Secretary-General of the King Khaled Charitable Foundation Princess Moodhy bint Khaled has announced that the Foundation will endow one million Saudi riyals annually to support post-graduate research studies by Saudi women. The amount will be given for a period of five years, specifically for scientific studies at the Research Center of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. During the current year, there are six Saudi women students enrolled at the Center for the first time, four seeking doctorates and two working on master's degrees.
The announcement was made at the opening in Riyadh today of the first conference for female researchers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, which is being held at the hospital. The 15 researchers participating called for removal of all obstacles to scientific research. Among them are Dr. Suad Aamir, head of the research unit for breast cancer at the hospital's research center; Dr. Sameera Islam of the King Fahd Medical Research Center at King Abdulaziz University; Dr. Fatma Jamjoom, supervisor of the medical sciences and studies department at King Saud University; and Dr. Fowziya Al-Saleh, a member of Bahrain's Shura Council. Dr. Sameera spoke of the problems faced by women in scientific research and studies, noting that out of 166 medical research papers presented at King Abdulaziz University over the past 20 years, only 17 were the work of women.
In a related development, the King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST) has instituted a third category for the Al-Marai Prize for Scientific Excellence, exclusively for women researchers. The other categories, for best scientist and best innovative work, are open to both men and women.