According to Bloomberg, Professor Zexiang was one of the first Chinese students to study in the US, before coming back to Hong Kong in 1992 to teach at HKUST. From there, he trained a new generation of business owners and established an incubation academy, funding for robots and artificial intelligence startups estimated to be worth $12 billion.
The professor attained his bachelor's degree (with honors) in Electrical Engineering and Economics from Carnegie-Mellon University, his MA degree in Mathematics and PhD degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley.
In 2019, he received the IEEE Robotics and Automation Award for his influential "contributions to the development of civilian drones, aerial imaging technology, robotics engineering advancement, innovation and entrepreneurship."
"We are happy to welcome Professor Zexiang Li to KAUST and Saudi Arabia," said Hattan Ahmed, director of entrepreneurship at KAUST. "Professor Li has brought some of China's most important robotics and AI startups to market such as DJI, CiDi, EcoFlow and Narwal. His expertise transforming research and mentoring students will be transformative to scale our deep tech startup spinouts from KAUST and connect them to the Chinese ecosystem."
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Established in 2009, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is a graduate research university devoted to finding solutions for some of the most pressing scientific and technological challenges in the world as well as Saudi Arabia in the areas of food and health, water, energy, environment and the digital domain. KAUST is a curiosity-driven, interdisciplinary problem-solving environment, with state-of-the-art labs, distinguished faculty and talented students.
KAUST brings together the best minds from around the world to advance research. More than 120 different nationalities live, work and study on campus. KAUST is also a catalyst for innovation, economic development and social prosperity, with research resulting in novel patents and products, enterprising startups, regional and global initiatives, and collaboration with other academic institutions, industries and Saudi agencies.