The centrepiece of the Muscat Innovation Complex, the Innovation Building will open mid-2021, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation announced on Tuesday. The project aims to activate a knowledge-based economy in the sultanate supported by scientific research, innovation and entrepreneurship as well as strengthen Oman’s position as a scientifically advanced country in line with Vision 2040.
H E Dr Saif bin Abdullah al Haddabi, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, informed that 95 per cent of the building is complete, while some procedures related to its operations are being currently finalised.
Spread over an area of 540,000sqm near Sultan Qaboos University in Al Khoudh, Muscat Innovation Complex will cover four fields of research – environment and water, renewable energy, biotechnology, and food security and heath in accordance with the national strategy for scientific research.
The building includes business incubators for innovators on an area of 4,000sqm, a one-stop shop, a mini commercial complex and theatre. In addition, it will have directorates and departments of scientific research and innovation.
The complex’s research and development centre includes several plots of land designated for establishing research, development and training centres for local and international companies. The plots range from 8,000sqm to 10,000sqm.
H E Dr Haddabi confirmed that the complex will be a catalyst for research investment with its close proximity to Sultan Qaboos University, Rusayl Industrial Area, Oman Botanic Garden, Knowledge Oasis Muscat and other services such as Muscat International Airport.
According to H E Dr Haddabi, organisations have started communicating with the ministry to reserve space to establish their research centres in the complex. The ministry is also working to attract organisations that develop businesses, such as the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Riyada).
“The master plan for the current development consists of three phases and will focus on four research specialties related to Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. Muscat Innovation Complex is based on three elements – the private sector, the academic and research sector, and the government sector,” he said.
The National Strategy for Scientific Research and Development 2040 has proposed allocating a certain percentage of the GDP for scientific research and development activities, starting with 0.5 per cent in 2021 and increasing gradually to reach two per cent by 2040.