Innovation, Higher Education and the Role of Emerging Economies in Global Development

April 24th and 25th 2014

Members of the new Pardee Center Task Force on Higher Education and Innovation presented their research to a diverse audience of scholars, students, and development practitioners at a day-long conference on April 24 at Boston University.  The event was co-sponsored by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University and the Peace Islands Institute.

The Task Force, convened by Pardee Faculty Fellow Muhammad Zaman, focuses on education and innovation in emerging economies and the role of universities in supporting development policies that promote higher standards of living and increased engagement with developing and industrialized nations.

The event, titled “Higher Education and Innovation in Emerging Economies: From Local Development to Global Engagement,” featured introductory remarks by Pardee Center Director Anthony Janetos and Peace Islands Institute Chief Executive Officer Murat Kaval.  Task Force members presentations included:

Prof. Ali Coskun from Fatih University in Turkey who discussed the role of the “Innovation Scorecard”, which ranks Turkish Universities based on criteria such as technical competence, intellectual property, and economic contributions, and whether this new addition to higher education policy spurs innovation at public and private universities;

Mihaela Papa, a Globalization, Lawyers and Emerging Economies (GLEE) Fellow at Harvard Law School, who spoke on the role of legal education in BRICS nations and what emerging states can do to produce lawyers that have the skills necessary to arbitrate in a global setting against lawyers from developed states;

Hannes Toivanen of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, who discussed the role of technology in advancing – or alternatively impeding – global equality, focusing specifically on the growing chasm between emerging and industrialized nations as patent holders and the need to bridge this gap in innovative capacity;

Ali Yurtsever from American Islamic College in Chicago, who presented on the current challenges to higher education in Turkey and the need for national universities to both reverse “brain drain” and also become more attractive destinations for international students;

and Prof. Joseph Harris of Boston University who talked about the role of emerging nations including Brazil, India, South Africa, and Thailand in spurring healthcare innovation and activism in developing nations.

Following the individual presentations, Task Force members broke into two panels to discuss the future of innovation in emerging economies, specifically considering issues of national security, foreign aid, health care issues, local and global inequality, and higher education as a driver of innovation.