The contract covers utility buildings and facilities management at the site. Light construction has already started, and work is expected to last two years.

It was announced on 4 March that two US universities will help to develop the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (Kaust) in Saudi Arabia. Stanford University and the University of California in Berkeley will partner with the planned university under its Academic Excellence Alliance programme.

Kaust, a new graduate-level research university, is due to open in the kingdom in 2009. The main campus will cover an area of 36 million square meters on the Red Sea coast at Thuwal (MEED 05:03:08).