Times of Oman
Nov 30, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 03:23 AM GMT
‘Need for research in GCC intensifies’
July 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Muscat: As Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries step up efforts to diversify and align the economy further in sync with knowledge based developments, there is an ever greater need for research sector to be developed accordingly, Kuwait-based Markaz said in its latest report.

Significant investments into infrastructure projects, construction of economic cities , industrial clusters and establishment of world class universities has fuelled the demand for research. The entire Middle East region earned only a meagre one per cent of the global market research revenues which indicates the potential for market research in the region.

Lack of reliable data and credible research has stymied private sector investments, restraining their ability to take calculated risks.

Research based result providers in the GCC region include a host of international and national players. International agencies such as IMF, IIF, UNDP and OECD carry out economic research and provide economic, financial and structural policy advice to effectively manage the economy, increase trade, investments, productivity and the social well-being of citizens.

Their presence across countries and a wide reaching network that spans across continents enables them to compare different systems and recommend appropriate policies. They set the tone for analysis by other players and influence decision making by stimulating public debate on current policy.

Policy institutes and NGOs ensure greater public participation by holding debates and garnering opinions from a wide spectrum of people. They influence the decision making process and often hold policymakers accountable for the decisions they take by monitoring and evaluating policies. Policy research primarily focuses on social (education, healthcare and governance), economic (job creation, economic diversification), regional (resource conservation, citizenship, monetary union) and international (foreign policy, political relations and international affairs) issues.

Infrastructure projects often characterised by their complex nature are technically demanding, and call for competent resources with superior project management skills for their execution. Consultants armed with domain skills and immense networking powercontribute in this endeavour by identifying and assessing potential partners, carrying out due diligence exercise. They also help in feasibility studies, facilitate project management and advice on business strategy.

Universities and academic research centres are knowledge intensive institutions where academic research work is constantly carried out and disseminated. Recently established King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which has the second largest university endowment in the world of $20 billion, second only to Harvard's $32 billion, has the potential to spearhead research activity and establish itself as a major research hub in the region.

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