Local and Global Perspectives

NYU Abu Dhabi is pushing forward the frontiers of knowledge through innovative research that responds to vital local and global challenges. Together with Abu Dhabi, NYUAD is leading and growing as a global center of groundbreaking intellectual and artistic scholarship for the 21st century.

Over 12 million total research award and grants to date


United States
National Science Foundation; Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA; Semiconductor Research Corporation; National Institutes of Health; Social Science Research Council; National Academy of Sciences; Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

ATIC / Semiconductor Research Corporation; Al Jalila Foundation; Terry Fox Foundation; ExxonMobil Corporation; Ford Middle East; MBZ Species Conservation Program; ADNOC; National Research Foundation; ADEC

Human Frontiers Science Program; Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology


Ranked # 1in UAE by Nature Index for high quality research output

in UAE by Nature

Index for high

quality research

output since



For research-related inquiries, please contact nyuad.research@nyu.edu.

NYUAD Research by the Numbers


NYU Abu Dhabi research is results-driven.

Ranked # 1in UAE by Nature Index for high guality research output

journals, articles,
conference proceedings,
books, and book
chapters since opening


Deep Dive: Scientists Examine Coral Reef Health in the Arabian Gulf

NYU Abu Dhabi, on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island, sits about a kilometer away from a massive coral reef that's trying to survive in some of the most extreme environmental conditions in the world.

John Burt, NYUAD marine biologist, says he couldn't ask for a better natural laboratory for his team of researchers to explore how environmental and human-triggers affect reef fauna in the Arabian Gulf. What they learn in Abu Dhabi could provide important insights into coral reef's ability to survive climate change worldwide.

Big Catch

Hamour 1_Emily Howells

NYU Abu Dhabi researchers used genetic testing to determine that one of the most commercially important fish in the Arabian Gulf, the orange-spotted grouper (regionally known as the hammour), is typically marketed and sold as one species, but the fish on sale are actually three distinct species.

Climate Science in the Arabian Sea


Shafer Smith and other scientists at the Center for Prototype Climate Modeling are developing sophisticated computer models to help understand climate processes and improve climate prediction. Smith and his team focus on proceses in the oceans, particularly what's happening in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

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Urban Innovation

Engineering to Protect Coastal Cities


Simulation tracking of commuter movements using cell phone location data can help engineers predict how drivers will react if roads are flooded

As climate change raises sea levels, feeding storm surges, coastal cities are increasingly at risk. How can vital transportation networks be protected in such scenarios? NYU Abu Dhabi's Samer Madanat, dean of engineering, is working with researchers at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), where he once taught, to help answer that question.



Ranked # 1in UAE by Nature Index for high guality research output

in Rising Stars of

Western Asia and

Middle East for


research output

How Smart Cities Can Beat Their Traffic Troubles


Engineers are creating a virtual replica of Abu Dhabi's road network to address urban traffic problems

Everybody talks about traffic congestion, and yet it just seems to keep getting worse. But now three NYU Abu Dhabi engineers are laying the groundwork for a new form of data-driven cooperation with police and municipal authorities, designed to move vehicles around the city more efficiently.

Arts and Culture

Bedouin Poetry

For centuries, Nabati poetry has been a touchstone of identity and tribal values in the Arabian Peninsula.

NYU Abu Dhabi Senior Humanities Fellow Marcel Kurpershoek, a former Dutch diplomat, traveled to the Arabian desert in the 1980s to record oral poetry and stories with the Bedouin people. He wrote a book about his fieldwork, which inspired a TV series called "The Last Bedouin."

The Rhythm Project


Scholars already know that societies present and past, everywhere in the world, make music and move to music because rhythm is largely biological, it’s simple human nature. But the role of culture in this seemingly universal experience is not yet fine tuned.

100+ Artistic Works created and directed since opening

artistic works

created and


since opening

Voices of a Generation


Two years ago when Ayisha Khansaheb, research assistant at NYU Abu Dhabi, started work on a historic study about the personal histories of elderly women in the UAE she wasn’t quite sure how she would get in touch with her research subjects.

Her goal was to talk to ordinary women in a specific age group — those born around the 1950s — a generation that has mostly lived out of the public gaze and is more conservative than tech-savvy Emirati women today who are often easy to track down on social media.

