Hayat Sindi

Dr. Hayat Sindi

Islamic Development Bank



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.

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 launched 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.

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 for a host of prestigious awards, including:

• An Emerging Explorer for National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers Program
• UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
• One of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World”
• Number 2 in Forbes’ list of the most powerful Arab women in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
• One of ‘150 Fearless Women’ selected by Newsweek and The Daily Beast
• Global Ambassador for Vital Voices
• Number 9 in CEO Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women
• Number 3 in CEO Magazine’s list of most powerful Saudi Arabian Women
• One of 24/7 Wall St.’s 32 Amazing Women Inventors

Dr. Sindi’s high profile role has seen her invited to participate on a number of esteemed panels and boards, including:

• In 2013 Dr. Sindi was one of the first 30 women to be appointed to the Saudi Arabia’s highest consultative body, the Shura Council.
• 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.
• An Honorary Advisor to the UN Environment Programme for the Eye on Earth Summit in 2015
• One of 50 international advisory scholars selected by the prestigious Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin.
• In 2016 she was appointed by the UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon to the 10 member group to support the technological facilitation mechanism (TFM) for the Sustainable Development Goals,
• Invited by the Prime Minister of Malaysia to join his Science and Innovation Advisory Council to support the country’s Vision 2020.