Dalhousie’s Faculty of Computer Science looks to welcome more graduate students from Saudi Arabia, thanks to a new memorandum of understanding signed with King Saud University.
“We do have a fair number of students from Saudi Arabia already,” explains Phil Cox, CS professor and director of international programs in the faculty. “But what this agreement with King Saud University allows is for more fully-funded graduate students to study here at Dalhousie. We don’t yet know how many, but there’s a lot of potential.”
The agreement was sparked from a series of meetings last spring.
“At the invitation of the Saudi Government, VP Research Martha Crago and the deans from Computer Science, Science, Engineering and Medicine visited a number of universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including King Saud University,” explains Michael Shepherd, dean of the Faculty of Computer Science.
“A few weeks later, VP Academic Carolyn Watters followed up with a subsequent visit to Saudi Arabia, and as part of her trip, she met Professor Hussam Ramadan, Dean of the College of Computer and Information Sciences at King Saud University. Dr. Watters initiated the MOU that we have just signed.”
Earlier this month, Professor Ramadan travelled to Dalhousie, where the MOU was signed.
Expanding key partnerships
“The agreement with King Saud University is part of our strategy for developing partnerships with key universities in the Middle East and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular,” notes Alain Boutet, executive director of international relations at Dalhousie. “The presence of Saudi students on our campus is significant and the Faculty of Computer Science offers many opportunities for students and faculty from the KSA.
“Also, in the context of the new agreement between the FCS at Dal and the College of Computer and Information Sciences at King Saud University, we have identified an area like Health Informatics where we could contribute significantly to capacity building in the KSA.”
Dr. Cox notes that the agreement’s potential extends beyond graduate students; he’s aware, for example, that King Saud University is interested in having some of its faculty spend their research sabbaticals in Canada.
“That’s why these direct relationships with a particular institution are valuable – they can inspire other research or collaboration opportunities.”
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