Hong Kong (February 4, 2008) — A delegation from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology met with senior administrator and researcher from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) here today as well as to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will establish a long-term research collaboration between the two institutions.
His Excellency Ali I. Naimi, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Petroleum and Minerals and Chairman of KAUST's Board of Trustees, led the KAUST delegation, which included Prof Choon Fong Shih, the Founding President-designate of KAUST and currently the President of National University of Singapore (NUS), as well as Mr Nadhmi Al-Nasr, KAUST's Interim President.
KAUST, a new world-class, graduate-level research institution currently under development in Saudi Arabia, is pursuing global collaborations with institutions such as HKUST as part of its efforts to build its intellectual capacity. HKUST, one of the world's fastest developing institutes for science and technology with expanding industrial collaboration, is dedicated to advancing the fields of science and engineering within Hong Kong, expanding into mainland China, and internationally. The MOU with HKUST marks KAUST's eighth research agreement with a major international university or private industry entity in the last eight months.
The MOU calls for activities that will open new frontiers in marine genomic research and nano-technology, two areas of study for which HKUST is internationally acclaimed. Under the agreement, scientists will conduct marine research off the coast of the Red Sea where the KAUST campus is located.
"This collaboration's potential to spawn great discoveries and great benefits for Saudi Arabia and the world is great and exciting," said Mr Al-Nasr. "HKUST is widely known and respected for its pioneering work in marine biology and nano-technology, and KAUST intends to be a strong catalyst in expanding the promise of that work."
Also speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, HKUST President Prof Paul Chu expressed his delight with this partnership. "We are very excited about this collaboration. Both universities are among the most forward-looking and mission-driven institutions of higher learning. We are also the most research-intensive. I am confident our joint efforts will yield many happy results to the benefit of all concerned." he said.
The KAUST/HKUST collaboration will enable:
design, construction and initial operation of research centers and lab facilities at KAUST;
collaborative research programs conducted initially at HKUST and later at KAUST;
scientific and/or technological meetings on topics of mutual interest;
exchange of personnel, including scientific, technical and administrative staff from time to time;
establishment of fellowships to support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from HKUST to KAUST for research in Saudi Arabia, and from KAUST to HKUST for research in Hong Kong.
Prof Shih, who has played a leading role in building NUS's vast network of research collaborations with institutions across the globe, also expressed optimism about the potential outcomes of a relationship between KAUST and HKUST. "The most successful scientific and technological research today recognizes that importance of crossing national and cultural boundaries to gather the best minds to address the needs of humanity," he said. "KAUST and HKUST will combine outstanding intellectual and material resources, as well as a spirit of entrepreneurship that will lead to promising benefits for their nations and the world."
In addition to the HKUST agreement, KAUST has also signed agreements to create similar partnerships with: the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (United States); Institut Français du Pétrole (France); National University of Singapore, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (India); American University in Cairo (Egypt); and Technische Universität München (Germany). KAUST also recently concluded its first industrial collaboration agreement with an industry partner, GE Global Research Center, based in the United States.
About King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is being built in Saudi Arabia as an international, graduate-level research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement in the Kingdom, the region and around the globe. As an independent, merit-based institution, KAUST will employ many of the best practices from leading research universities and enable top researchers from around the globe and across all cultures to work together to solve challenging scientific and technological issues. The KAUST global research and education network will support diverse talents, both on its campus and at other premier universities and research institutions, through collaborative research agreements, grants, and student scholarship programs. The core campus, located on more than 36 million square meters on the Red Sea at Thuwal, is set to open in September 2009. For more information about KAUST, visit http://www.kaust.edu.sa
About Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST):
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is a leading university in Asia with special emphasis on research, post-graduate education, and close collaboration with business and industry. The University comprises five Schools: the Schools of Science, Engineering, Business & Management, Humanities & Social Science, and the HKUST Fok Ying Tung Graduate School in Nansha, Guangdong Province. Current student enrolment is about 9, 000 at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Plans are underway in preparation for the transition from a three-year to a four-year undergraduate program, with a concomitant expansion in student and faculty numbers. The medium of instruction and administration is English. For more information about HKUST, visit http://www.ust.hk/about-hkust/media-relations/press-releases/
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