Carlos Santamarina

“Like many of his peers, Santamarina joined KAUST inspired by this young, innovative and visionary institution committed to addressing humanity and the world’s greatest challenges."


“Great Dreams can come true at KAUST” – Carlos Santamarina

Carlos Santamarina took a faculty position at KAUST in 2015 following a long academic career in the Americas. Having attended the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1982, he then received a master’s degree from the University of Maryland in 1984, and a PhD from Purdue University in 1987. After earning his PhD, Santamarina’s career led him to faculty roles at NYU Polytech University and the University of Waterloo in Canada before joining Georgia Tech where he remained for 20 years. Today, Santamarina is Professor of Energy Resources and Petroleum Engineering and the Associate Director of the Ali. I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center at KAUST.

Santamarina’s journey to KAUST began in 2014 with a campus visit. Expecting to find an institution “under construction,” he instead discovered a well-established university, with great faculty, researchers, students and staff, fully equipped facilities and a thriving community. When he joined the following year, KAUST lost no time in providing him with all the support he needed to design and equip what he considers to be one of the best energy geo-engineering laboratories in the world.

Santamarina credits the KAUST policy of “core funding” faculty members as a transformative force towards innovation, reinvention and the ability to produce great research. He refers to KAUST as “an academic jewel and a place where great dreams become reality for those who are prepared to dedicate themselves to academic greatness.”

As a proactive faculty member, Santamarina was the driving force behind the creation of the new masters and PhD programs in Energy Resources and Petroleum Engineering. Concerns about growing energy demands, global fossil fuel dependency and associated climate change have propelled his research team to study the fundamental physical processes that can lead to more sustainable oil and gas recovery and CO2 geological storage in the Kingdom. Beyond his core research, Santamarina enjoys reading and exploring ways of improving students’ and researchers’ academic success and developing their creative skills.

Without hesitation, KAUST has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for Carlos Santamarina: his exceptional colleagues, research team, lab facilities and quality of life – all ensure that he and his team have an ideal environment to make a difference.

The KAUST experience has also resulted in wonderful friendships and rich cultural opportunities. He finds the university to be a wonderful place for families, offering not only a high-quality education and a safe environment for children, but a true melting pot of cultures and nationalities.

Like many of his peers, Santamarina joined KAUST inspired by this young, innovative and visionary institution committed to addressing humanity and the world’s greatest challenges. Today, he emphasizes the university’s prominent role both locally and globally, calling it “a leading intellectual institution embedded in Saudi Arabia, for Saudi Arabia and the world.”