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Saudi universities to offer country’s first doctorate in medicine and medical research

RIYADH: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Alfaisal University on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint doctoral degree in medicine and medical research.

The program, described as the first of its kind in the Kingdom, will be a selective program; top students from Alfaisal University will be chosen by a committee of specialists from both universities to be trained at KAUST on the use of key research and smart-health technologies and tools in personalized and precision medicine. Graduates will be experts in the application of smart-health technologies in the Saudi healthcare system.

“We are honored by this partnership with KAUST, which we hope will enhance the learning experience of students and researchers at Alfaisal and KAUST universities by drawing on the advanced capacities and expertise of these two sophisticated institutions,” said Mohammed Al-Hayaza, president of Alfaisal University.

Professor Tony Chan, the president of KAUST, said: “Our partnership with Alfaisal University, one of the top med schools, will contribute to training a new generation of clinicians and scientists who will lead the implementation of the initiatives of smart health and precision medicine in the Saudi healthcare system.”

Program organizers said graduates will help lead national programs and initiatives to implement smart-health technologies and a shift toward precision medicine, which aims to tailor care and treatments to specific subgroups of patients, based on factors such as genes, environment and lifestyle, rather than employ a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

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Experts say such programs will generate growing interest in approaches based on evidence and research in the field of patient care through educational activities and regular scientific seminars and, most importantly, will highlight the advantages of clinical practices based on cutting-edge scientific research.

“Although this kind of academic program is applied across the most renowned universities in the world, it is the first of its kind in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Professor Pierre Magistretti, director of KAUST Smart Health Initiative.

“Its importance and significance lie in its ability to meet the needs of top and highly motivated med students wishing to develop and enhance their expertise through training on biomedical research, and transform fundamental findings in the laboratory into diagnostic and treatment tools to tackle various diseases, to serve patients.”

KAUST said cooperation such as the agreement with Alfaisal is at the heart of its mission to develop an advanced educational environment that boosts cooperation, excellence and passion for learning, and encourages students to be creative and innovative. It aims to forge collaborative partnerships with other universities in the Kingdom in the future, it added.


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