NEOM to establish education, research & innovation sector

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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NEOM establishes ERI Sector
Rep.Image (Courtesy: NEOM)

Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion futuristic city, NEOM, has revealed plans to establish a world-class education, research and innovation (ERI) sector.

The plan follows last year’s appointment of Mr. Andreas Cangellaris as the founding president of NEOM U, NEOM’s flagship university.

NEOM’s ERI will consist of four interconnected pillars: NEOM U, the Education, Research and Innovation Foundation, the Talent Academy, and early childhood to 12th-grade education schools.

The sector will enable access to a world-class education, research and innovation ecosystem at any stage of the life of a learner. For example, NEOM’s Talent Academy will support ongoing professional development by providing upskilling and career-long learning opportunities designed in collaboration with NEOM’s array of sectors.

NEOM’s academic programs and research and innovation activities will focus on societal challenges, built on its strategic priorities, to drive strong engagement with global partners across new and varied industries.

The ERI Foundation’s Applied Research Institute (ARI), initiated via the new NEOM Green Hydrogen and e-Fuels ARI and the NEOM-KAUST Ocean Science and Solutions ARI, is a key first element of this action.

Nadhmi Al-Nasr_NEOM establishes ERI sector
Nadhmi Al-Nasr

“Education is the foundation of every society. It is only right that a community such as NEOM, which envisions nothing less than a new future for the world, should have in place an education system fit to meet the needs of tomorrow. The establishment of the new ERI sector at NEOM is a crucial step forward in helping us meet our goals, the goals of Vision 2030, and the global challenges of the coming years.”

According to Mr. Cangellaris, “Education is the cornerstone of progress. In support of NEOM’s vision, we are currently building cutting-edge facilities, academic programs, and research initiatives to help achieve our goals. NEOM’s distinct role allows it to embrace the latest educational theories and technological innovations to shape the future of learning. We look forward to working with leaders across industries on designing this interconnected hub on an intellectual foundation of critical thinking, in turn driving progress on a global scale.”

The curricula deployed across NEOM’s ERI pillars will prepare a digitally fluent workforce, equipping students with real-life skill sets and critical thinking capabilities. Next-generation technology, inquiry and experiential-based learning, and digital tools such as VR simulation training will be integrated across all age groups and education provisions.

Leveraging NEOM’s unique “living laboratory” environment, NEOM U graduates will develop the skills to design innovative solutions through experiential learning.

Students will be able to access the Talent Academy’s online programs from 2024, while NEOM U plans to offer classes online as early as 2025.

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