Jean-Lou, thank you for your very kind words.

Your Excellency, Chairman Al-Naimi, your vision for, and leadership of KAUST, has been an inspiration to us all. Your hard work and tireless dedication have clearly paid off.

Your Excellencies, Jean-Lou, Nadhmi, friends and colleagues, thank you for the wonderful video and the tribute this evening. Your tireless efforts to make KAUST a beacon of excellence are greatly appreciated and admired. 

Nadhmi, the great foundations of KAUST have been achieved thanks to your hard work and dedication from before the beginning, through the challenging construction.

It is an honour for Imperial - and for me personally - to be named a Champion of KAUST. I believe that KAUST is a shining example of what can be accomplished when institutions and people focus on making discoveries, and educating people, to address the great challenges in the world.

To be a Champion of KAUST is to be a champion of the power of education and knowledge.
To be a Champion of KAUST is to be a champion of changing the world for the better.

This power to bring about change is why KAUST is central to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. KAUST’s expertise in science and engineering and its innovative spirit are helping the Kingdom become a knowledge based economy.

And it is because of the power of education and knowledge that the KAUST-Imperial relationship has, and will continue to, accomplish great things.

Over the past decade, many people at Imperial have championed the KAUST-Imperial relationship. They share in this evening’s tribute.   

Former Imperial Rectors Sir Richard Sykes, Sir Roy Anderson and Sir Keith O’Nions provided essential leadership and support at critical junctures. Professors Neil Alford and Bill Lee provided the academic oversight and guidance that helped create the Material Science and Engineering program, one of KAUST’s gems.

Since our partnership began, the enthusiastic collaboration between a growing number of researchers at Imperial and KAUST has deepened and enriched the ties between our universities. 

Good relationships are mutually beneficial.  This is true of the Imperial-KAUST partnership. Both universities are stronger because of what we have done together. 

Our collaborative research has resulted in exciting discoveries with a broad range of potential impacts. Let me give you just three examples:

First, Jasmeen Merzaban of KAUST and Alexandra Porter and Mary Ryan of Imperial recently found that Zinc oxide nanoparticles destroy difficult-to-treat triple-negative breast cancer tumor cells.  These types of tumors are resistant to existing cancer drugs and their discovery holds promise as a significant advancement in treating this disease.

Our collaborations are also changing the way we look at solar energy and dust. A KAUST-Imperial team is working together to develop a sophisticated model predicting the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth during different times and various weather conditions.  Their model will contribute to understanding and predicting the influence of dust on weather and air pollution and the resulting health and economic effects.

Finally, our researchers are using the powerful computational capabilities at KAUST to understand how to make aluminum stronger and what the optimal materials will be for next generation high temperature electrochemical fuel cells.

These are but a few examples of dozens of ways we are addressing many of the grand challenges facing the world today.  

As Nadhmi Al-Nasr said in the video, the KAUST-Imperial relationship is still strong.

International collaboration not only produces better research, it produces better people. International collaboration builds trust and creates friendships. It produces people who think about problems in new ways.  We see this in people at KAUST.

KAUST students and alumni are people who will do great things.  They are people who strive for excellence and seek out the very best mentors and collaborators. They are people who understand that meaningful collaboration knows no boundaries. They are people who know that positive change comes through shared knowledge.    

Imperial-KAUST alumni are already making a difference. Dr. Bin (Kevin) Zou, a former Postdoc funded by KAUST, is a successful researcher and co-founder of LoMaRe Ltd. an Imperial spin-out that won the 2017 UK-China Entrepreneurship competition for their revolutionary memory device. Their new type of digital storage and memory technology is known as Piezo Magnetic Random Access Memory. The team described it as high-endurance, high-density and non-volatile.  I’m certain we will be hearing more from them.

And Dr. Jing Pang, a KAUST supported PhD student, is a co-Founder of Neuron Technology Ltd, another Imperial spin-out that supplies Imperial with intelligent systems for remote monitoring of lab processes. Someday we will be able to collaborate even better with colleagues across the world.

KAUST alumni are making breakthroughs and contributing in the Kingdom and throughout the world. In the years ahead, we will be proud to hear more and more about the contributions being made by the women and men educated at KAUST.

It has been an inspiring and exciting thing to be a part of KAUST through the Board of Trustees and I have learned a great deal from my colleagues on the board and the faculty and students I have met. 

KAUST has accomplished so much in a short amount of time. But as impressed as I am by its past, I am even more excited about the future at KAUST.

We at Imperial look forward to being a part of the future at KAUST.

By continuing to work together we will help make the world a better place. 

Thank you again for this great honour.