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Saudi’s “house of wisdom” opens

Saudi’s “house of wisdom” opens

The kingdom’s new university promises to offer an environment where young researchers – both men and women – can work together.

September 23, 2009 1:11 by

Saudi Arabia is opening the doors of the multi-billion dollar King Abdullah Science and Technology University (KAUST) on Wednesday, and with that, is hoping to change the scientific research landscape of the entire region. Located along the Red Sea close to Jeddah, KAUST is equipped with what is supposedly the fastest computer in the Middle East and 14th fastest in the world; 10 nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers; a coastal and marine resources laboratory and bioengineering facilities. Around $1.5 billion has been spent on equipment alone, says the Financial Times.

The university will offer masters and doctoral degrees in nine fields including computer science, bioscience and various engineering specialties.

KAUST has a $10 billion endowment, and Saudi’s King Abdullah, who is inaugurating it on Wednesday, has called it his pet project. “I have been thinking and dreaming about it for the last 25 years,” Arab News quotes him as having said many times. He has called it the “house of wisdom,” and has said that it will have complete academic freedom.

It currently has a teaching faculty of around 75 people, most from across the world. It has signed partnerships with numerous international institutions, such as MIT, and Stanford University, Berkeley University, Oxford University, Tokyo University and Cambridge University.

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