Research, innovation and entrepreneurship are cornerstones of a country's economic growth. Nations which build knowledge, encourage innovation, and promote a culture of entrepreneurship could survive in this globally competitive era. Countries that have increased their investments in research and innovation have better prospects for their future. Recently, Gulf countries have started reforming their higher education systems and research institutions for transforming from national resources-based economies to knowledge-based economies. The manifestation of these endeavors can be seen from the restructuring of existing educational institutions and opening of new research and foreign universities and institutes in the GCC.
In addition, there is a great research surge in the Gulf for establishing innovation centers, center of research excellences, research chairs, technology transfer offices, entrepreneurship programs which may help them transferring their knowledge and technology from universities to industries. It is evident that the patent filing ratio is also growing day-by-day and institutions are introducing lucrative financial incentives and rewards for the inventors and innovators. Besides, several spin-off companies have been established through universities, and faculty and students are encouraged to come forward with their innovations for commercialization.
The major purpose of this special issue is to introduce the World to these new reforms in education, research and technology transfer of the Gulf countries. It also covers the newly introduced management practices and strategies for technology transfer, present a broad range of papers ranging from success stories, case studies, and comparative analyzes, etc. In addition, the adopted models for knowledge exchange and technology transfer by the GCC countries could provide good motivation and indications for other developing nations.
The first paper of this special issue by Al-Sudairi and Bakry (2014, pp. 177-184) is concerned with exploring the state of Saudi Arabia with regards to the main knowledge issues of the Global Innovation Index (GII) in order to direct its future knowledge development. This paper considers the knowledge issues as the core of innovation; and it provides an approach for their integrated assessment. It uses the approach to assess the state of Saudi Arabia in these issues relative to the countries enjoying distinct development, e.g., Brazil, Russia, India...