The Vice Rectorate for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research (VR-GSSR) has the responsibility for promoting the development of graduate studies and the growth of scientific research by coordinating the activities of a large number of units across the University. These units allocate the infrastructure necessary for graduate studies and research, as well as the administrative and support needed by researchers, faculties and students. VR-GSSR also has a management and monitoring function for university research and teaching activities. Furthermore, VR-GSSR promotes interdisciplinary, intercollege and cross-campus collaboration by ensuring effective communication. VR-GSSR also provides necessary services and infrastructure to allow realization of the University’s teaching and research vision. The University Council monitors overall performance of the University’s research activities.
Emphasis is placed on securing major research grants from agencies including Ministry of Higher Education, King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology, ARAMCO, SABIC and Research Chairs.
VR-GSSR has established administrative structures, policies, and procedures for the establishment, accountability, and periodic review of Academic Programs, Research Institutes, Research Chairs, and Research Centers. It has focused very strongly on internal incentives and procedures to strengthen the quality and quantity of research performance.
VR-GSSR provides internal competitive research grants to help identify and foster emerging groups quickly and flexibly. It also provides seed money for promising projects that could not yet apply for external grants. A pool of professorial positions/researchers has been established at central level through attracting outstanding faculty and researchers program that supports centers, institutes or colleges to recruit international research talents. Professors as well as leaders at the institutional and college levels emphasize how important it is to encourage bottom-up initiatives. Particular attention is also paid to young researchers through Deanship of Scientific Research through Ra’id Program and Research Centers.
Indicator-based performance funding (e.g., publishing papers as outcome of funded projects in ISI-ranked journals) has been introduced at all research units in their research policies (Research Chairs, Research Centers, International Twinning, and Satellite Labs) in varying degrees, with the intention of improving research performance levels.
VR-GSSR publishes an annual report covering all its activities. Of particular importance is the data covering the research outcomes of Research Chairs Program, Satellite Labs, Twinning Program, Distinguished Scientists Fellowship Program and Visiting Professor Program. There are 27 research centers spread at various colleges within the University, including two research centers for female faculty members in the “Center of Female Scientific and Medical Colleges” and in the “Female Center for Humanitarian Studies”.
VR-GSSR has included the expansion of innovation activities in its research strategy and strategic proposed actions. Entrepreneurship and partnerships with industry are considered as the most important evidence of an activity having relevance in the current political and economic contexts. The cooperation with local industry and with other research agencies is actively encouraged by VR-GSSR as manifested in the following:
1 - Establishment of more than (110) research chairs sponsored by university and private donors.
2 - Several research projects funded by SABIC.
3 - A number of joint projects with ARAMCO.
4 - Several research projects funded by King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).
5 - Establishment of King Abdullah Institute for Nanotechnology (KAIN).
6 - Establishment of Prince Sultan Advanced Technology Research Institute (PSATRI) supported by Saudi Royal Air-Force.
7 - Establishment of Innovation Ecosyetems System (including Riyadh Techno-Valley (RTV) Project, Riyadh Valley Company, Innovation Center, Riyadh Incubator center, Intellectual Property and Technology Licensing Program (IPTLP)) where companies can come with ideas which they want to develop further in cooperation with university researchers.
In summary, the role of VR-GSSR is to promote and facilitate research, scholarship, and creative activities at King Saud University. In order to accomplish this, the VR-GSSR will:
- Develop and implement a strategic plan that is intended to support rich research and scholarly endeavors,
- Establish and oversee sound research policies and procedures based on the highest ethical and regulatory standards,
- Promote the commercialization of technology created through research for the benefit of the nation,
- Collaborate with potential research financial supporters to enhance available resources, and
- Enhance the reputation of the University through research excellence.