- Research :
Research used to be organized on an individual basis; a member of staff; alone or in conjunction with a few members, would present a research project for approval by the Ethics Committee and Scientific Committee.
This had resulted, in most cases, in fragmented research achievements. Funding for large projects of national interest were funded by the King Abdulaziz National City for Science and Technology. The latter is an independent body which grants funds under competition to researchers in any university. The defects in the old system were addressed after the creation, this year, of 17 research chairs.
The new chairs are funded jointly by King Saud University and corporate and private sponsorships. They aim at streamlining research in one direction and to create centers of excellence linked with research centers in other Asian and Western Universities and centers of research.
I am not a holder of a chair position but I won – against competition – a large grant to conduct a national survey of the epidemiology of tuberculosis in Saudi Arabia. Also, I am currently on sabbatical dedicated entirely to research into the differentiation between asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. My sabbatical is spent entirely at King Saud University.