, comprehensive and ambitious programs to develop human capital, enhance their capabilities in space science, and create opportunities for development and innovation of the space field.
He praised the recommendations of the scientific team to establish the National Space Program in the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, which continued to invest in human capital and in research and development in the fields of remote sensing and satellite development, as the number of more than 500 citizens of both sexes are working in the space sector in the City.
HRH Minister of Energy affirmed that this integration is fully compatible with the Council’s orientation to build on the academic standing of the University, and the scientific achievements it has achieved, to push it towards the scientific and applied contribution in the areas of economic, industrial, and comprehensive development in the Kingdom. One of the most important pillars of work at the university is witnessing a new paradigm shift in its programs and activities, its effective response to the needs of society, employing its technical and research experience in its service, accelerating the diversification of the productive base, and reaching the knowledge-based economy model that our country aspired to.
His Excellency the Minister of Education said that this memorandum between the Saudi Space Commission and the Ministry of Education is based on the principle of fruitful partnership and cooperation, which seeks to provide knowledge and skills for male and female students with a priority that ensures the ability of educational institutions to qualify the new generations to meet the needs of the labor market according to the latest, most influential and advanced models.
He also stressed the importance of the memorandum in promoting a culture of innovation, developing human capital, seeking to increase awareness of the importance of space, and supporting the programs of the Saudi Space Commission that would achieve a common and comprehensive goal under the great umbrella of the space sector in the Kingdom. Moreover, this memorandum confirms our participation in supporting scholarship programs for undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the fields of space, and to provide the best opportunities for graduates, through qualification and training programs in the fields of space, and by supporting the research and innovation system and encouraging studies, research, and initiatives related to space.
His Excellency thanked His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman, Chairman of the Saudi Space Commission, for his support to enhance integration and coordination between the Ministry of Education and the Commission, and to activate the principle of partnership that leads to achieving the aspirations of the country in constructive cooperation and achieving our common goals in promoting and supporting the culture of creativity, innovation, human capital development, and improvement of basic educational outcomes.
For his part, the President of the University, Dr. Muhammed Al-Saggaf expressed his delight at the signing of the agreement, stressing that the cooperation between the academic and research sectors and the industrial sector is one of the most important elements of the Kingdom's economic transformation, where the Kingdom will be able to occupy its prominent economic position and participate and compete in the new digital global economy that will bring many benefits to the Kingdom's economy.
He explained that King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals is experiencing a historical transformation stage through which it seeks to develop academic, research, and community programs in a manner that makes a major impact on the Kingdom's economy. In addition, it will create new opportunities for profitable and supportive innovations for our Saudi economy. "The university was the scientific supporter for Prince Sultan bin Salman's journey on the Discovery shuttle in 1985, which is still - as far as I know - the youngest participant on a shuttle flight to this day" he added.
He noted that the space sector requires knowledge and practical training in many aspects, which include orbital mechanics, selection and design of satellites, coordinate systems in the space environment, weather, climate, space debris, rotational dynamics, telecommunications, and others.
He said that this agreement is a bridge and a key to establishing cooperation frameworks and links between the University and the Commission, and we seek to make this cooperation a model for cooperation with other companies, bodies, and institutions. The university will harness all its academic, research, and societal capabilities so that the agreement will be a seed that grows, flourishes, and returns its fruits to our country.
The agreement includes cooperation between the University and the Commission in the field of education through developing content and the University majors related to the field of space in line with the national space strategy. Moreover, to open new departments and create additional specializations related to the space sector for male and female students and to develop an educational enriching content to be used as a tool to attract young generations to enter space-related scientific paths in schools and universities.
The agreement also includes the technical and vocational training to enhance and support space training programs for the target groups, and the development of laboratories to accommodate the training space programs in line with the needs of the Kingdom National Space Strategy. National Space Strategy.