Hayat Sindi

Dr. Hayat Sindi is one of the world’s leading biotechnologists and a global champion of science and technology. She is a pioneering, inspirational female leader, working to improve the lives of people around the world, through her resolute belief in the power of science, technology and innovation to solve the greatest development challenges.

The Chief Advisor to the President of the Islamic Development Bank, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Sindi was voted one of the BBC’s top 100 Women 2018, a list of inspiring and influential women from around the world. Her remarkable career includes co-founding and co-inventing ‘Diagnostics For All’ – a programme to create to affordable diagnostic devices for millions of people in impoverished regions. alongside a team from Harvard University. These innovative, inexpensive, point-of-care diagnostic devices require no power, water or trained doctors and have the ability to provide potentially life-saving medical results in minutes. In 2008 Dr Sindi led the ‘Diagnostics For All’ business team to first place in Harvard Business School’s Business Plan Contest, in the social enterprise track, and also to first place in MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Competition in the same year. (The first time in history that the same team won first place in both competitions in the same year).

The first woman from the Gulf to obtain a Ph.D in biotechnology from the University of Cambridge, Dr. Sindi is driven by a passion to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems that can transcend existing gaps between education and opportunity. Additionally, Dr. Sindi was a visiting scholar at Harvard University; as such, she travelled often between Jeddah, Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Sindi 's laboratory work at Harvard earned her a spot with four other scientists in a documentary film supported by the Executive Office of the President of the United States in order to promote science education among young people.

This led to her to launching i2, the Institute for imagination and ingenuity, in 2011. Through fellowships, trainings and mentorships, i2 seeks to empower and inspire the next generation of innovators so that they may realize their dreams and ultimately contribute to the world. She has also invented a low cost diagnostic tool for early detection of breast cancer by converting light into sound, and holds nine patents. Her work encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship among young people was recognised in 2014, when she was awarded the Clinton Global Citizen Award for "Leadership in Civil Society.”

In 2017, Dr Sindi was appointed Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the IsDB. In this role, she has put Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) at the heart of Islamic Development Bank’s work, where it is a powerful driver of economic growth and sustainable development. In 2018, she contributed to the launch of the IsDB’s $500m Transform Fund and Engage platform to support innovators find solutions to development challenges through the power of innovation, the first digital hub of its kind for the developing world.

In 2019, Dr. Sindi was exceptionally awarded by TWAS with one of the 2020 Medal Lectures in recognition of her achievements in biotechnology as well as the leading and inspirational role as a woman scientist by putting innovation to the service of the developing world and of the promotion of science education among the new generations of scientists. (it is unusual that TWAS awards a Medal Lecture to a non-TWAS member)

Dr. Sindi is frequently sought out as a commentator by international media outlets due to her passion and knowledge for entrepreneurialism and innovation in developing countries. Her inspired
vision for an empowered youth through science, technology and innovation has contributed to her being chosen as a recipient of several prestigious awards, including:

• Named a 2009 and 2010 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow. This is the first time in the history of the organization that Poptech awarded a Poptech Science Fellowship to the same person in two consecutive years (2009, 2010)
• Winner of the Mekkah Al Mukaramah prize for scientific innovation, presented by HRH Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud (2010)
• One of the emerging explorers selected by of the National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers Program (2011)
• Selected as one of Newsweek's "150 Women Who Shake the World" (2012)
• Ranked by Forbes as Number 2 in’ list of the most powerful Arab women in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2012)
• Selected by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of ‘150 Fearless Women’ (2012)
• Named as a Global Ambassador for Vital Voices global partnership (2012)
• Named by CEO Magazine as the 9th most powerful Arab woman and the 3rd most powerful Saudi Arabian women (2012)
• Named one of “50 Academics and Think Tanks” by the prestigious Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin. (2015)
• Selected as one of 24/7 Wall St.’s 32 Amazing Women Inventors (2018)
• Indispensably contributed to the launch of IsDB $500mTransform Fund & Engage Platform (2018)

Dr. Sindi’s high profile and internationally recognized contributions has seen her invited and selected on a number of esteemed panels and boards as below:

• Appointed in 2012 by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for her efforts in promoting science education in the Middle East, especially for girls.
• Invited in 2013 by the Prime Minister of Malaysia to join his Science and Innovation Advisory Council to support the country’s Vision 2020.
• Selected in 2013 among the first 30 women to be appointed to the Saudi Arabia’s highest consultative body, the Shura Council.
• Selected in 2013 as one of 25 global experts selected by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to be a member of the newly constituted UN Scientific Advisory Board, which provides advice to the UN’s leadership on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development.
• Appointed in 2015 as an honorary Advisor to the UN Environment Programme for the Eye on Earth Summit
• Appointed in 2016 by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as one of a 10-member group to support the technological facilitation mechanism (TFM) for the Sustainable Development Goals.
• Appointed in 2017 as Senior Advisor to the IsDB President for Science, Technology and Innovation.
• Selected on BBC 100 Women list of inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2018.
• Appointed in 2019 by the Director-General of UNESCO as one of the five International Jury members for the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education, which is Funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
• Awarded in 2019 by TWAS with one of the 2020 Medal Lectures in recognition of her as a high caliber Saudi Arabian scientist.
• Appointed in 2020 by Alan Donnelly, Convener of the G20 Health and Development Partnership and Executive Chairman of Sovereign Sustainability and Development as a Global Ambassador for the G20 Health and Development Partnership.

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