KAUST welcomes Ibn Rushd Scholars

KAUST welcomed 12 Saudi academics to its campus for orientation for the Ibn Rushd Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which included meetings with mentors, faculty and university leaders. Photo: KAUST

​As part of the university's support for Saudi researchers, KAUST welcomed 12 Saudi academics to its campus in early June for orientation as part of the Ibn Rushd Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The competitive program offers funded fellowships for exceptional Saudi recent doctoral graduates and soon to graduate candidates to pursue postdoctoral research at top international research universities.

The Ibn Rushd Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is inspired by and named after Ibn Rushd, a well-travelled and influential 12th-century Islamic philosopher.The programforms part of KAUST's mission to diversify its faculty and double the number of Saudi scholars at the university, thereby creating the nation's future leaders, thinkers and innovators.

The first cohort of postdoctoral scholars, selected from among many qualified applicants, are some of the Kingdom's brightest minds. With KAUST's support, they are undertaking studies at caliber universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Queensland and University of Toronto.

Additional benefits of the program include access to KAUST facilities when visiting Saudi Arabia, access to research and leadership development programs, entrepreneurship and networking opportunities, and invitations to relevant KAUST seminars and workshops.

Osman Bakr, Vice Provost for Strategy and Chair of the Ibn Rushd Program, said: "I am confident the Ibn Rushd Program will be a great asset to Saudi Arabia and our growing population of academics at KAUST. The program is the latest example of KAUST's strategy to support Saudi talent into the 21st century."

Tools to succeed

Mentorship is a core component of the program. Each successful candidate is assigned a mentor who will support them throughout their postdoctoral experience abroad, and act as a key point of contact between the individual and host institution.

During orientation, the fellows toured KAUST facilities, including the CORE Labs, and met with their mentors, faculty and university leaders to receive guidance and counseling. President Tony Chan hosting the academics at his home in a meet-and-greet.

KAUST welcomed 12 Saudi academics to its campus for orientation for the Ibn Rushd Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which included meetings with mentors, faculty and university leaders, shown here with KAUST President, Tony Chan (left). Photo: KAUST

The 12 postdoctoral fellows will return to KAUST in January to participate in professional workshops, lectures and the 2023 KAUST Winter Enrichment Program (WEP).

"Speaking from experience, I can say the avenues for growth are many," said Bakr. "Think outside the box, make connections with your colleagues across fields, disciplines and the world, and continue to imagine and re-imagine the larger role you can play in local and global research and academia."

The program offers a unique opportunity for the selected scholars, and provides initial funding leading to an independent academic career with a focus on research and higher education.

Outstanding Saudi researchers wishing to pursue a faculty career at KAUST are also invited to apply to the Ibn Rush Professorship, a faculty position open to applicants at all ranks (assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor). For information about this and the Ibn Rushd Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, visit the KAUST website.