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Welcome to the Physical Science and Engineering Division of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology


The mission of the Physical Science and Engineering Division is to advance science and technology through education, interdisciplinary research, and innovation. Our goal is to contribute to the preservation of the planet and accelerate the impact on the Saudi economy.


Our educational programs and research initiatives are aligned with Saudi national RDI priorities and Vision 2030. We aim to provide the Kingdom with the next generations of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs capable of understanding and devising innovative solutions to global challenges. These challenges are encapsulated in the four RDI Pillars: Sustainable Environment & Essential Needs, Health and Wellness, Energy and Industrial Leadership, and Economies of the Future.


PSE research areas contributing to the Kingdom RDI Pillars and Vision 2030


PSE Research Aligning with Vision 20230's RDI pillars


Within this strategic framework, PSE fundamental and applied research addresses environmental protection, climate change, energy, and smart cities. We strive to achieve this by developing green fuels and renewable energies, creating novel materials and health applications, and providing solutions for better utilization and protection of our natural resources.


Chak Chan
Dean, Physical Science and Engineering Division

Magical mushrooms turn membranes green

30 January, 2024

Bio-inspired membrane materials from fungi mycelium are set to revolutionize separation technologies.


A bio-inspired approach that produces membranes for oil–water separation could enable more sustainable and ecofriendly ways to clean up crude oil spills

Janus membranes, which exhibit different properties on their opposite sides, are useful for oil–water separations. One side can display superhydrophilicity — an extremely high affinity for water and polar liquids — while the other side can be superhydrophobic, with an extremely high affinity for nonpolar liquids, such as oil and hydrocarbons.

This “superamphiphilicity” can be tailored to meet specific needs by fine-tuning the wetting properties of each membrane surface. However, most membranes are formed of petroleum-derived materials, which leave a large carbon footprint and are difficult to develop.

Recently graduated Ph.D. student Joyce Cavalcante and her supervisor, chemical engineer Gyorgy Szekely, have devised a method that exploits the root-like fibrous structure of fungi known as mycelium to generate superamphiphilic Janus membranes to separate oil from water.

Cavalcante explains that the method harnesses the self-growing nature of fungi-based materials, providing a dynamic and ecofriendly alternative to traditional membrane development.

Szekely says the approach was sparked by the documentary “Fantastic Fungi,” which reveals how fungi wield incredible powers as natural recyclers and symbiotic architects — roles that are often overlooked. Mycelium can be moulded into various shapes for multiple applications ranging from furniture and construction materials to substitutes for leather. These materials use up waste and are compostable, which minimizes their environmental footprint.

Read more at KAUST Discovery.

Upcoming Events

PSE Saudi Summer Research Program 2024


Date: June 2 - August 8, 2024


The PSE Saudi Summer Research Program (SSRP) is a 10-week research program designed to introduce in-Kingdom university students to topics of research in the Division of Physical Science and Engineering (PSE).  Throughout the Program, participating students work on an individual research project while also being introduced to other research areas in the Division and the University at large.


Why Join SSRP?

  • Experience graduate-level research in an international world-renowned university
  • Gain first-hand experience working in a university research group with prestigious and highly cited international faculty
  • Ability to develop yourself intellectually
  • Build your confidence and raise your career aspirations
  • Experience a taste of university life at KAUST!
  • Gain access to the unique research facilities available at KAUST.



Eligibility Criteria

  • Saudi citizenship 
  • Junior or Senior year at university, or a current master's student
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.60/4.00 (4.60/5.00) and above in a related discipline
  • English language working proficiency

Application Requirements

  • Saudi citizenship 
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.60/4.00 (4.60/5.00) and above in a related discipline
  • Current transcripts
  • Junior or Senior year at university, or a current master's student
  • An up-to-date resume/C.V. outlining your experience and interests
  • A copy of your Saudi National I.D. or Passport
  • 500-word statement of purpose on why you are interested to join the SSRP
  • Successfully pass all interviews with KAUST administration

The application process is QUICK and EASY.  To complete the application, please click here.

Application Deadline: Sunday, April 7, 2024



For further information, please contact us through email at:

PSE Post-graduate Programs

Welcome to the PSE post-graduate studies area!

At PSE, students embark on a journey of discovery as they pursue careers in science, industry, and academia. Surrounded by cutting-edge facilities and supported by our international team of faculty and staff, KAUST is today's best destination for students to explore the leading edge of science and earn a post-graduate diploma recognized worldwide.

Our division currently offers seven programs at the post-graduate level, including both Master's and Ph.D. options. Under expert advisors' guidance, students can design personalized course paths and research projects tailored to their career goals. Each program combines lectures, seminars, and laboratory classes, empowering students to transform their ideas into research projects independently.

Beyond academic pursuits, PSE students at KAUST enjoy a LEED-certified campus situated on the shores of the Red Sea, enveloped in pristine surroundings. The campus hosts a rich program of scientific and business events organized by KAUST and its top-tier industrial partners like ARAMCO, Sabic, Dow, Boeing, Bruker, Hewlett Packard, and more. This lively atmosphere provides students with ample networking avenues and the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities, while maintaining a well-balanced personal life. 

KAUST is an exceptional place to study, work and thrive.

If you aspire to a career in science and technology, our programs provide an excellent starting point. Both Master's and Ph.D. programs are fully funded by the university, covering tuition fees and providing a monthly stipend for  the duration of the degree. Please explore the links below to learn more about our programs and begin your journey toward a fulfilling career in your chosen field of expertise.