From: Mohammed Yahia, SciDevNet
Published September 25, 2009 03:51 PM

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Opens

Saudi Arabia's highly-anticipated King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which houses one of the world's fastest supercomputers, officially opened its doors this week (23 September).

Located in the city of Thuwal on the Red Sea, KAUST is the country's first co-educational facility. According to Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Saudi's minister of petroleum and mineral resources, the university will lead many aspects of economic development in the kingdom.


"We hope to be exporting as much solar energy as we are exporting oil in the future — KAUST research will be pivotal for that," said Al-Naimi, who is also chairman of the KAUST board of trustees.

KAUST boasts nine research centres specialising in areas such as water desalination, alternative energy, nanotechnology and stem cell research.

"KAUST is here to inspire a new age of scientific achievement," said Professor Choon Fong Shih, founding president of KAUST and former president of the highly respected research institution, the National University of Singapore.

To draw top researchers from around the world, KAUST has been forming partnerships with international research centres and universities since 2007 through its Global Collaborative Research (GCR) programme. Partners include Imperial College London, United Kingdom, and the global Dow Chemical Company.

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