The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) builds on the tradition of the Arab golden age of knowledge, when from the 8th to 11th centuries, scholars of Baghdad’s Bayt al-Hikma, or House of Wisdom, preserved and enlarged on Greek and Roman discovery, anticipated and informed Renaissance scholarship, and made seminal contributions to geometry, physics, optics, medicine, logic, engineering and other fi elds. As wisdom’s new house, KAUST is chartered to bring the world to Saudi Arabia on one campus to explore and develop solutions that will transcend national boundaries to serve the world.
The university will be international in scope, open to men and women of all nationalities and faiths, creating opportunities for top minds to address common global issues and problems. Initially, KAUST will focus on four interdisciplinary research clusters:energy and the environment, biosciences and engineering, materials science and engineering, and applied mathematics and computational science. The university, in collaboration with the world’s foremost research and academic institutions, will recruit top students globally to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees and conduct research. KAUST’s Innovation Center, a key element of the university, will link researchers and industry to drive economic growth and create jobs. These goals of forming a knowledge-based economy, supporting scientists and their work at national and international levels, and benefi ting the world through research and economic development will be achieved through partnerships and collaborative agreements with leading universities and research centers around the globe.
In addition, KAUST’s $20 billion endowment will place the university in the upper echelon of the world’s top-funded institutions of higher learning.
It is true that KAUST’s physical campus represents a mega-project, but Saudi Aramco’s participation is the result of more than the company’s success with giant construction projects. For nearly 75 years, the company has been the Kingdom’s international model, with 65 nationalities working together to help meet the world’s energy needs.
Leadership in Community Enrichment
In a major, unprecedented undertaking at the direction of the government, Saudi Aramco is developing the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a world-class graduate research university that promises to usher in a new era of scientific and technological discovery. This unique cooperative research complex is intended not only to advance academic knowledge and strengthen and diversify the economies of Saudi Arabia and the region, but also to contribute to global economic and social advancement by producing generations of leading scientists, engineers and technologists to fi nd solutions and innovations benefiting all humankind. In June, the KAUST website (www.kaust.edu.sa) and logo were launched, and on October 21, KAUST’s groundbreaking on the Red Sea coast north of Jiddah took place before 1,500 dignitaries from around the world.
In 2008 preliminary engineering started on the Saudi Aramco Cultural Center, a planned multistory public complex commemorating the 75th anniversary and supporting King Abdullah’s vision of a knowledge-based society. In addition to housing a library, learning facilities, a media center and an auditorium, the center will host a variety of cultural events.
In 2007 Saudi Aramco took many steps to create jobs and boost the domestic economy, including procuring two contracts for the construction of 65 new offshore oil and gas production platforms and structures. In addition, a new yard in the Dammam Port area will allow offshore fabrication to be done in Kingdom for the first time, capturing jobs in construction, procurement, housing, transportation and other areas that previously were foreign-sourced.