Extending collaboration at 2018 Innovation to Impact Forum

HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman tours the KAUST exhibit with (left to right) KAUST President Nadhmi Al-Nasr, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Khalid Al-Falih, Vice President Najah Ashry, and Professor Michael Berumen.

​The second Innovation to Impact Forum was held at the Cambridge, Massachusetts campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on March 24. The forum was developed to foster greater collaboration between academia, the private sector and government in Saudi Arabia and the United States. 

The one-day event was organized by a joint planning committee of institutions from Saudi Arabia and the Greater Boston area, and is part of an ongoing collaboration between King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), KAUST, the Saudi Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (SMEA), MIT and other leading academic institutions and corporations from the U.S.

The highlight of the forum was Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's inauguration of several collaborations between U.S. and Saudi organizations.

The 2018 Innovation to Impact Forum builds on the success of last year's inaugural meeting, which took place on the KAUST campus with key decision makers and experts in energy, agriculture, technology, healthcare and bioscience. Through a series of roundtables this year, attendees explored solutions that align to Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and U.S. goals to advance cutting-edge scientific research. The forum aims to create meaningful opportunities for researchers, students and entrepreneurs in both nations to advance sustainable energy and infrastructure technologies, improve health, advance education for women and foster entrepreneurship.

KAUST Interim President Nadhmi Al-Nasr speaks during the Innovation to Impact Forum on MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. File photo.

"We are delighted to bring the event to Greater Boston this year—to one of the world's greatest innovation hubs—further strengthening the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.," said Nadhmi Al-Nasr, interim president of KAUST. "With our deep commitment to advancing the innovation landscape in the Kingdom and expanding opportunities for Saudi students and entrepreneurs, this gathering and exchange of knowledge between experts will have a positive impact on our economy as well as the goals of our partners in the U.S."

"Thanks to Vision 2030, the Kingdom is moving towards a promising future. A key element of this strategy involves building collaborative relationships around the world, including with leading universities, hospitals and corporations in Greater Boston, and MIT is pleased to bring this impressive group together for this year's Innovation to Impact forum," said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. "Today, as we hear from our Saudi guests about their aspirations and their progress and as we showcase the strength of our region's innovation ecosystem, we are delighted to commit to further opportunities for creative and mutually beneficial collaborations on important technology and societal issues."

Chairman of the KAUST Board of Trustees Khalid A. Al-Falih (right) speaks with MIT President L. Rafael Reif during the Innovation to Impact Forum on MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. File photo.

This year's Innovation to Impact Forum coincides with the first official visit to the U.S. by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who will tour a technology showcase exhibit and hold an open dialogue with Saudi students, scientists and inventors to discuss the technologies, solutions and innovations that are being advanced by Saudi talent in Cambridge, Boston and the surrounding metropolitan area.

For more information on the Innovation to Impact Forum, please visit

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