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Developing ‘ecosystem for innovation key to growth’

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Tue, 7/2/2017

More attention is needed in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, according to Minister of Higher Education Her Excellency Dr Rawiyah Bint Saud Al Busaidiyah.

Rawiyah was speaking at the Industrial Innovation Forum 2017, which began at Sheraton Hotel on Monday.

The two-day forum, organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, comes in coincidence with the Omani Industry Day which falls on February 9.

HE Dr Ali Bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, said: “Last year, the oil price fell below $30 a barrel. Today, the price has almost doubled. Nevertheless, it is roughly 50 per cent of oil price in 2014. The government has taken various regulatory and fiscal measures over the last two years to manage this challenge, but Oman – and like many other nations – must still deal with various challenges on local, regional and global level. We believe that manufacturing can do better to help compensate for the diminishing returns from oil, here; the way forward would be through industrial innovation.”

In 2016, The Research Council has actively promoted the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) based on a review by Unctad, as part of the development of Oman’s National Innovation Strategy, he said.

The department has finalised the examination of 20 new patent applications in January and more applications are under review. Further, we have finished interviewing 9 more Omani staff who will undergo training under the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Moreover, since our official announcement as a receiving office for Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications from June 1, 2016, and setting the target to at least two PCT applications for the year, we are pleased to declare three Omani PCT applications at WIPO ePCT portal during 2016.”

In October 2016, the Oman Investment Fund (OIF) has launched its US$ 200 million Oman Technology Fund (OTF) in partnership with Atlantic Bridge Capital (Ireland), 500 Startups (USA) and Techstarts Ventures (USA).

Some of the Omani executive team are here. This fund will focus on promoting technology start-ups, to enable, nurture, and grow technology ideas. OTF intends to upgrade Oman’s global competitive index by improving its innovation rating.

“On the international front, global trade growth recorded in 2016 its weakest performance since the global financial crisis. We are facing a slow and uneven recovery of the global economy.  Competition is severe and prices are plunging,” Sunaidy added.

The forum deliberates on the ecosystem that goes on to make a country or a society innovative. Research & Development institutions, governmental organisations, and industries contribute to innovation in the society.

The forum provides a common platform for professionals in the field of innovation to share their research and experiences across a wide audience. In addition, the discussions that will follow will provide the key stakeholders with a roadmap for accelerating the pace of innovation.

The objective of the forum is to bring together national and international research institutions, captains of manufacturing industry, and government bodies to deliberate and share their experiences in the area of innovation and the creation and nurturing of an ecosystem for innovation within Oman.

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