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23 May 2024

MBZUAI announces academic year to start in January 2021

Photo: WAM


Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, MBZUAI, the world’s first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence, AI, university, has announced that the start of its first academic year has been rescheduled for January 2021. The decision was made in light of safety measures taken on campus due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, during the Board of Trustees meeting that took place over video conference earlier today.

Chaired by Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, UAE Minister of State, the meeting was attended by MBZUAI Interim President, Professor Sir Michael Brady, professor of Oncological Imaging at the University of Oxford, UK; Professor Anil K. Jain, a University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, USA; Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, a technology executive and venture capitalist based in Beijing, China; Professor Daniela Rus, Director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, CSAIL, USA, and Peng Xiao, CEO of Group 42.

During the meeting, the Board of Trustees also discussed the status of the nearly completed Masdar City campus and facilities, student onboarding and engagement plan, faculty and leadership appointments, and potential industry partnerships.

Regarding the decision to postpone the first intake of students, Dr Sultan Al Jaber said: "The University is eager and ready to welcome our first cohort of students from around the world, however, given the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, the decision to start the academic year in 2021 been made in the best interest of the prospective students, faculty, and staff, whose health and wellbeing is our top priority. We want our students to be able to focus on their studies and research, and take full advantage of the world-class education that they will receive at the MBZUAI campus."

Progress on the MBZUAI campus, located in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, is ongoing as per schedule, and will be completed in the coming weeks. The University is also continuing to build a team of experts in AI, academia, and business to serve as faculty, staff, and members of the leadership team. MBZUAI is set to make important leadership appointment announcements in the coming days.

Launched in October 2019, MBZUAI has received thousands of applications from over 80 countries. All applicants have been informed of the change in start date. The University Admissions Office will begin to send acceptance letters soon.

Professor Sir Michael Brady, Interim President of MBZUAI, said: "MBZUAI is set to become a truly global community of students, faculty, and staff. COVID-19 containment measures, currently taken by countries around the world, have made it difficult to be certain that every admitted student would be able to join us at our Masdar City campus, if the academic year were to start in August 2020."

In a letter sent to applicants, Professor Sir Michael Brady said: "We look forward to welcoming many of you to Abu Dhabi in January 2021 to begin exploring the full potential of AI together."

MBZUAI will offer Master of Science, MSc, and PhD level programs while also engaging policymakers and businesses around the world so that AI is harnessed as a force for positive transformation.

The University will provide all admitted students with a full scholarship, plus benefits such as a monthly allowance, health insurance, and accommodation. MBZUAI will work with leading local and global companies to secure internships and will also assist students in finding employment opportunities.