For a Changing World

Cities are growing, developing, and expanding at unprecedented rates. New technologies foster instant communication across the globe, presenting both opportunities and pitfalls. Biologists are gaining a better understanding of diseases that claim millions of lives each year. Artists are fashioning new methods to convey the realities of our contemporary world across cultures, while historians unearth and preserve treasures from our past.

In a few short years, faculty, students, and researchers at NYUAD have contributed to transformation of the region into a hub of innovation and progress. NYUAD and Abu Dhabi are leading the 21st century knowledge economy in the Middle East. Strategic collaborations and partnerships, locally and beyond, are also helping to address far-reaching, border-transcending problems like poverty, rising sea levels and cybersecurity.

A Global Presence

Our faculty come to Abu Dhabi from all over the world and are conducting important research across disciplines on almost every continent.

Climate, Energy, & Environment

Responding Locally to Global Problems

An increase of even a few degrees in the Earth’s climate will have tremendous consequences for billions of people. Researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi are trying to determine how climate change will affect humanity's collective future and how to better understand changes that are taking place.


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Arts, Culture, & History


There’s a lot of unrecorded oral history still extant in the UAE, and if it is not systematically collected over the next few years this lived experience will be lost to future generations of Emiratis and scholars.

Marzia Balzani, professor of anthropology
paris-BnF-MS Arabe-5847-f14v

The Library of Arabic Literature

Maqāmāt are short trickster tales, mostly in prose but sometimes in poetry. The prose tends to rhyme, so when translated they can sound a little like Dr. Seuss.

Akkasah: Center for Photography collects rarely seen historic photos from the region. (copyright: Yasser Alwan)

A Region with a Story to Tell

In the 175 years or so since photography's inception, a rich history has been accumulating in the Arab World that has yet to be written.

Associate Professor of Literature and Visual Studies Shamoon Zamir is working on many fronts to develop Akkasah: Center for Photography at NYU Abu Dhabi, a research archive that is gathering vernacular and documentary images dating back to the 19th century from around the Middle East and North Africa.

Zamir and his team at Akkasah have accumulated an archive of some 15,000 regional photos, mainly from Egypt and Turkey. These come from local photographers but also from secondhand book stores, flea markets, and so on.

Akkasah aims to develop a special focus on the UAE: “We hope to acquire family photos from the diverse communities of the UAE, to scan them and do life narratives. Working with families gives us the rare opportunity to accumulate detailed meta-data, whereas when we get photographs from flea markets we have no data at all.”

“We are also commissioning new documentary work in the UAE, which after 10 or 20 years will accumulate into a valuable archive” on both Emirati and expatriate communities.

Public Health

A long-term study of 20,000 Emiratis aims change to the future of health in the UAE.

Research for a Healthy Future

NYU Abu Dhabi is leading a collaborative initiative to study long-term health trends in the UAE. Called UAE Healthy Futures, the project will track the health and lifestyle of Emiratis over the course of their lifetime, and it may offer insights into why the Emirati population has such a high rate of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The project is one of the first of its kind in the Arab world.

Globalization & Development

Resident Expert

Samer Madanat, Dean of Engineering Division, NYUAD

Transportation and Environmental Sustainability

NYU Abu Dhabi Dean of Engineering Samer Madanat develops efficient ways for people to get around with an eye on protecting the environment.

#1 Ranked In the UAE by Nature Index for High-Quality Research Output
An illustration of the work that Global TIES does in the Congo to help children feel safer in schools in conflict-afflicted regions. Illustration by: Transmute, LLC

Strategic Research for Global Challenges

The breadth of research in the social sciences at NYU Abu Dhabi uses data to help historians, economists, NGOs, and governments better understand human behavior — and improve people’s lives.

Robert Allen, global distinguished professor of economic history at NYUAD, heads a research project that collects and analyzes historical data on wages and prices in the Middle East. The initiative’s goal is to understand how Middle Eastern economies have developed.


One of the big themes across academic disciplines ... is how cooperation has evolved. It's hard to explain the cooperation among strangers that we observe in daily life.

Nikos Nikiforakis, associate professor of economics



Power plants, airplanes, ships … have embedded systems everywhere. Back when these were first designed and installed, there were no security problems, because most of them were not connected to the Internet. Now, it's hard to protect systems from hackers.

Michail Maniatakos, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering
US$7.5 Million Total External Research Grants

United States: National Science Foundation; Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA; Semiconductor Research Corporation
UAE: Semiconductor Research Corporation; Al Jalila Foundation; Terry Fox Foundation; ExxonMobil Corporation; Ford Middle East; MBZ Species Conservation Program; ADNOC; National Research Foundation; ADEC
International: Human Frontiers Science Program; Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology

NYUAD works closely with governments and industry on systems to protect valuable facilities like electricity, water and nuclear power installations.

Not Just a Technology Problem

From your Facebook page to global financial markets to nuclear power plants, modern life demands robust security for electronic information systems. Yet threats are everywhere, and never stop mutating.

Safe electronic communication "is not just a technology problem," said Ramesh Karri, co-principal investigator. "Cybersecurity is also a problem of policy, business and risk-management, psychology, human rights, and so on."

Karri, professor of electrical and computer engineering at NYU's Tandon School of Engineering, works with Nasir Memon, CCS principal investigator and professor of computer science and engineering at NYUAD, and a team of faculty members, postdoctoral students, and Ph.D. candidates.

Innovation & Technology

Engineering with Human Impact

In a few short years, faculty, students, and researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi have helped transform the UAE and broader Middle East region into a hub of innovation and progress, producing developments from drones to potential cancer treatments.

Award for Road Watch App and Wadi Drone Tream  RoadWatch App wins UAE Best m-government Service Award in the university category (2016)  Wadi Drone team wins AED 1 Million at inaugural UAE Drones for Good Award program (2015)

Awards for Student Research

RoadWatch App
wins UAE Best m-government Service Award in the university category (2016)

Wadi Drone
wins inaugural UAE Drones for Good Award (2015)

Life Sciences

NYUAD conducts research in a rural area of Burkina Faso to study malaria at different stages of infection in children.

Breaking New Ground

We may not have flying cars today — even if we do have hoverboards — but some of the work currently being done in the life sciences at NYU Abu Dhabi sounds like it’s straight out of the future, such as insects that can tell time.

Justin Blau, professor of biology, studies sleep-wake cycles in fruit flies. These cycles, or circadian rhythms, are determined by a small number of neurons in the fly brain — about 150 out of a total of 100,000 — and of these 150 neurons, eight are the most important in setting the time of day for the fly.


The difference between working here and somewhere else is that here I can bring people with a range of scientific skills into my lab instead of collaborating.

Timothy Dore, associate professor of chemistry

Over 1,000 Journal Articles, Conference Proceedings, Books, and Book Chapters since opening

Brain & Mind

What Makes Us Human?

The mind — something familiar, part of us — may be one of the last great frontiers of humanity's quest for knowledge. NYUAD research into what makes us tick spans the disciplines from philosophy to psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience.

60 Filed US Patents Since Opening