King Abdullah University to host KAUST Challenge Awards Ceremony on Oct 30

King Abdullah University to host KAUST Challenge Awards Ceremony on Oct 30

Riyadh (UNA-OIC) – King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), in cooperation with Asbar World Forum, will organize the award ceremony for the winners of the second KAUST Challenge, under the theme “Shaping the Future of Media”, on 30 October, in the presence of Acting Governor of Riyadh Region Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz.

Aimed at supporting the development of a digital-media ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, the competition comprised 15 finalists from national and foreign startups, who have demonstrated their ideas to an expert panel of judges. The award ceremony will also include a tour of the KAUST Journey Exhibition.

Factmata, a UK-based software company that used AI to identify harmful online content and two Saudi companies, Gherbal and Sahafa, are the shortlisted finalists. Gharbal developed a tool for spam detection and elimination of noise to create a smooth social networking experience. Whilst, Sahafa came up with a technology that would help journalists develop quality content based on accurate information. One of the three companies will be awarded SAR 300,000 while the two runner-ups will win SAR 37,500.

KAUST President Dr. Tony F. Chan said that the KAUST Challenge, ‘Shaping the Future of Media’ has been an excellent opportunity for the university to help address media industry challenges in the Kingdom and globally by leveraging best-in-class technology and innovation to make a positive impact on the media landscape.

Explaining the rationale behind the Challenge, Dr.Najah Ashry, Senior Associate to the President and Vice President of Strategic National Advancement at KAUST, said: “The exceptional quality of submissions demonstrates the imagination, ingenuity and commitment of KAUST to develop innovative solutions to modern challenges.”

“For the second successive year, we have witnessed submissions that could develop from ideas into products, services and tools that change our thinking and usher in entirely new industries. KAUST is proud to be at the forefront of innovation and contribute cutting-edge thought and research to the ongoing economic diversification of the Kingdom and play a leading role in its transformation to a knowledge-based economy,” she added.

Asbar World Forum Chairman Dr. Fahad Al-Orabi Al-Harthi noted that events such as these could catalyze the development of the intellectual capital of the country, aside from advancing the digital-media ecosystem.

“An advanced sector for information and communication technologies is integral to today’s industrial activities, as it has been envisaged in Vision 2030 that aims to transform the Kingdom into a globally competitive ICT hub, with modern technologies and an empowered information society,” he said.

Al-Harthi reaffirmed that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 remains a driving force for holding a competition focused on digital technology, where the Saudi government is working alongside the private sector to modernize the ICT infrastructure, enhance the regulatory framework to enable new innovative investments, and build the most suitable ecosystem to support entrepreneurs and digital talent.

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