Tackling the challenges of sustainable development requires critical thinking, innovative technologies and an open dialogue between science, industry, and society. As Swiss-based universities that are consistently high in the leading international university rankings, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are committed to playing a key role in addressing these …
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.
Although law is hardly a science, rather an intellectual discipline, it is at the heart of many of the issues discussed in this Colloquium: it shapes the functioning of democracy; it regulates markets; contributes to protecting the environment, to fighting corruption and crime; it avoids or solves conflicts, translates the ethical values of society into concrete rules, and sanctions violations. …
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
Imagine you are an economic historian writing at the end of the 21st century about the second half of the 20th and first decade of the 21st. You will probably write that this period was characterized by an unprecedented increase in prosperity in the Western World, the rapid emergence of new, giant economic powers,
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.
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,
The educational needs of the 21st century pose a number of serious problems for current educational practices. First and foremost, we see the 21st century as a time that is characterized by constant change Educational practices that focus on the transfer of static knowledge simply cannot keep up with the rapid rate of change. Practices that focus on adaptation
If “[a] week”, as the late British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once pointedly remarked, “is a long time in politics”, so also, a decade is a long time in higher education. It represents the graduation of two or three generations of students. It reflects the subtle influence of changing scholarly and research priorities and, for all the treasured independence of …
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
I do think that the terms Bildung and innovation can be contradictory, at least they express the inner conflict felt by a person, who is responsible for change in an institution — the university — and therefore for innovation and, at the same time, knows how frequently and in what manner this task has been deliberated in the history of …
For more than 200 years, the German university system has followed the ideas of Wilhelm von Humboldt — the unity of research and teaching, the freedom of teaching being the most important of Humboldt’s principles. These ideas have been followed until today, even though the external conditions that universities have to cope with have changed dramatically. On the one hand, …
There is widespread agreement among economists that international forces have changed the nature of economic development (Soete, 2006). National markets have become increasingly interrelated, and goods, services, capital, labour, as well as knowledge, flow around the world seeking the most favourable economic conditions. Natural resources
Globalization means more competition and that a nation’s investment, production and innovation are not limited by its borders. Internationalization, according to Levin (2001), is one set of behaviour influenced by globalization processes. These processes are not only political and economic, but also social and cultural,
Although the topic for this paper implies a focus on Europe, the issues I want to address are by no means limited to that continent. Without wishing to minimize the significance of national differences and continental contexts, it is possible to discern a set of generic issues facing higher education systems around the world which bear a distinct similarity. My …
Universities in continental Europe have a long tradition of nearly one thousand years, incorporating the idea of the “Greek academia”. The foundation of universities spread rapidly throughout medieval Europe, with Bologna (1088) and Paris (1150) as the first, acting as models for the others to come. The university started as a “universitas magistorum et scholarium”,
Among the scores of books written during the past decade about globalization — so many, in fact, that some by different authors bear the same title 1 — none has captured as many readers as Thomas L. Freidman’s The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (2005). It has sold several million copies
An important consequence of economic globalization is expected to be that only a few leading universities will dominate the world of higher education, just as a few companies are dominating different industrial sectors worldwide. Globalization has thus become a major goal for most research universities in Korea. It is driven by a number of other factors as well,
The global economy stands at a moment of extraordinary potential. The last three decades have produced steep gains in worldwide economic growth, led by a surge of innovative, entrepreneurial activity rooted in advanced science and technology. Nations around the world have an opportunity to capitalize on efficiencies and optimize