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TRSDC Signs Master Research Agreement with KAUST
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 21 - 06 - 2021

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has signed a Master Research Agreement (MRA) with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The agreement, which is open for renewal after five years, follows extensive collaboration between the two organizations on flora and fauna assessments, marine spatial planning, and an international competition called the Brains-for-Brine Challenge. The MRA cements the legal framework for mutually beneficial research projects on topics including, sustainability of marine environments, waste management systems, sustainable food production, energy conservation, and carbon sequestration.
"There is a growing realization that tourism needs to be far more sustainable and even regenerative in its approach. The Red Sea coast of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the most pristine environments in the world and by working with KAUST, we can not only preserve, but actually enhance this unique treasure for future generations", said CEO of TRSDC John Pagano.
"Achieving carbon neutrality and enhancing biodiversity in this unique and pristine location is a challenging task, but it is of great importance. By working with some of the world's greatest scientists at KAUST, it is a challenge that we can rise to", said Chief Environment Officer at TRSDC Dr. Rusty Brainard.
He added that 11 of the current staff of the TRSDC Department of Environment and Sustainability have roots at KAUST, including seven that earned doctoral degrees at KAUST and two that completed postdoc appointments at KAUST.
A KAUST-TRSDC working group is presently planning for a joint Marine Research and Coral Conservation Center at the Red Sea Project site. The space will act as a base for long-term marine research and monitoring, and in time will be open to future visitors so they can learn about the natural environment and wildlife in the area.
For his part, KAUST Vice President for Research Dr. Donal Bradley said that the Red Sea Project is an important part of the Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the local economy and create new environmentally sustainable opportunities for the Saudi people.
He pointed out that KAUST researchers and scientists supported the development of the destination's master plan with the delivery of an extensive Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) exercise. As a result, 75% of the project's islands will be left undeveloped in a conservation-to-development ratio unprecedented in any documented coastal development plan in the world.

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