I am applying for postdocs and one of the offers I have received is from a university in Saudi Arabia. Although the research which they do at the University is good as far as I can tell and regularly gets into top-tier journals, I have been warned that doing a postdoc at a university in Saudi Arabia is perhaps not advisable, because although it is relatively to easy to go there, it can then be hard to return to Europe afterwards.

Is this a genuine effect which can happen or anyone with any experience of having studied at one of the universities and had trouble applying for jobs afterwards? Is it a ''black mark'' to have spent time at KAUST or a university like that, or are they reasonably well-regarded?

I have spoken to two people who are from nearby countries and they have suggested that this should be a last resort. Also I heard a story of someone who had articles in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was struggling to get a job in Europe after having done postdocs at Qatar.

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    Not sure of current status, but a decade+ ago the general feeling in my field was they had bought great equipment and done little with it. Find likely post-docs from 5-10 years ago and see where they are now.
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 20, 2022 at 2:21
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    Certainly many people, academics and others, might wonder why anyone would voluntarily go to a place with human rights problems, absolute monarchy, strict religious law, etc., if they had any other choice. Mar 20, 2022 at 4:13
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    You may find of interest this question and the (possibly controversial) answers therein: academia.stackexchange.com/q/117524/20058 Mar 20, 2022 at 5:40
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    There is nothing to do with a country. All you look into research profile of your supervisor and research group in that University. If your supervisor has good publication, then you must go there. Because at the end of the day, people will judge with your research publications not the institution.
    – learner
    Mar 21, 2022 at 3:49
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    @Tom One of my friend's son graduated from KAUST and now he working in USA. My son also visited KAUST and he told me that the environment there is close to European and different from rest of the country.
    – imtaar
    Mar 21, 2022 at 7:28

1 Answer 1


In the end, what matters are your research activities i.e., your publications, patents, conferenced attended etc.

In the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), you will have a lot of opportunities to expand your research experience.

I recommend that you take the chance.

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    would you mind if I ask where you are from?
    – Tom
    Mar 20, 2022 at 15:23
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    I will second this. KAUST is an excellent institution, and is well known in the research community. The people there are well connected to Europe and North America, and so are their postdocs. Mar 21, 2022 at 13:39

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