​Research Overview​

The Physical Science and Engineering Division has five enabling disciplines: Chemical Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Earth Science and Engineering. 

These disciplines provide the foundation for our Division’s quest to mitigate or even solve some of the major challenges that we face in the world today.

Specifically, we focus on challenges related to energy and the environment.  The PSE Division also focuses on exploration and manipulation at the nanoscale through topics such as nanofabrication and the development of devices with an applied physics perspective.
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In the Physical Science and Engineering Division, we draw our strength from a two-pronged approach based simultaneously on curiosity-driven research, which is the discovery of new knowledge, and goal-oriented research, which is the development of novel solutions and technologies to solve specific and practical problems.  We have five Research Centers in the Division: Catalysis, Clean Combustion, Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials, Solar, and Petroleum Engineering. These Centers are typically the venues for our goal-oriented research.

Research in the Division is driven by independent faculty labs grouped into the five programs.  Faculty can affiliate with the Research Centers to perform applied, goal-oriented research.

The mission of the Physical Science and Engineering Division is to create knowledge pertaining to matter at all scales – nano, meso, macro –, in all forms – from bulk, to divided colloids and fluids – as well as the interaction of matter with external stimuli in order to design new materials/technologies addressing the issues of our times.​

Students and Faculty can take full advantage of interdisciplinary research opportunities that arise from collaborations across the five PSE Programs, KAUST’s three Divisions and industrial partners.

We are taking research to the next level by giving our students and Faculty the benefit of access to a wide range of unrivalled facilities in our Faculty Laboratories and Research Centers.

Faculty Laboratories

For more information regarding individual PI Laboratories please use this link to the individual Research Group websites:

PSE Faculty Research Groups​​

​Academic supervisors are happy to discuss projects on an individual basis, and more general enquiries may be made to the Program Chairs.

Affiliated Research Centers

The Physical Science and Engineering Division is associated with five Research Centers:

Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center - The Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center (AMPM) offers an interactive multidisciplinary scientific environment for experts and students in the fields of chemical, biological, and environmental engineering, materials science and nanotechnology.

Catalysis Center - The Catalysis Center (KCC) offers a unique combination of scientific expertise accumulated under one roof, namely homogeneous, heterogeneous, photo-catalysis and bio-catalysis together with inorganic, organic, organometallic, polymer as well as theoretical chemists, reaction engineers, and spectroscopists.
Clean Combustion Research Center - The Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC) at KAUST seeks a knowledge-based understanding of combustion phenomena, develops innovative technologies for clean and efficient combustion and provides solutions for present and future energy and environmental challenges.

KAUST Solar Center​​ – The KAUST Solar Center (KSC) focuses on renewable energy science and engineering, as well as creating innovations in efficient and low-cost photovoltaic (PV) foundational technologies.

Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center - The Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center (ANPERC) is a new research center at KAUST and will produce fundamental multidisciplinary research, disruptive technology, and academic and engineering talent to address the world’s pressing energy geo-engineering and science problems.  The intended impact of ANPERC’s efforts will include increased hydrocarbon recovery around the world with reduced environmental and economic costs related to reservoir access and production.​

Through the New Ventures and Entrepreneurship program, KAUST facilitates the flow of research-based technological innovation from idea and discovery to market.

Core Laboratories

The Core Labs and Major Facilities offers an comprehensive range of state-of-the art research equipment operated by 135 staff scientists, engineers and technical specialists  to support KAUST’s research community of Faculty, Students, researchers and industrial partners through training and services. 

The organization comprises eight core laboratories, six of which are used extensively by the PSE Division:







Corelabs Website​