Bill Gates Visits KAUST on Exploratory Tour

<span> Bill Gates met with the following Professors, Researchers, Post-Docs, and students during his visit&#58; Prof. Salim Al Babili, Prof. Nina Fedoroff, Prof. Heribert Hirt, Prof. Peiying Hong, Prof. Matthew McCabe, Mohammed Abdulaziz (Post Doctoral Fellow), Kim Dongjin (Post Doctoral Fellow), Valentine Ntui (Post Doctoral Fellow), Kunpeng Jia (Post Doctoral Fellow), Maged Saad (Research Scientist), Haleem Shah (PhD Student), Rodrigo Linares (PhD Student), Duong Phouc (Post Doctoral Fellow), Krishna Katuri (Research Scientist), Rasmus Houborg (Research Scientist), Moustapha Harb (PhD Student), David Mantilla (Phd Student)

In a collaborative effort aimed at exploring ways to reduce the problems of hunger, malnutrition and water scarcity, Bill Gates, world-renowned technology pioneer, philanthropist and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, visited KAUST on Tuesday, June 24, 2014.

KAUST's long-term and sustained investments in four strategic research areas— Water, Food, Energy and the Environment, have attracted some of the world's leading faculty, scientists and researchers. As a result, KAUST's research centers are at the forefront of scientific efforts to address some of humanity's pressing challenges.

"It was pleasure to welcome Mr. Gates to meet with faculty and students who are committed to addressing major world issues through scientific discoveries," said President Jean-Lou Chameau. "Mr. Gates saw first-hand the novel science our talented people are undertaking, empowered with exceptional facilities and a culture that promotes excellence and impact."

Since agriculture stands as a major pillar in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's work in improving the lives of women, children and communities in the developing world, Mr. Gates took part in a roundtable discussion with KAUST faculty on the topic of agriculture research in arid and harsh conditions. The group focused on ideas and opportunities to align KAUST's research pursuits with the Gates Foundation. Following the discussion, Mr. Gates had the opportunity to visit several KAUST laboratories and observed first-hand the innovative water-efficient and sustainable systems of food production being developed.

Mr. Gates also met with faculty, post docs, researchers and students advancing science to address global problems in water security and the sustainability of water resources. During the visit, faculty and students demonstrated their progress in pursing innovative research that share the Gates Foundation focus on improving water sources, especially in places like India and Africa.

Before departing, Mr. Gates shared his confidence in KAUST's progress stating, "I'm optimistic that the research KAUST is undertaking will help benefit the livelihoods of the world's poorest women, children and families." Mr. Gates also expressed how impressed he was in KAUST's unique facilities and the culture of collaboration among faculty, students and post docs inside the laboratory.

- by Meres J. Weche, KAUST News