The British Council Saudi Arabia is looking for UK universities interested in participating in a research-intensive UK Universities delegation to Saudi Arabia, from Sunday 03 December to Wednesday, 06 December 2023. 

The visit will be led by Sir Steve Smith, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative to Saudi Arabia and the UK Government’s International Education Champion. We seek participation from Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, and relevant academics from UK universities. The visit will cover Riyadh and Jeddah and provide the delegation with opportunities to establish new joint research projects with Saudi Universities and develop new academic partnerships between the UK and Saudi universities. This could involve standard degree programmes, shared research facilities, and other initiatives. 


Research is seen as a significant priority to Saudi Arabia, to support Vision 2030 reforms and enable the transition towards a knowledge and service-based economy. Saudi Arabia has recently committed to investing over 140 billion Saudi riyals (£30bn) in research and development projects by 2030. Much of this funding will be accessible to international partners seeking collaboration with Saudi industry and academia. 

The Research, Development, and Innovation Authority (RDIA) is a Saudi government agency established in 2021 to support and promote research and innovation in the country. The RDIA has several funding and grant programs available to researchers and innovators. The four national RDIA research and development priorities are: 

  • Health and Wellness 
  • Sustainable Environment and Essential Needs 
  • Energy and Industrial Leadership 
  • Economies of the Future 

Expression of Interest Application 

We would be pleased to receive expressions of interest from research-intensive UK universities with a strong track record of research under the four national research priorities listed above, and an involvement in large-scale partnerships with industry. UK universities with existing partnerships in Saudi Arabia, or the wider region, are also desired. 

Please complete the online expression of interest form by Tuesday 24 October

For any queries about this opportunity, please get in touch on this email address.