This competitive fellowship program is open to Saudi Arabian women scientists and engineers who hold a doctoral degree. Fellows are supported to spend one year doing research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in collaboration with an MIT faculty member. The Fellowship was launched by MIT in 2009, in collaboration with KFUPM and other Saudi Arabian universities, and it enrolled its first fellow in 2012. This successful and highly competitive program has flourished thanks to a substantial expansion in 2013 supported by Saudi Aramco. In March 2018 KACST and MIT signed a 10-year agreement to renew the program under KACST sponsorship. The first cohort of KACST Ibn Khaldun fellows arrived at MIT in January 2019, followed by annual cohorts arriving September of each year.
The MIT Ibn Khaldun Fellowship for Saudi Arabian Women is uniquely positioned to facilitate the development of Saudi Arabian women scientists and engineers as leaders in their respective fields of research as well as the Kingdom’s top educational managers and teachers.
The fellowship is administered through the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT. Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi serves as the fellowship Director. The program's day-to-day operations are run by the Program Manager Theresa Werth and Program Administrator Dorothy Hanna.
Participation in high level research activities is the heart of the fellowship. The fellows are supported to spend one year at MIT working on a research project in collaboration with an MIT faculty member. They can work within any research track available at the Institute. To date, fellows have been placed in 14 different departments and laboratories at MIT. All fellows have access to MIT’s world class shared research facilities and equipment and receive training in the cutting-edge lab techniques to use in their future career and share with students and colleagues at home universities. The current and former fellows publish in major journals and present at prestigious conferences in their field.
Please visit our Publications page for a list of published work from fellowship activities.
Patents and IP
Fellows benefit from MIT’s world renowned culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and receive mentorship from the leading Technology Licensing Officer through the IP development process. The fellows' work at MIT has resulted in the filing of several U.S. patents.
Professional Development and Teaching
In addition to research, fellows receive support in enhancing all levels of their careers in academia. MIT offers access to professional development resources and high level courses within their fields of scientific expertise. Fellows may take advantage of MIT Professional Education program and certificates such as Management and Leadership from the MIT Sloan Business School.
The majority of fellows come from a university background. Fellows may enroll in the prestigious Kaufman Teaching Certification Program to learn a variety of new teaching techniques they can apply to their continued work in their universities. They are also able to observe MIT classes to be further exposed to different teaching techniques and curriculum.
Some fellows co-taught an MIT undergraduate course and/or mentored undergraduate students through the famous MIT UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity) program. For example, Dr. Malak Al Nory was a mentor to students for the 2.009 Product Engineering course with Prof. David Wallace which is a capstone course in innovation and entrepreneurship. Prof. Wallace has also made two trips to Effat University to conduct teaching workshops with their faculty. Dr. Asmaa El Sharif co-taught the 2.674 “Hands on Micro/Nano Engineering” lab section for two semesters and is working towards creating a similar course at University of Dammam.
Participating Universities and Companies
As our outreach within the Kingdom continues to gain momentum our list of universities and companies who have sent fellows to MIT continues to grow. Universities who have sent their faculty so far include: Effat University (KFUPM Fellow), Umm Al-Qura University (KFUPM Fellow), King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University, Imam University, University of Dammam, and Princess Noura University. We have also hosted fellows from AREVA Company, from Saudi Aramco’s Research and Development team and from King Fahad Medical City (KFMC).
Our fellows return to their institutions with new skills and plans to implement various new programs and initiatives at their home universities upon return: development of new graduate and undergraduate courses using MIT's hands-on teaching approach; establishment of advanced research facilities; and creation of training programs to empower young Saudi women in engineering. Ample opportunities exist to network with world leaders in research and industry for the possibility of future collaborations for the fellows and their home universities. Fellows are also able to join the MIT “Infinite Connection” network of MIT alumni for lifelong connections.
Since the start of Ibn Khaldun Fellowship, the positive work environment and people around us at MIT have had a great impact on our motivation and focus. It has given us the opportunity to deepen our expertise and reach our goals as researchers and as workgroup members. I’m grateful for all the assistance and support that we have in the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at KFUPM and MIT. I feel optimistic about the consequences that will accumulate on our career paths as well as our personal lives.”
Dr. Jwaher Al Ghamdi
University of Dammam
“It’s great to be in such a creative and productive academ ic environment, where meeting interesting people and discussing ideas is the norm. I’m looking forward to building ties with MIT that will last a lifetime and benefit my students and university in Saudi Arabia."
Dr. Sumayah Al Solaiman
University of Dammam
“Ibn Khaldun Fellowship is a life-changing opportunity. Being at MIT has given me a chance to work and network with top scientists and expose me to the world class education system. I’m looking forward to maintaining this connection and benefiting my university with this rich experience.”
Dr. Omaimah Bamasag
King Abdulaziz University