The Roles of Higher Education in Innovation and Globalization

Date: 24 April 2014
Speaker: Professor Arden L. Bement Jr.


The Roles of Higher Education in Innovation and Globalization As the 21st Century unfolds nations and their research universities are focusing on ‘global disruptive technologies’, such as ‘nanotech, biotech, and infotech’, to create economic growth and improve quality of life for their burgeoning populations. As the global recession set in near the end of the first decade, government economic development agencies began focusing on strengthening their national systems of innovation and entrepreneurship to shorten the lead time from new concept creation… to prototype development and evaluation, and … to commercial scale up. Because of the ever accelerating pace of new technology development, national innovation systems being developed are providing a stronger role for research universities to accelerate new technology transfers in those ‘disruptive technologies’ that can help create new markets and value networks in business and industrial sectors. While innovation is not considered to be an academic discipline, it is becoming an essential compliment to formal disciplinary (and interdisciplinary) preparation to provide early undergraduate exposure to experimentation and idea creation with an aim toward commercial application. Since new economic development and enterprise creation has been and is increasingly becoming an interleaved global process of enterprise integration, international partnerships and collaborations among leading research universities around the world is an important consideration. Of particular importance is the need to collectively explore the nebular regions beyond currently understood scienti­c frontiers to anticipate where new salients of discovery are likely to emerge. To avoid this new reality is to become ‘blindsided’ to potential disruptions to existing markets resulting from global developments of new, high-growth-rate, general-purpose technologies (GPTs).

Speaker Bio

Professor Arden L. Bement Jr.

David A. Ross Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering,
Chief Global Affairs Officer Emeritus and Inaugural Director Emeritus,
Global Policy Research Institute, Purdue University

Professor Arden L. Bement Jr. is the Inaugural Director Emeritus of the Purdue University’s Global Policy Research Institute and Purdue’s Chief Global Affairs Officer Emeritus. Professor Bement joined the Purdue faculty in 1992 after a 39-year career in industry, government and academia. He took a ten-year leave of absence from Purdue in 2001 to serve as the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (2001–2004) and Director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (2004–2010). He served as a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and as the vice-chair of the Commission’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Committee. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (30-year pin), European Science Academy, Pan American Academy of Engineering, Washington, D.C. Science Academy, and Indiana Science Academy. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal of the Department of Defense; the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, from the Empire of Japan and the Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur from the French Republic. The Indiana Governor awarded him the rank and title of 'Sagamore of the Wabash' in 2012.