King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

What is King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia?

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST, is an international, graduate-level research university built in the town of Thuwal, on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, approximately 80km north of Jeddah, the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia. KAUST opened in September 2009.

As stated on their website, KAUST is:

  • supported by a multi-billion dollar endowment ($10 billion)
  • governed by an independent, self-perpetuating Board of Trustees
  • merit-based and open to men and women from around the world

KAUST has the following divisions:

  • Chemical & Life Sciences & Engineering
  • Mathematical & Computer Sciences & Engineering
  • Physical Sciences & Engineering

Research Centers include:

  • Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials    
  • Catalysis    
  • Clean Combustion    
  • Computational Bioscience    
  • Geometric Modeling and Scientific Visualization    
  • Red Sea    
  • Solar and Photovoltaic Engineering  
  • Water Desalination and Reuse

As explained on the website, "A typical Research Center at KAUST consists of 8-10 members of faculty, 40-50 graduate students, research scientists and engineers, postdoctoral researchers, visiting researchers (including resident and visiting scientists from industry) and administrative and technical staff."

Core Labs and Major Facilities include:

Core Labs

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biosciences and Bioengineering (Genomics Core Lab, Proteomics Lab, Nucleic Acid Synthesis (Oligo))
  • Coastal and Marine Resources
  • Imaging and Characterization (Nanobiology Lab and Nanofabrication Lab)
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resources (NMR)
  • Visualization Core Lab
  • Workshops

Major Facilities

  • Advanced Nanofabrication, Imaging and Characterization Core Facilities
  • Center for Deep Computing Research and Supercomputing Facilities

According to a March 6, 2008 New York Times article, KAUST has signed five-year partnerships (worth $25 million or more) with the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University. Under the agreements, the universities will help pick the faculty and develop the curriculum for the new university

KAUST's language of operation will be English. Though based in Saudi Arabia, admission is not restricted to Saudis. Admission is merit-based, and is open to men and women from around the world.

KAUST's first president is Professor Choon Fong Shih, an internationally known engineering researcher, who received his PhD from Harvard in 1973.

A brief description of KAUST from their website states: "The University will be located in a secure environment featuring a well-planned and landscaped academic core and research laboratories, along with a seaside community and commercial center with a wide variety of shops and housing, from apartments to single-family homes. There will be parks, playgrounds, and schools for families with children; recreation amenities will include a golf course, yacht club, and marina. The campus will overlook the sea, and many of the residences will have waterfront views."

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