Kuwait Programme celebrates 10th anniversary with five-year renewal

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) has generously renewed its support for the Kuwait Programme in LSE’s Middle East Centre.

Julia Black with Dr Adnan Shihab-EldinSince being established in 2007, the Kuwait Programme has become a world-leading hub for research and expertise on Kuwait and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council. The programme is the main conduit through which research at the School on Kuwait is facilitated, expanded and promoted. 

The programme was founded with an initial grant of £2.8 million to establish the Kuwait Professorship, currently held by Director of the Middle East Centre, Professor Toby Dodge, and another £2.9m to fund the ten-year research programme. Combined with funding for other research projects, the foundation’s support for the School now totals £8.4 million.

Professor Dodge said: “This generous five-year grant from KFAS will allow LSE, in close collaboration with Kuwaiti academics, to pursue world-class research, as well as strengthen the already close and productive relationship between LSE and Kuwait.”

The Kuwait Programme has enabled LSE to produce a large, varied and policy relevant body of world-class academic research on Kuwait and the Gulf, including 38 peer-reviewed research papers and a number of multi-year research projects. Furthermore, it has created and developed academic networks between Kuwait, the Gulf, the UK, Europe and North America, and has held a number of public events in Kuwait, including two international conferences.

The programme has also deepened ties between Kuwait and the UK at the highest level: in 2012 Queen Elizabeth II mentioned it during the state visit of the Kuwaiti Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah.

Professor Dodge cited some of the many other examples of how KFAS’s support leads to tangible impact on research into Kuwait and the Gulf region. “The Kuwait Programme benefits greatly from its annual call for proposals for the LSE Kuwait Academic Collaborations, enabling valuable partnerships between Kuwait-based researchers and LSE faculty. Among many other outputs, LSE Cities has delivered a pioneering investigation into land and energy, exploring their relationships with city form, urban dwelling and mobility, with Kuwait one of the regions studied,” he said.

“Meanwhile internal research grants help provide the funds for LSE academics to conduct ground-breaking Kuwait-focused research,” he continued. “In addition, an annual competition run by the Kuwait Programme provides fellowships for researchers based in Kuwait, giving them an invaluable opportunity to visit LSE and benefit from the School’s world class academic setting to help inform their own research.”

Other specific projects made possible by the Kuwait Programme include LSE Health, led by Professor Elias Mossialos, examining the causes of some of the most prevalent chronic diseases in Kuwait.

Planned research themes include reforming the delivery of healthcare in Kuwait and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council; improving the role of Kuwait’s parliament in legislation and governmental oversight; and diversifying energy consumption in Kuwait’s oil rich economy.

Dr Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of KFAS, said: “The Kuwait Programme has created valuable opportunities for debate and exchange of knowledge with local researchers, policymakers and representatives of the private sector. Under the directorship of Professor Dodge, the programme reached an unprecedented level of efficiency and cooperation that has been central to its success.”

He added: “Looking ahead, the renewed strategic partnership will build on the experience gained, linking the wide research community of LSE to Kuwaiti researchers in order to collaborate in specialised fields such as energy, housing, healthcare, and fiscal policy.”