Something for everyone at KAUST

The KAUST team stands at the University's booth at the ACS event in August in Washington, D.C.

The 254th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition (ACSDC) was held in Washington, D.C., in August. Smaller in size compared to the past ACS Spring conference in San Francisco, which broke records, the Fall 2017 event brought together over 13,000 students and researchers from across the U.S. and the international community looking to hear from great speakers and learn about opportunities in their areas of interest.

KAUST faculty members gave talks during the week-long conference, including 2015 ACS Polymer Chemistry award winner Nikos Hadjichristidis, 2017 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awardee Niveen KashabKazuhiro TakanabeOsman Bakr and Omar Mohammed. Many faculty members also came to the KAUST booth to talk one-on-one with potential students and postdoctoral fellows about research and to answer questions about postgraduate studies, careers within the field and more.

Diversity and rewarding experiences

ACSDC brought together the talents of a number of departments across the University, including the Physical Science and Engineering Division (PSE), the KAUST Core Labs, Human Resources, the KAUST Marketing Communications Department and the Office of International Programs (OIP). A diverse mix of studentspostdoctoral fellows, researchers and staff members connected with hundreds of visitors during the course of the conference and shared their real-world experience living and working at the University.

“I came to KAUST as a visiting student while completing my bachelor’s degree at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, and I was impressed by the splendid facilities,” said Renyuan Li, a KAUST Ph.D. student. “This was one of the reasons I decided to come back to do my master's degree and Ph.D. here.”

KAUST Associate Professor Osman Bakr stands at the KAUST booth at ACS D.C. in August.

Li has been at KAUST for three and a half years. His story and reasons for coming to KAUST—along with his experiences at the University—gave visitors to the KAUST booth a unique perspective on what it’s like to work in the labs at KAUST and what it would be like to study overseas.

Gemma Campbell from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow was also at ACSDC sharing her KAUST experience.

“I was able to use the KAUST Visiting Student Research Program (VRSP) as part of my master’s degree. I’m in an integrated master’s degree course in Scotland, and one year of that is to do a research internship year,” she said.

Campbell has been working on solar cells as a visiting student, and said she enjoyed the experience so much that she’s planning to apply to do her Ph.D. at KAUST when she’s finished her master's degree program at Strathclyde.

Opening doors of opportunity and discovery

KAUST is ranked no. 1 in citations per faculty by the Q.S. World University Ranking and currently has 940 students and 150 faculty members. Over 2,000 research scientists and staff work in the labs in the University to support the growing demands of the University, its collaborators and its many industrial partners.

The KAUST team talks to conference attendees during the ACS event in Washington, D.C., in August.

During the conference, the team collected dozens of resumes and conducted numerous interviews with candidates. For a list of open positions, visit

Planning for the 2018 Spring ACS conference has begun. With the Fall 2017 event complete, the team is already discussing innovative ways to share more student experiences and ways to spread the word of the scientific discoveries developed at KAUST to those attending the conference and beyond.

By Michelle Ponto, KAUST News