King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
|Motto||"Through Inspiration, Discovery"|
|Established||September 23, 2009|
|Location||Thuwal, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia
|Campus||3,600 hectares (8,900 acres)|
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (Arabic: جامعة الملك عبد الله للعلوم و التقنية jāmiʿat al-malik ʿabd al-Lāh li-l-ʿulūm wa-t-teqniyya) is a private research university located in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.
It was founded in 2009 and provides research and graduate training programs using English as the official language of instruction. It was announced in 2013 that KAUST had one of the fastest growing research and citation records in the world  and in the 2016 Nature Index Rising Stars was ranked #19 in the world of the fastest rising universities for high quality research output. KAUST was ranked as the world's top university in citations per faculty ranking indicator as per QS World University Rankings for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
KAUST is the first mixed-gender university campus in Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities hope the mixed-gender center will help modernize the Kingdom's deeply conservative society. The religious police do not operate on-site. Women are allowed to mix freely with men and to drive on campus, and they are not required to wear veils in the coeducational classes.
KAUST was Saudi Arabia's first LEED certified project and is the world's largest LEED Platinum campus. Designed by international architecture firm HOK, it was also chosen by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) as one of the 2010 Top Ten Green Projects. The university library received the 2011 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for accomplishments in library architecture.
The state-of-the-art core lab facilities provide training and services to the KAUST research teams and their collaborators and partners. Many types of specialized equipment are located across the University core lab facilities. Technical experts train users and run the equipment.
- The Supercomputing core lab links research institutions in the Kingdom and the region to the Shaheen II supercomputer through the 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) Saudi Arabian Advanced Research and Education Network (SAREN). Shaheen—the Arabic word for peregrine falcon—is the fastest supercomputer in the Middle East and is the 15th most powerful in the world, the most powerful supercomputer housed in an academic environment. Developed by Cray, it is capable of 222 teraflops, or 222 trillion floating point operations per second.
- Visualization: CORNEA is a fully immersive, six-sided virtual reality facility that gives students and researchers the ability to turn data into 3D structures that they can interact with and examine. It was built in partnership with the University of California, San Diego.
- Nanofabrication: A clean-room environment equipped with tools to support research in advanced materials, biotechnology, electronics and photonics, and MEMS/NEMS.
- The Imaging and Characterization Labs includes a suite of 11 nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) machines and 10 scanning electron microscopes, seven Titans Super transmission microcopes, and Raman Spectroscopy.
- Coastal and Marine Resources: Located next to the Red Sea, the facility builds and deploys oceanographic instrumentation and provides operational services to support research vessels for marine exploration, diving, and sampling.
- Analytical Chemistry: These labs focus on spectroscopy, chromatography and mass spectrometry, trace metals analysis, wet chemistry, and surface analysis.
- Bioscience: These facilities include cell sorting, genomic and proteomic analysis, protein expression and characterization, cell culture, and high-throughput third generation PacBio technology and next-generation Illumina DNA sequencing platforms to support genomics research projects.
- Workshops provide design and manufacturing support to fabricate customized experimental tools and equipment for KAUST researchers and their industrial partners.
Research and Technology Park
The research park allows technology-based businesses to establish office space, laboratory space or R&D and demonstration facilities. The park also provides incubator space for technology startups to support the innovation mission of KAUST to enable technology transfer, startup funding, and entrepreneurship. The park occupies around 2.7 million square meters of space next to the academic campus. Current tenants include Saudi Aramco, Dow Chemical and SABIC.
KAUST students, faculty and staff live in one of three residential areas: Safaa Gardens, Harbor District and Safaa Island neighborhood. Areas of community activity include Discovery Square, multiple gym facilities, libraries, and coffee shops. Discovery Square includes a movie theater, a grocery store, and several restaurants.
Academics and research
The university organizes interdisciplinary collaborative research teams across three academic divisions Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE); Computer, Electrical, and Mathematical Science and Engineering (CEMSE); and Physical Science and Engineering (PSE). It offers two graduate programs: a Master of Science degree (18 months) and a Ph.D. program (3–4 years).
KAUST focuses on research that applies science and technology to problems of human need, social advancement, and economic development. The main research thrusts are Resources, Energy and Environment; Biosciences and Bioengineering; Materials Science and Engineering; Applied Mathematics and Computational Science.
To support these thrusts, KAUST established multidisciplinary Research Centers focused on catalysis, clean combustion, computational bioscience, geometric modeling and scientific visualization, membranes, desert agriculture, Red Sea science and engineering, solar and alternative energy science and engineering, and water desalination and reuse.
Organization and administration
The leadership and administrative offices work together to pursue the University's mission to advance science and technology. The first president of the university was Choon Fong Shih. On February 16, 2013, the executive committee of the board of trustees at KAUST appointed Jean-Lou Chameau, the former president of the California Institute of Technology, as the new President of KAUST.
The board of trustees is headed by the former Saudi oil minister and OPEC leader Ali Al-Naimi. Furthermore, several current and former ministers serve on the board of trustees, like Al-Naimi's successor Khalid A. Al-Falih, Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Mansour bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and Mishaal bin Abdullah Al Saud. Moreover, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco Amin H. Nasser and the former president of the Islamic Development Bank Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Madani are among the Saudi board members. The international board members comprise the global managing director and CEO of McKinsey & Company Dominic Barton as well as several current and former university presidents like Charles M. Vest (MIT), Shirley M. Tilghman (Princeton), Frank H.T. Rhodes (Cornell), Alice P. Gast (Imperial College), Tony Chan (HKUST), and Nam Pyo Suh (KAIST).
As of 2016, KAUST has 940 students in total and 1200 alumni. The student population comes from over 60 nationalities from all continents, 69% of students are international and 31% are from Saudi Arabia. 83% of the postgraduate students are undertaking Ph.D. studies, whilst 17% are studying for an M.S. Interestingly, KAUST's student population includes 37% female and 63% male. The proportion of women is very high for a graduate program University in science and technology. Its graduate student council was established in 2009, for voicing students' interests. Under the council there are four subcommittees: Academic and Research Committee, Graduate Life Committee, International Business Relations Committee and University Relations Committee. Alumni of KAUST often end up working in industry (44%) whilst 56% are teaching or conducting research in global academic institutions. The top countries where alumni live, study and work are Saudi Arabia, the U.S.A., China, the U.K. and Canada.
- "QS World University Rankings® 2015/16". 2015-09-11. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- "QS World University Rankings 2016". 2016-08-25. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- "KAUST general FAQs". King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
- Slackman, Michael (18 November 2009). "A Saudi Gamble to See if Seeds of Change Will Grow". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- BBC - Saudis open hi-tech science oasis
- World's largest LEED-Platinum project finds place in Top Ten Green Projects
- AIA’s Top Ten Green Architecture Projects of 2010
- KAUST Library - 2011 AIA / ALA Library Building Awards
- "KAUST Research". King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
- Abdullah University of Science and Technology
- "KAUST Academics". King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
- Selingo, Jeff (22 April 2011). "Saudi Arabia’s Elite New University Pursues ‘High-Risk Research for a High Return’". The Chronicle. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "KAUST appoints new president". Asharq Alawsat. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.