I was watching Youtube when an old video (from the 80s) popped up which highlighted a number of ambitious projects with some good vision to put Kuwait on track. One interview attracted me more than others when an official, who still holds his title from the 80s, envisioned a plan to speed up Kuwait's research community to state-of-the-art advances and then turning Kuwait into a research hub with research programs that truly extend state of the art. But guess what! Kuwait's research community struggles to proceed and the mindful wonder why?
Let us review Kuwait's economy.
Kuwait has consistently ranked high in GDP per capita since the 80s. Low oil prices often pressure the economy, which won't last long. I think we all agree that the recent thirty years had little money problems.
Was Kuwait short in institutional support? Surely not. Researchers can join either Kuwait University, KISR, and PAAET (and perhaps others) to pursue research. So, why Kuwait is still short in research?
The answer is simple: inefficient government research grants. Research grants in Kuwait are like buildings (homes, offices, shops, etc.) in Kuwait, big in size but small in accommodation. Each person sleeps in a big room with a dedicated restroom and an apartment's furniture, yet the person isn't in the room 50% of his time! Many grants expire without a complete expenditure. Rusty rules put hard coded limits on the wages, percentages limit salaries, and bylaws limit the time for working on a project. The research sector, thus, wastes money, doesn't produce much, and remains theoretical, just like our buildings.