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When Technology Moves Faster Than Education – Adaptation for STEM majors in the digital era

DIGITAL VENTURES April 30, 2018 8:47 AM

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Undeniably, we are now living in a competitive economy that is a result of the quick change of technology and it has disrupted several industries. One obvious industry is the academic sector, especially in universities. Orapong, CEO of Digital Ventures mentions at the U.REKA opening event.

“Education is much affected, but some are still unaware of it. For example, bachelor’s degree students spend 4 years studying technology. However, in 4 years, the technology world would have tremendously changed. What they have learned may not be applicable.”

As related parties strive to maintain the core of education in universities, we must not forget to solve challenging problems such as producing graduates who can serve the digital market and can strengthen the innovation ecosystem. Today, Digital Ventures will share on how universities in other countries are adapting to keep up with innovation that is moving at great speed. These are ideas that Farnam Jahanian, President of Carnegie Mellon University shared at Weforum.org.

 

 

Promote “diversity” as it is likely to make innovation development successful.

In the past, educational institutions often invest their resources in the majors that are the demand of the market “at that time”. However, once change speeds up, graduates in the field become oversupply. An example is those majoring in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) who are viewed as innovation creators. Interestingly, the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the US Department of Commerce found that the market demand for STEM graduates has decreased drastically. In 2005-2015, demand was as high as 24%, and it is expected to decrease in 2014-2024. One reason is that, although STEM majors are the core of innovation development, there is still the lack of applying other fields of knowledge into the innovation to make the system complete.

Foster entrepreneurship to develop the economy and society in parallel.

 

Nowadays, the society has so many problems awaiting solutions. Projects from the government and large enterprise may not be able to reach the core of the problem and the scope may still be limited. This is why the younger generations are looking to change the world by themselves. This is also the origin of startups, social enterprises, and other innovative solutions.

 

A knowledge that universities can support is entrepreneurship and make this skill become part of the graduates. This skill can transform graduates from labors in the economic system to entrepreneurs that will drive the economy. With it, they can initiate new projects that are beneficial and drive both the economy and society in the future.

Today, entrepreneurship classes are available in over 200 universities and colleges in the USA. As a result, over 100,000 startups are born, and innovation increases by 70%. Outcomes are quite prevalent with examples of over 200 types of medication and vaccines being invented. 

Encourage collaboration with the private sector to create innovation together.

 

Amid fierce competition, universities join with private sectors such as leading companies, foundations, or other research institutions. These partnerships are not solely about transferring knowledge, but private sectors are ready to support resources such as funding, talent, and other useful tools so that innovation is born.  

Moreover, collaborations for innovations among universities and corporates are proven with great results in that it has paved way for other corporates to challenge their investments. The US National Science Foundation reported that from 2006 to 2016, corporates in every industry invested in researches with universities at a 5.5% increase every year. It has increased from 2,400 to 4,200 million USD within the decade.

 

 

Not only is this trend limited to the USA, but Europe is also quite mindful. The European Commission has established the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. They are a center for academia, research institutions, and the business sector in its network of 15 member states in Europe.

Explore the nexus of advanced technology and social benefits via integration across the field of studies.

 

It is unsure whether technology and innovation will automatically benefit the society without help or other factors. Therefore, there is a need to integrate various science and knowledge to achieve application that is truly beneficial. For example,

  • Philosophy, aesthetics, and ethics that can point to the correct way.
  • Political Science and economics that can plan to expand innovation to a bigger scope.
  • Applied science and sociology that will design innovation both for users and machines. 

Applying different science and knowledge will create innovation that is large and deep in a social aspect. Then, they can become products and services that will change the world.

As knowledge providers, universities are an institution that will help prepare graduates to be the driving force in developing the world while supporting the fast-changing labor market demand. This is especially true in the digital age that is moving from a “Production-based” to a “Knowledge-based” economy.

Spotlighting Thailand, educational institutions are not idle and are beginning to worry. We see how they are adapting, as shared at the panel discussion of the U.REKA project.

They are adjusting ideas and goals together with private sectors such as Digital Ventures, Microsoft Thailand and The Knowledge Exchange (KX). Through long-term supports, they aim to nurture graduates to gain skills that are fit for innovation development which will support the country’s economy.

 

 

U.REKA is now recruiting professors, graduates, and researchers who are passionate about products concerning retail, tourism, finance, and other sectors in 6 Deep Tech fields namely AI and Machine Learning, Blockchain, Cloud Security, Big Data and Data Analytics, Virtual Reality and Augment Reality and Quantum Computer. For more information, visit u-reka.co from now until May 15.

Reference: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/4-ways-universities-are-driving-innovation