Technology and Development Program
The Technology and Development Program's (TDP) primary mission is to provide a focus at MIT for research and education related to the role of technology in the socioeconomic development of newly industrialized nations. TDP works with other academic departments and research centers throughout MIT to:
- Promote an awareness of the relationship between science, technology, and development on the part of faculty and students at MIT
- Provide a focal point for the technology and development activities of faculty, students, and visiting scholars interested in the field of technology and development
- Assist the faculty, students, and staff of collaborating institutions in other countries to develop research and academic interests consistent with their national needs
- Serve as a contact for interested organizations outside MIT (government, academic, private sector) to access the Institute's resources and its knowledge of developing countries, particularly of their socio-economic and technological problems
TDP carries out these objectives through research, academic programs, and contacts with international and national organizations that have an interest in broad areas of technology and development. In order to fully utilize available resources, the TDP is structured to interact with other academic departments and research centers throughout MIT.
TDP currently has two major on-going programs.
TDP in Thailand collaborates in research and education with two major Thai Institutions: the Collaborative Program of Science and Technology with the National Science Technology and Development Agency of Thailand (NSTDA) and the Collaborative Program of Science and Technology with the King Mongkut University of Technology at Thonburi (KMUTT). These two programs are funded under an agreement with Suskapatana Foundation, and both started in 1996. Both activities are currently being continued at slower pace due to the economic hardship in Thailand. TDP continued its assistance to KMUTT in organizational of its research and academic programs and the start-up of a research center operating under the auspices of KMUTT. Professor Kevin Amaratunga continued his work on the Thailand Integrated Water Resource Management System Project.
Interaction between Professor Steven Lerman and NSTDA continued in the area of "Multi-Media Technology."
Since signing a multi-year Agreement with MUST-Ehsan Foundation in January 1997, TDP has been assisting the foundation with the establishment of the Malaysia University of Science and Technology (MUST). To Support the Establishment of the Malaysia University of Science and Technology, TDP and MUST have devoted their efforts to developing the academic programs at the graduate level in several engineering areas including Information Technology and Multi Media; Biochemcial and Biotechnology; Engineering Systems and Operations; and Transportation and Logistics; the research agenda focusing on infrastructure, information technology/multi-media, Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering, Advanced Materials, Manufacturing, and Energy and Environment; as well as working on institutional building activities, and promoting industrial and governmental collaboration and linkages. Due to economic hardship in Malaysia, TDP's activities have been carried out at a much slower pace. The government of Malaysia has funded MUST beginning this past May and MIT is negotiating with Motorola for the MIT portion of its funding for this endeavor which will be $25 million for five years.
The Technology and Development Program continues discussions with appropriate institutions in Colombia, Egypt, and Kuwait.
In conjunction with ABT Associates TDP is exploring the possibility of establishing a Science and Technology Institute based graduate University in the Middle East most likely in Golan Heights. In Colombia, TDP and Mariano Ospina Foundation continue to work towards a formal proposal to establish an institute for research and education on large-scale infrastructure systems in Bogota. In Egypt, TDP continues its discussion with the office of the Prime Minister towards the establishment of a University similar to the Malaysia University of Science and Technology.
The TDP-sponsored Middle East Program at MIT completed its twelfth year. The program (under the direction of Professor Nazli Choucri, TDP associate director) involves faculty from the Department of Political Science, Department of Economics, the History Faculty, the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the Sloan School of Management, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Science, Technology and Society Program, and the Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture. The program enables students with an interest in the Middle East to develop an expertise in the area in addition to their own academic fields of specialization; and it examines the processes of socio-economic change, technological development, political change, institutional development, capital flows, and business and investment patterns in the region.
In Malaysia TDP is working with MUST to promote the education of individuals to carry out the social and industrial development of Malaysia and is employing several mechanisms including: long-distance learning techniques; teaching of short courses in Malaysia; and faculty and student exchange.
The TDP director is Professor Fred Moavenzadeh who holds the James Mason Crafts Professorship, and Professor Nazli Choucri of the Department of Political Science is the Program's associate director. Patricia Vargas is the assistant director.