The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) opened its doors for the first time in September 2009. The new university has been a hot topic in discussions worldwide, taunted as the largest and most visionary gamble of the Arab world’s strive to leap into the international science community wagon.
The KAUST model is not the only one in the Arab world’s attempt at science. Qatar has its own plans, attracting international universities to its Education City. The United Arab Emirates has taken a similar path in its bid to bring Western scientists to their shores.
Whichever is the best model remains to be seen, but no doubt KAUST is doing something right. Less than one year after its inauguration, they already have 4 Nature papers under their belt. The papers are varied, from physics to hormones to plants. By most accounts, this is an impressive feat! Most of the much older and established universities in the region still don’t have a single paper published in Nature.
KAUST has not just managed to attract some top international science expertise, but its research grants have led to some excellent collaborations between KAUST and other international research institutes from the US, France, China and Singapore, among others.
For many of the other universities in the Arab world, the problem is they have experience in what they need to do to even stand a chance of getting published in high impact journals such as Nature. But KAUST managed to attracted the right minds internationally, who are able to forge collaborations and produce the kind of work that would be considered for Nature.
As a first year start, this is an impressive record for KAUST. I will personally be keeping my eye on it to see what their second year will be like. One thing’s for sure, I’m excited!
The four papers published can be found below: