The Department aspires to provide world-class education in the major fields of biomedical science and biotechnology that are most relevant to the sustainable development of a knowledge-based economy in the KSA. Development of biotechnology and biomedical sciences have been prioritized in the governmental Science and Technology National Policy (STNP): according to the KACST, biomedical and biotechnology sectors receive majority (21.9% and 20.2%, respectively) of the National Science Technology and Innovation Plan (NSTIP) funding. According to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority website: "Building a life sciences industry in KSA is one of the government's top economic priorities. In addition to transforming the economy and its infrastructure to support knowledge-based industries, the government is supporting the sector's development through a variety of direct and complementary investments."
Currently, the Department is offering a BSc degree in Life Sciences. The Life Sciences Program focuses on the mechanisms that underlie and regulate fundamental biological processes; on the functions of complex biological systems on molecular, cellular and organismal levels; and on biomedical aspects of modern genetics, genomics and bioinformatics. The curriculum of the program emphasizes the acquisition of conceptual and laboratory skills in biochemistry, molecular biology and other natural sciences (chemistry, physics) with attention to molecular biomedical diagnostics and biotechnology. Biotechnology is a series of enabling technologies that involve the manipulation of living organisms or their sub-cellular components to provide novel pharmaceuticals and other products of human or animal consumption, as well as design of new technological processes or services. Industries are turning to biotechnology to improve their products and make the manufacturing process more advanced and cost-effective. This trend has resulted in a large increase in the number of positions available for individuals trained in the life sciences, especially molecular biology and genetics.
The Department plans to introduce a MSc degree program in Molecular Biosciences that will provide an opportunity for postgraduate education in specific fields of modern biosciences for graduates from Life Sciences and related undergraduate programs.
Dr. George Kulik.