Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS)

Introduction and Background

Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) has a 37 year history of supporting the advancement of science and technology in Kuwait. In 1976, a visionary call by the late Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, then Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Kuwait, was favourably embraced by the Chamber of Commerce and leaders of the economic sector in the country. It resulted in the establishment of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences by an Amiri Decree on 12th December 1976; stating its mandate as a private non-profit organization devoted to supporting scientific research today. The Foundation’s work is overseen by a Board of Directors, chaired by H.H. the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. It is financially supported by Kuwaiti private sector companies who have made generous contributions throughout the years, the contribution is currently set at 1% of their net annual profit.

One of the foremost goals of KFAS is to promote scientific development in the State of Kuwait by supporting scientific projects, the scientific community, and the country’s scientific infrastructure.

While much has been accomplished by KFAS and related scientific institutions in Kuwait, there is much still to be sought after. The State of Kuwait has grown rapidly in terms of population and economy, the latter as a result of steadily increasing oil revenues. Today, the public sector accounts for more than 70% of the GDP and employs more than 85% of the national workforce. The consensus among the majority of stakeholders is that this growth is not structurally sustainable in the long run and that alternative national development strategies, based on building a complimentary, efficient and competitive private sector economy, are urgently needed.

Recognizing this need, H.H. the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al Jaber Al-Sabah, commissioned in 2007 a “blue-ribbon panel”; the Kuwait Research Review Panel (KRRP), which was tasked to review the organization and the performance of Research and Development and make recommendations for restructuring and advancing Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Kuwait.

The panel presented a number of recommendations aimed at strengthening the overall STI system and culture throughout Kuwait, i.e. improving the capabilities and in some cases redirecting the activities of several STI institutions including KFAS, Kuwait University (KU), Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET), National Technology Enterprises Company (NTEC), and the Kuwait Science Club (KSC).

Recognizing its unique role within the national STI system in Kuwait and responding to the recommendations in the panel’s report, KFAS conducted an extensive assessment of its historical performance by benchmarking itself against similar institutions in the region and on a global level. KFAS consulted with representatives from its key stakeholders and worked closely with recognized leading international and domestic experts in Research and Development (R&D), policy, and STI evaluation to support this assessment.

Based on the KRRP’s recommendations and external assessment and findings in 2009, KFAS management embarked on developing a new strategic plan that would help meet the future needs of Kuwait’s STI system. The preparatory steps were carefully designed.

The first step was the evaluation of current situation (status quo), followed by numerous steps like the determination of the basic requisites, identification of the targeted sectors, revision of vision and mission, defining the primary goals of the strategy and the expected results. An examination of the on-going and proposed programs and activities were then made.

Problem and solution trees for each program were carefully prepared and analysed, and the institutional requirements and arrangements to achieve the goals of the strategic plan were identified. The last step was to come up with a set of key performance indicators to measure the degree of success over the years at all levels.

KFAS Strategy (2012 – 2016)

The strategy is a result of intensive consultation through numerous meetings lead by the management team at KFAS and its centers. It reflects the latest thinking on the STI needs of Kuwait, the proper role of KFAS and its centers in meeting part of those needs, and a more systematic approach to formulating and selecting programs for KFAS funding.

KFAS programs in the strategy are directed towards contributing tangibly to the development of an effective STI system and culture in Kuwait.

In addition to supporting R&D capacity and activities in priority fields, such as water, energy, the environment, and the development and the dissemination of STI culture, the plan puts further emphasis on STI capacity building of the private sector and strengthening of innovation system.


“An Effective Science, Technology and Innovation System and Culture, to which KFAS has contributed, that underpins the sustainable development of the State of Kuwait”

This vision statement reflects several important concepts based on the Foundation’s past experience and current philosophy. It is nationally-focused and draws on valuable resources to successfully position Kuwait to compete in a knowledge-based economy in the future.


Stimulate, support, and invest in initiatives and human resources that contribute to the building of a strong STI system and culture and fostering an enabling environment. The initiatives include improving public understanding of science; strengthening innovation and research capacity and enhancing the enabling cultural environment; supporting the gifted and talented; translating knowledge into innovation; and encouraging private technology capabilities.

This mission statement defines KFAS’ role and ambitions driving the strategy outlined below. It primarily redefines KFAS as a funding institution. Given its modest annual resources, when compared to the overall STI funding by public institutions at the national level; KFAS will need to effectively leverage its targeted investments and efficiently execute its role as a catalyst to achieve its goals.

Strategic Thrust Areas

In developing the strategy, four thrust areas were identified. They address the development and human resource needs of the Science, Technology and Innovation System by leveraging the resources of KFAS and other stakeholders. Distribution of KFAS’ available resources was given great consideration to ensure maximum impact.

Strategic Thrust 1 – Advocacy of Scientific Culture:

Contribute to the development of a strong advocacy for science including science education, support the gifted and talented, and to help advance scientific culture and the enabling environment in Kuwait

Strategic Thrust 2 – Scientific Research:

Enhance and integrate Research and Development capacity in and among Kuwaiti Scientific Institutions to address national development priorities

Strategic Thrust 3 – Innovation in Science and Technology:

Support innovation and assist in developing the required links to commercialization within a framework of an integrated Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) system

Strategic Thrust 4 – Innovation and Enterprise:

Supporting the development of the Private Sector’s scientific and technological capacities and participate in building a knowledge economy