In 1977, the Saudi Arabian National Center for Science and Technology (SANCST) was established, with Prof. Rida M.S. Obaid being the president. This center was created as an independent scientific organization that is responsible for the promotion of science and technology in Saudi Arabia. However, the name was later changed into King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). In 1987, KACST has joined the International Council for Science (ICSU) as a National Member.
In 1984, Abdul Rahman Al-Athel was named as the President of the city. In 2007, Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel, who used to be the KACST vice president for research, became the president. HH Dr. Turki AL Saud is the KACST vice president.
The research complex is divided into the following research institutes: