Opinion

KAUST... a Saudi University in a new world

July 16, 2021

By Ibrahim Abdulmajeed

Two months ago, I received two issues of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) publications from a fellow Saudi journalist Mr. Ali Makki Idris. What caught my attention upon reading them was the sense of modernity of life in the “new Saudi Arabia”.

I was astonished by the level of scientific and cultural progress of many of its youth. This holds true to all young and adult Saudis that I happen to see on the media or those I interviewed in Egypt and abroad. I also knew that KAUST participated in Cairo International Book Fair 2021 with a professional crew, including Mr. Idris, who is constantly active and highly knowledgeable of KAUST.

I learned from going through these two magazines that KAUST is a Saudi university that has been actively contributed in national development in Saudi Arabia since 2010, nurturing talents of both genders via distinguished development programs in order to support the next generation of leaders and decision makers in the country, while ensure successful job opportunities for young Saudis.

I cannot narrow down the names of top researchers and scientists that gathered at KAUST campus from all over the world, but I’ll mention some of them such as Dr. Tony Chan, KAUST president, Carlos Duarte, distinguished professor of Marine Science, Salim Al Babili, professor of Plant Science, Magdy Mahfouz, associate professor of Bioengineering, and Pierre Magistretti, distinguished professor and director of KAUST Smart Health, the list goes on.

KAUST has s Strategic National Advancement division charged with guiding KAUST's strategy to serve Saudi Arabia's transformation priorities. In addition, it has an innovation department that contributes in the Kingdom initiatives and visions to diversify the economy, by transform it to a knowledge-based economy, promotes industrial cooperation, and funding promising startups.

Among KAUST most important academic divisions are Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division (BESE), Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division (CEMSE), and Physical Science and Engineering Division (PSE). Furthermore, it has many research centers include Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Research Center (AMPMC), the Desert Agriculture Center, the Red Sea Research Center (RSRC), KAUST Solar Center (KSC), Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center (ANPERC), to name a few.

Moreover, KAUST houses many highly sophisticated and advance core laboratories in the region include Analytical Chemistry Lab, Biosciences Lab, Coastal and Marine Resources Lab, Nanofabrication Core Lab, Supercomputing Core Laboratory, and many more. These laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to help faculty members and scientists publish their innovative research in top international science and engineering journals.

Collaboration is a big theme at KAUST, and the University has no short of a list here. However, I will list the most recent ones that include, signing a research MoU with the Red Sea Development Project Company, the cooperation with NEOM to build the largest coral garden in the world, and KAUST Circular Carbon Economy Initiative to reduce and recycle carbon emissions.

Many impactful research is done at KAUST to address critical issues that are facing the world and humanity, one such research is desert agriculture aims to develop a secure and sustainable way to provide food for ten billion people. KAUST also conducts research and studies to create a user-friendly diagnostic tool for Covid-19 pandemic, develop programs to improve organs donation system in the country for which major hospitals in Saudi Arabia such as King Faisal Specialist Hospital cooperate with them. The University has many great contributions in devolving cybersecurity sector by providing updated programs to protect data and user’s privacy from cyberattacks using its top-of-the-line infostructure.

Every day, KAUST affirms its position in the world as a global center of research excellence, this made the University an attractive destination for all researchers in the world. What's so fascinating about KAUST journey is the fact that it started as a dream and now it is in the heart of innovation and technological advancement.

— Egyptian writer and novelist. He can be reached at @ibmeguid or ibrahimabdelmeguid@hotmail.com.


July 16, 2021
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