In the framework of the demographic evolution foreseen up to 2050, major issues related to sustainability include: food, natural resources (water in particular) and energy. These “grand societal challenges” affect all aspects of our lives and are not contained within geographical borders or specific scientific disciplines.
Last year, I chaired the U.S. National Academies’ Committee that produced the report, “The Hidden Costs of Energy” (2010). Using the most advanced methodology and the best available data, the Committee estimated a lower bound of US$120 billion per year in non-climate damages to Americans from producing and using energy in America.
Universities are a key player in the “knowledge society”. But this increased influx of knowledge and the exponential rate of technical progress also generate anxiety and fear that could undermine the fundamental role of universities to elaborate and disseminate knowledge. Universities should not be locked into the sterile debate of
This paper intends to renew certain paradigms that tend to limit the vision and functions of universities and advance towards the University 2.0, a scheme focused on society and that brings about concrete changes. The University 2.0 works in two great aspects: economic development models and social development models,
The two-way interaction of societal activity with environmental processes now defines clear and present challenges to our well-being. Human activity is changing the climate system and the ecosystem services that support human life and livelihoods. The changes are occurring at an unprecedented and often bewildering pace.
We live in a time of great change, an increasingly global society, driven by the exponential growth of new knowledge and knitted together by rapidly evolving information and communication technologies. It is a time of challenge and contradiction, as an ever-increasing human population and invasive activities of humankind are now altering the fragile balance of our planet.
The story of Canada’s innovation strategy begins with two key measurements: 1. Since 1990, Canada has ranked first fully eight times in the United Nation’s Human Development Index, which examines health, education and income indicators to assess overall quality of life (United Nations Development Programme,
The early years of the 21st century have found the U.S., Europe and Asia increasingly committed to technology-based innovation as the road to economic prosperity. Every CEO has had a catchphrase to this effect on his or her tongue. Etsuhiko Shoyama of Hitachi says “Ceaselessly Innovate”, and Sam Palmisano of IBM says “Innovate or Abdicate”.
Across the World, governments subscribe to the thesis that investment in research is a worthwhile public good for a number of reasons. Such investments are generally predicated on the view that research will lead directly to innovation and, hence, to wealth and employment creation. This “linear” model is an over-simplification of a complex reality
In 1992, Francis Fukyama reflected in The End of History and the Last Man on the transformative events signified by the collapse of the Berlin Wall. He argued that What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War,
Education, research and economic development are among the highest priorities established by King Abdullah for Saudi Arabia. An equally important overriding priority for him is the development of women for greater participation in the workforce. According to UNESCO, women make up 58% of the total student population of Saudi Arabia, and yet only 16% of the Saudi workforce (excluding foreign …
While Latin America has achieved relative economic stability and growth over the past decade (37.7% for 1998-2008), as the global financial struck the productive sectors of the economy through a drop in demand from the industrialized countries, declining remittances from abroad and falling commodities prices, in 2008 it grew 4.3%. Latin America is a very diverse region. Some countries have …
Success today hinges on our abilities to harness human potential, combine creativity with new knowledge and ensure economic impact is quickly derived from money spent on research. U.S. strength continues to lie in the ability to master innovation, but the future increasingly depends on our ability to also collaborate,
After a short tenure in teaching at universities, I have pursued an entrepreneurial career since 1980. Nine years ago, when I joined the MICorporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I got reconnected back to the academic world. Together with other like-minded individuals at MIT, I have been experimenting with ways in which to make the innovation at MIT have a bigger
Starting with the rise of Silicon Valley in the 1960s and 70s, the different stakeholders associated with U.S. research universities have emphasized and nurtured the relationship between scientific research and technological innovation taking place at these universities and economic development. The perceived importance of this relationship was reinforced by
In the race to diversify their economies beyond oil and gas predominance, several Middle East Countries are moving to develop “knowledge-based” economies. Higher education, particularly in technical areas, and innovation are seen as key to making that transition. New higher education institutions are being built
Innovation has become the buzzword of the 21st century and even more so now after the current economic meltdown, as nations around the world have the enormous task of rebuilding their economies. It is generally agreed that innovation refers to the process of converting an idea, invention or scientific discovery into commercially or publicly successful products,
In today’s global, knowledge-driven economy, leadership in innovation is essential to a nation’s prosperity and security. In particular, technological innovation — the transformation of new knowledge into products, processes and services of value to society — is critical to economic competitiveness, national security and an improved
In Europe, the first university started in Bologna in 1088 as “universitas magistrorum et scholarium”, a community of teachers and students. Its legitimacy was derived from a humanistic program; its activities consisted in providing general and professional education. As an example of the mission of a medieval university,
While the Glion Colloquia have brought university leaders together to exchange perspectives on an array of critical issues confronting higher education, perhaps none is more imperative to consider than the role of the research university in an innovation-driven society. Research universities are the primary source of the new knowledge and innovation that drives the global economy