Environment fund, centers inaugurated in Saudi Arabia  

Establishing an environment fund aims at contributing to the financial sustainability of the environment sector. (SPA)
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Updated 04 December 2020

Environment fund, centers inaugurated in Saudi Arabia  

  • Ministry aims to contribute to the financial sustainability, protect ecosystems

Saudi Arabia’s newly established environment fund and environment centers were inaugurated on Thursday as part of the country’s sustainability strategy and efforts to ensure the protection of its environment and ecosystems.
The fund and five centers were inaugurated by Abdulrahman Al-Fadley, who is the minister of environment, water and agriculture.
“Establishing an environment fund aims at contributing to the financial sustainability of the environment sector and providing the necessary capabilities for its advancement, by contributing to supporting the operational budgets of environmental centers, supporting environmental programs, studies and initiatives, stimulating environmentally friendly technologies and improving environmental performance and environmental rehabilitation programs,” the minister said.
The National Center for the Development of Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification aims to develop and manage national parks, develop and rehabilitate vegetation cover in forests, protect local endangered plant species, combat desertification, in addition to conducting studies and supporting research related to vegetation.
The National Center for Environmental Compliance is concerned with monitoring the environmental compliance of all establishments that have an impact on the environment in all development sectors, supervising programs for monitoring sources of environmental pollution in addition to approving environmental impact studies, issuing environmental licenses for all development projects, and inspecting installations.
The ministry said the tasks of the National Center for Wildlife Development included supervising programs related to the protection and development of wildlife and biological diversity, as well as planning and managing protected areas and managing centers for the breeding and resettlement of endangered animals.
The National Center for Meteorology will monitor weather and climate conditions, prepare forecasts, provide airports, ports and other bodies with data and weather forecasts, and operate weather monitoring stations in the Kingdom’s regions.
The National Center for Waste Management will organize the waste management sector to improve the quality of services, enhance the level of capabilities and competencies, enhance the economic sustainability of the sector by stimulating investment and maximizing the participation of the private sector, reduce waste disposal in landfills by stimulating the use of best practices in resource recovery techniques.


Saudi women making their mark in science

Updated 19 January 2021

Saudi women making their mark in science

JEDDAH: Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.
Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.
In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.
Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.
Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.
Suha Kayum
Research engineer

With a career spanning 10 years, Kayum — a research engineer with Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center — was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramco’s reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.
Kayum was a developer for the company’s in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf Ahmed
Lab scientist

With a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmed’s main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.
She later joined the company’s Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramco’s Research and Development Center.
Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham Abuljadayel
Immunologist

In what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.
A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.
Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.
Dr. Abeer Al-Olayan
Petroleum scientist

With an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.
As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed Althagafi
Physician-scientist

Diagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.
Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.
She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-Johani
Scientist of physical chemistry

Her research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.
Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-Numair
Molecular bioinformatics scientist
Dubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.
She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.
Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.
Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.