In the mid-1990s, a group of distinguished Kuwaiti academicians and businessmen realized the vital importance of establishing a modern university in Kuwait equal in quality to other prestigious universities abroad and to serve the ever-increasing educational demands of the local society and the Gulf region. Its primary purpose was to prepare generations of young leaders and professionals for the demands of a new global technological era.
In January 1997, Kuwaiti Academic Group, comprised of 41 faculty members from Kuwait University, was established to lay the foundation for the proposed "University of the Future." Their studies culminated in the vision of "Gulf University for Science and Technology" (GUST).
A strategic partnership was established with the University of Missouri at St. Louis (UMSL), the international counterpart university chosen to help bring the visualization of the projected university to fruition. The development was facilitated and shaped by the Private Universities Decree, No. 34, issued by the State of Kuwait in 2000, resulting in the establishment of a temporary campus with the necessary infrastructure in Hawally.