King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Announces Inaugural Global Research Partnership (GRP) Investigator Winners

KAUST Global Research Partnership (GRP) Grantees include leading researchers from around the world seeking cutting-edge discoveries on critical scientific challenges. Research topics include water desalination, renewable and sustainable next-generation energy sources, genomics of salt-tolerant plants, durable and environmentally friendly construction materials, sustainable utility of hydrocarbons, low-cost high-efficiency solar technology, and the application of computational science to human health and biotechnology.

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members include two Nobel laureates, a winner of the Fields Medal and the King Faisal Prize, and experts who have received international recognition for their accomplishments in science and engineering.

Dhahran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PRWEB) March 14, 2008

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) today announced the names of the winners of its Global Research Partnership (GRP) Investigator competition. Twelve international scientists were selected as KAUST Investigators for the 2007 round of nominations, which featured more than 60 submissions from 38 of the world's leading research universities.

Through the GRP, KAUST, a new world-class, graduate-level research institution currently under development in Saudi Arabia, is providing individual research assistance to a group of highly accomplished scientists and engineers who are dedicated to a wide range of research topics of global significance with particular importance to Saudi Arabia and the region. Their research includes issues such as water desalination, renewable and sustainable next-generation energy sources, genomics of salt-tolerant plants, durable and environmentally friendly construction materials, sustainable utility of hydrocarbons, low-cost high-efficiency solar technology, and the application of computational science to human health and biotechnology.

His Excellency Minister Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of KAUST, said, "We are pleased that these exceptionally talented individuals have chosen to partner with KAUST to bring their significant scientific and technological contributions to life. Their specific research will not only stimulate the growth of Saudi Arabia's emerging knowledge-based economy but also serve as a cornerstone of scientific advancement for the good of all people the world over."
The winners of the competition are as follows:

  •     Dr. Yi Cui -- Assistant Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University in the United States
  •     Dr. Ahmed F. Ghoniem -- Ronald C. Crane Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States
  •     Dr. Nicholas Paul Harberd -- Professor, Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom
  •     Dr. Nobuyasu Ito -- Associate Professor, Department of Applied Physics at the University of Tokyo in Japan
  •     Dr. William Koros -- Professor and Roberto C. Goizueta Chair for Excellence in Chemical Engineering at the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States
  •     Dr. Bruce Logan -- Professor of Environmental Engineering at Pennsylvania State University in the United States
  •     Dr. Peter A. Markowich -- Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom
  •     Dr. Paulo Monteiro -- Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in the United States
  •     Dr. Bengt Nordén -- Chair Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden
  •     Dr. Edward Hartley Sargent -- Professor and Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology at the University of Toronto in Canada
  •     Dr. Brian Stoltz -- Ethel Wilson Bowles and Robert Bowles Professor in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology in the United States
  •     Ms. Anna Tramontano -- Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Rome, La Sapienza in Italy

Each KAUST Investigator is expected to spend between three weeks and three months per year on the KAUST campus in Saudi Arabia participating in the research and academic life of the institution. Additional personnel exchanges including the Investigators or their research personnel will be arranged according to the needs of the collaborative work established with KAUST's faculty.

"The dedication to the pursuit of knowledge exemplified by these exceptional researchers and their commitment to the global scientific community serve as crucial building blocks to KAUST's mission," said KAUST President-designate Choon Fong Shih. "As we continue to create this global institution of world-class excellence, it will be important for us to connect with such high caliber researchers in support of addressing global solutions."

Interim President Nadhmi Al-Nasr said, "KAUST intends to become a major new contributor to the global network of collaborative research. As a convener, it will enable researchers from around the globe and across all cultures to work together to solve challenging scientific and technological problems that are of the utmost importance."

"The KAUST Investigators selection panel was composed of 14 distinguished and world-renowned scientists and engineers," remarked the chairman of the selection committee, Dr. Frank Press. He added that "members include two Nobel laureates, a winner of the Fields Medal and the King Faisal Prize, and experts who have received international recognition for their accomplishments in science and engineering."

The selection methodology for choosing Investigators was very rigorous to give full consideration to all nominations, with special focus on the merits of the leading-edge research that was proposed and the potential contributions of the exceptional group of research scientists and engineers who were nominated. The criteria for evaluation included each researcher's record of accomplishment to date and the direct relevance of the proposed research to the mission areas of KAUST, including energy and environment; materials science and engineering; biosciences; and applied mathematics and computational science.

The KAUST Investigators' part of the University's Global Research Partnership (GRP) is a peer-reviewed, merit-based, competitive program to assist research in areas of science and technology that are important to Saudi Arabia, the region, and the world. The GRP is a key initiative designed to serve KAUST's developmental and long-term sustainability needs by establishing strong links between KAUST and the existing global research enterprise. To that end, KAUST launched the GRP in August 2007 as a part of its strategy to build the University's research capacity. As with other world-class non-profit research funding enterprises, the annual GRP process begins with a broad solicitation of proposals and relies on a competitive, independent peer review process to select and fund research carried out at the proposing institution on the basis of quality and relevance to KAUST's mission.

Under the GRP, there are three main programs: Investigators (individual scientists), Centers (multiple investigators), and Fellows (post-doctoral researchers). KAUST is expected to announce grants recipients for Centers and Fellows in the second quarter of 2008.

About 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, across the region and around the globe. As an independent, merit-based institution, KAUST will enable top researchers from around the globe and across all cultures to work together to solve challenging scientific and technological problems. 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.

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  • Jeff Weintraub
    KAUST United States
    +1-202-828-8836
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