Leading in Language


Ramsah, which means talk in Emirati Arabic, is a 352-page Emirati dialect workbook and audio guide that serves as a resource for educators and students in the UAE and beyond.


Chemists Develop “Breakthrough” Crystal That Can Self-Repair Overnight

A close-up of the healed crystal clearly shows the mark left by the incision. Dr. Patrick Commins / NYU Abu Dhabi

Imagine a future where buildings and roads can self-repair cracks; cogs installed deep inside complex machines can independently heal structural wear and tear; smartphones can automatically mend their broken screens; all without human intervention.

Chemists Use Superabsorbent, Reusable Powder to Remove Oil From Water


NYU Abu Dhabi scientists have come up with a new way to remove toxic contaminants like oils and dyes from water that could be more efficient and less costly than current methods.

Space Science With Earthly Ties

Unique 3D model of the Sun with surface activity and solar flares.

Scientists at the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu Dhabi are onto something that seems out of this world: the idea that modern techniques used by astrophysicists to study the inside of the Sun can improve the way geophysicists on Earth image oil and gas reservoirs.


Techniques used in solar seismology such as data analysis, passive imaging, full-waveform inversions, and high performance computing and surprisingly relevant to exploration geophysics on Earth.

Center for Space Science at NYU Abu Dhabi

Nanoparticle Development Set to Revolutionize Cancer Treatment

A new nanoparticle developed by scientists of the Trabolsi Research Group at NYU Abu Dhabi could change the future of how drug delivery systems are used in the treatment of cancer.

Nanoparticles are tiny microscopic particles that have diverse applications in various fields such as physics, chemistry, optics, and medical science while drug delivery systems are a breakthrough approach in biomedical engineering that enables doctors to direct highly potent drugs to specific disease-infected sites in the human body.

Public Health

UAE Healthy Future Study

NYU Abu Dhabi is leading a collaborative initiative to track the health and lifestyles of Emiratis over the course of their lifetimes. The UAE Healthy Future Study will enable specialized physicians and scientists to examine why obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are so common among UAE Nationals.

Experts Say Smoking Shisha at Home Puts Non-Smokers at Risk


A study by the NYU Abu Dhabi Public Health Research Center has revealed that secondhand smoke from shisha is more harmful than secondhand smoke from cigarettes. The findings are based on data collected from smokers’ homes in the UAE.


Specialized Lab Aims to Advance Liver Disease Research


Kirsten Sadler Edepli, associate professor of biology, says NYU Abu Dhabi's genomics center is vital to the promising liver research projects she is pursuing in her newly established lab on campus.

"What's really great about doing the projects in Abu Dhabi," she said, "is the genomics facility and the bioinformatics team. It's all about genome-wide studies ... having the bioinformatics expertise has really been helpful, and the genomics center is essential."

Fighting Malaria

NYU Abu Dhabi scientists are looking for new insights into the study of malaria, a complex disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers traveled to Burkina Faso to figure out how genetics might be responsible for the wide variation in the severity of the disease.

NYUAD’s Global Presence

NYUAD's unique location in the Middle East makes it an ideal headquarters for social science researchers working to understand complex global societies past and present.

Social Science Fieldwork

NYU Abu Dhabi's unique location in the Middle East makes it an ideal headquarters for social scientists conducting fieldwork in dozens of countries to better understand complex global societies past and present.

Zeynep Ozgen, ethnographer and assistant professor of sociology, is examining the connections between religion and politics in Turkey, and Peter van der Windt, assistant professor of political science, is conducting research in conflict-prone areas of Africa.

Research Hub for Social Science Fieldwork


“Abu Dhabi is an exciting place to be a social scientist"

Morgan Hardy, assistant professor of economics, spends about one quarter of each year conducting fieldwork in various regions of Ghana. Her primary interest is in development economics, with a topical focus on firms, labor markets, and social networks.

NYUAD Research Reports

Research Report 2015-16

2015-2016 Research Report


NYUAD Research 2013-14

NYUAD Research Report 2012

NYUAD Research 2012

Total awards in

2016 were over

Ranked # 1in UAE by Nature Index for high guality research output

More than

Ranked # 1in UAE by Nature Index for high guality research output

U.S. patents filed since opening