Intel to expand Digital Transformation Initiative

Expansion to education and research programs, new Intel Capital signings for Intel

Tags: EducationEgyptEntrepreneurIntel CorporationLebanonOmanSaudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
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Intel to expand Digital Transformation Initiative The expansion of the Digital Transformation Initiative will help grow regional economies, says Kilroy. (ITP Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  September 27, 2010

Intel has been celebrating the fifth anniversary of its Digital Transformation Initiative in the Middle East, a program which aims to improve economic and educational development through technology in the region.

The program, which was launched in 2005, has focused on building opportunities for research and development in the region, supporting start-up companies in the high tech sector, and improving education in schools and colleges.

Speaking during a keynote speech in Dubai today, Thomas Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager sales and marketing group, Intel Corporation, announced the expansion of the Digital Transformation Initiative to build on its success so far.

“Over the last five years, we trained 850,000 teachers in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, invested in eight companies through Intel Capital, and last year alone we incubated almost 50 researchers from the region,” Kilroy said. “These investments, be they educational, monetary or consultancy time are part of our efforts to help the Arab world truly become a global competitor. We believe this region has tremendous potential and look forward to building further successful collaborations.

“Through expanding the Digital Transformation Initiative we are committed to helping countries across the Middle East grow the regional economy with increased competitiveness to meet the challenges of today, as well as being better prepared for the unforeseen challenges of tomorrow,” he added.

The program will be expanded with a focus on three main banners Promote Research, Inspire Innovation and Enhance Education.

To promote research, Intel will expand its program of internships and collaboration with universities and research institutes, to increase the number of researchers that it provides with internships or other opportunities to 100 each year, having already worked with 50 researchers in the region over the past two years.

Intel will launch a local science competition by the end of the year, which will link into Intel’s global International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the US. Intel will also extend its education programs to 15 countries in the region, with the target of training 1.5 million teachers by 2014.

For local innovation, Intel Capital, Intel’s investment organisation will continue to invest in local companies in the region in technology fields such as connectivity and local content.

Samir Al Schamma, Intel’s regional director for Middle East and North Africa confirmed that Intel Capital was close to finalising several deals by the end of the year, in the aforementioned fields.

“In addition to the investments we’ve made, there are a handful of investments that are going through the last phases right, now, we expect a few of those to close this year,” he said.

In the education field, Intel announced a new agreement signed yesterday with the UAE Ministry of Education, which will deliver the Intel Teach Program to all teachers in the Emirates. The program, which has already been delivered to 850,000 teachers across the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa, aims to show teachers the power of technology and how they can integrate it into learning environments.

Under the agreement with the UAE, Intel will train 280 master teachers, who will then train another 15,000 teachers in the country in the next 12 months. Intel also signed a similar deal in May to bring the program to 45,000 teachers in Oman over the next 4-5 years.

“For the Arab world to become truly competitive we have to tackle regional issues with a multifaceted approach.” Al Schamma added. “By developing education, providing platforms for enhanced innovation and opportunities for research we believe the youth of today will be able to make a positive contribution towards Middle Eastern economic development.”

Kilroy also said that Intel would continue to support its existing research programs in the region, including its Centre of Excellence for Wireless Applications (CEWA) with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST); the Centre of Excellence in Nano-Manufacturing Applications (CENA), which is run with a consortium of over 30 universities across the MENA region; and the Middle East Energy Efficiency Research Project (MER) which is being run in partnership with Nile University, Cairo, American University of Beirut, Middle East Technical University in Turkey and KACST.

Support for local technology projects, along with internships in the US and with CEWA were an important part of helping to reduce regional brain drain, said Kilroy, by offering opportunities within the region for graduate students rather than them having to look overseas.

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