Saudi Arabia has risen 15 places in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Global Innovation Index 2022, reflecting the extent of development in research, development, and innovation in the Kingdom.
In June, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed the National Aspirations and Priorities for Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) in Saudi Arabia for the next two decades based on four key priorities; human health and wellness, sustainable environment and supply of essential needs, energy and industrial leadership, and economies of the future.
The plan aims to enhance the Kingdom's global competitiveness and entrepreneurship, align with the plans of the Saudi Vision 2030, and improve its status in the region.
Forbes Magazine reported that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest-transforming countries in the world, working to diversify its economies by entering new sectors that have contributed to the development of the national innovation system over the past decade.
It also cited Saudi Aramco in its report, which included the contributions of ten Saudi companies in innovation fields. The company obtained 864 patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2021 alone, bringing it to first place in the oil and gas sector globally and entering the list of the top 50 companies and universities that obtained patents this year. In 2022, the company strengthened its efforts in research and innovation, with the number of patents increasing to 963.
Digital infrastructure in the Kingdom ranked second among the G20 countries, according to the Digital Competitiveness Report 2021 issued by the European Center for Digital Competitiveness, state news agency SPA reported.
In 2017, only one Saudi company entered the "Forbes" list of the most funded startups in the Middle East. By 2020, that number increased to two, and this year the number rose to five Saudi companies within the top ten positions in the list.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has focused its innovation efforts on sustainability, announcing its commitment to increasing the percentage of energy generation from renewable sources to reach 50% by 2030, in preparation for achieving zero neutrality by 2060. In the same context, the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) entered the Guinness World Records, achieving a new record as the desalination plant with the least energy consumption in the world, at a rate of 2.27 kilowatt-hours per cubic meter of desalinated water.
The Research, Development, and Innovation Authority (RDIA), in collaboration with Forbes Middle East, reviewed the ten most innovative companies in each of the four sectors of the national priorities in the Kingdom, totaling 40 companies. The list includes Aramco, SABIC, NEOM, STC, Ma’aden, Almarai, Al Rajhi Bank, Al-Habib Medical Group, ACWA Power, and Saudi National Bank.