Saturday, April 23, 2011

KAUST has the juice (aka oil)

Saudi Arabia’s Elite New University Pursues ‘High-Risk Research for a High Return’
April 22, 2011, 10:07 am

By Jeffrey Selingo

Thuwal, Saudi Arabia — A blank piece of land. Essentially unlimited funds for construction of a new campus. And a $10-billion endowment to pay for research on critical problems facing the world.

That might be a dream for presidents, planners, and fund raisers, but it’s a reality at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or Kaust, as it’s commonly known. After years of reading about the planning and construction of Kaust in the pages of The Chronicle, I had a chance to visit the campus on Thursday with a group of higher-education officials from around the world who are in Saudi Arabia for a conference and recruiting fair. More:

From the KAUST website:

KAUST will be a globally renowned graduate research university that makes significant contributions to scientific and technological advancement, and will play a crucial role in the development of Saudi Arabia and the world.

By 2020, KAUST will be characterized by:

Cutting-edge, basic and goal-oriented research in science and technology comparable to that of the world’s top 10 science and technology universities, the success of which will be demonstrated by

publications in Science, Nature, and other prestigious professional journals;
a significant number of scientific discoveries and technological innovations;
a high average citation index (ISI) among KAUST faculty.
A focus on research and academic activities in areas where KAUST can be exceptional by global standards. The focus will be on impact rather than quantity, and KAUST will have Research Centers that are recognized as world leaders in their fields.

Graduates who are highly trained and skilled and will have the capabilities and drive to be leaders in education and business.

Research and commercialization activities that demonstrably contribute to the diversification and strengthening of the Saudi economy, as measured by job creation, and new industry development and growth in GDP per capita.

A diversified and sustainable revenue base that supports both its operating and capital requirements.

KAUST advances science and technology through bold and collaborative research. It educates scientific and technological leaders, catalyzes the diversification of the Saudi economy and addresses challenges of regional and global significance, thereby serving the Kingdom, the region and the world.

Research and education, as well as their transformative potential, are central to KAUST’s mission. KAUST has a three-part mission:

Research at KAUST – both basic and goal-oriented – is dedicated to advancing science and technology of regional and global impact. Research excellence inspires teaching and the training of future leaders in science and technology.
Research and education at KAUST energize innovation and enterprise to support knowledge-based economic diversification.
Through the synergy of science and technology, and innovation and enterprise, KAUST is a catalyst for transforming people's lives.

Members of the University community are committed to the values of achievement, passion, inspiration, diversity, openness and integrity. At all times, KAUST community members need to behave in ways that uphold these values, both as individuals and as representatives of the University.

Achievement: Determination to advance science and engineering for the welfare of all mankind.
Passion: Pursuit of the KAUST mission with enthusiasm and confidence and seeking individuals who share that passion.
Inspiration: Commitment to stimulate inspiration and celebrate those with the ability to inspire others.
Diversity: Collaboration among scientists, researchers, and students from different disciplines, nationalities, and cultural backgrounds.
Openness: Openness which allows students and faculty to think clearly, study freely, and examine complex problems though the clear light of reason
Integrity: Commitment to uphold the highest standards of moral, ethical, and professional conduct.
Citizenship: Be a good neighbor and strive to make a positive impact on the University’s surroundings.

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