Khalifa University
Abu Dhabi, UAE

Khalifa University, a coeducational, comprehensive research-intensive university, was formed through the recent merger of KUSTAR (Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research), the Petroleum Institute, and Masdar Institute. Working closely with the UAE and Abu Dhabi governments and major industry leaders, this fast-growing university will continue to evolve and be at the forefront of the UAE’s rapidly developing economic diversification. KU’s mission is to further empower a knowledge and research-based economy that meets the nation’s goals and needs in nurturing an innovative ecosystem. 

Khalifa University comprises the following colleges 

College of Arts & Sciences 

College of Engineering 

College of Medicine & Health Sciences 

The university also includes 19 interdisciplinary research centers, and 16 departments covering a broad range of disciplines. The colleges offer a range of programs leading to the MD, PhD, Masters, and Bachelors degrees. 

In the 2021 QS World University Rankings, Khalifa University is recognized as 28th among universities in Asia and 211th globally. QS also ranks KU 1st in the UAE, 15th among the Top 50 under 50, and in the top 200 globally in Engineering and Technology. 

University partnerships include Tsinghua University in China, the University of Milan and the University of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the Korean Basic Sciences Institute (KBSI), and the University of Colorado-Boulder/Tohoku University in Japan. Khalifa is in partnership discussions with the University of Manchester-National Graphene Institute, the Mayo Clinic College of Science and Medicine, and multiple government and industry partnerships with major stakeholders throughout the UAE. 

KU plans to expand its current student body - 68% percent undergraduate, 18% graduate, and 14% preparatory - from 4,000 to more than 5,000 by 2023. Students enjoy an 8:1 student-faculty ratio. The faculty of 385, 90% of whom hold doctorates, includes members from 53 countries. All instruction is in English. Additional information is available at 

Preferred candidates for the President role will have a Ph.D or strong terminal degree in a relevant engineering, science, or technology field, as well as experience 

  • as President, Provost, or Dean at a prominent top-ranked engineering/science research institution; 
  • in guiding an institution through transformational and reputational growth; 
  • as a successful fundraiser from diverse public and private sources; 
  • in outstanding research in a field relevant to KU’s curriculum and that engenders the respect of the KU academic faculty; and
  • in a diverse political/cultural environment that enables a quick grasp of the vision and aspirations of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, and the community. 

Candidates from countries taxing world-wide income, such as the US, may be eligible for favorable tax treatment; there are no direct taxes in the UAE. 

Korn Ferry invites inquiries, nominations, and applications. All communications will be held in strict confidence. Applications should be sent electronically to and include a current CV and letter explaining interest and relevant experience. 

Korn Ferry
John Kuhnle, Senior Consultant, Washington, DC
Suellen Tomlinson, Senior Client Partner, Dubai, UAE