Saudi Arabia was among the top 40 countries investing in research and development (R&D) areas in 2014, local media said, quoting a report by Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA). The report, based on studies carried out by a US research firm, said Saudi Arabia allocated 0.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) for R&D. On the other hand, Qatar allocated 2.8 percent of GDP for R&D, which put the tiny Gulf country on a par with major countries such the United States and Germany, the report said. Meanwhile, the GPCA has announced the launch of the 2nd research and innovation forum in Dubai from March 16 to 18 and stressed the role of innovation as a key growth driver to the petrochemical industry in the GCC countries. Secretary-General of GPCA Abdulwahhab Al-Sadoun said efforts to stimulate innovation in the GCC countries are still in their early stages. However, increased spending on R&D will positively affect other nonoil sectors, he was quoted as saying. The growth in the number of innovation and technological centers in the GCC countries is a positive indication, he said. The number of patents on the petrochemical sector in the GCC countries has reportedly grown fivefold in the last decade.
Based on data released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the number of patents in chemistry for GCC researchers grew to 288 in 2013 compared to 48 in 2004.