MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


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:

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.


The past year saw the continuation of two multi-year collaborative programs, and the completion of TDP collaboration with the Government of Mendoza to provide research, education, and administrative assistance to the Fundación Centro de Innovación Tecnológica (CIT) which TDP assisted in its establishment in Mendoza in 1994. CIT's research activities during collaboration with MIT focused on: Transportation; Internationalization and Competitiveness; and Water and Energy Resources in Mendoza.

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. During 1997—1998 under the sponsorship of TDP/NSTDA program; Professor Joel Clark and Professor Alice Amsden completed their project on "Analysis of Relative Production Costs of Automotive Parts in Thailand and Other Countries and "Analysis of Adjustment to International Opening; Comparison of Thailand, Taiwan, and Mexico". Professor Michael Dennis completed his "Design Studio: The Case of KMUTT Rajaburi Campus". And Professor Alan T. Hatton successfully completed the first year of the "Chemical Engineering Practice School in Thailand". During 1998—1999, the following research projects were undertaken: i) Professor Hatton continued to advise on the "Chemical Engineering Practice School in Thailand"; ii) "Feasibility of Establishment of TGIST (Thailand Graduate Institute for Science and Technology" (Professor Fred Moavenzadeh); iii) "Morphology Control in Immiscible Polymer Blends Through Interfacial Reaction and Rheology" (Professor Chris Scott); and iv) "Thailand Integrated Water Resource Management System" (Professor Kevin Amaratunga).

In addition discussion is under way with regard to the initiation of two additional projects: "Multi-Media Technology" (Professor Steven Lerman) and "Air Pollution" (Professor Gregory McRae)

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 (a) infrastructure, (b) information technology/multi-media; (c) Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering; (d) Advanced Materials; (e) Manufacturing; and (f) 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. Currently TDP is discussing the possibility of funding from the government of Malaysia and Motorola Corporation. Should these funding materialize we expect to continue on collaboration at the normal pace.

In addition to the above, TDP received a gift from AVINA Foundation to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a Latin American Institute of Technology in Costa Rica. A team of MIT faculty members after a few visits to Costa Rica and discussion with leaders of government; academic institutions; research and development organizations; and a few industrial firms, prepared and submitted a prospectus on the feasibility of the establishment of such an Institute in Costa Rica.


The Technology and Development Program has submitted proposal for Collaborative Agreements in Brazil and is also pursuing activities in Korea and Colombia.

In Brazil the collaborative effort would be between TDP at MIT and USP, UNESP AND UNICAMP in Brazil. The research would be conducted for a seven (7) year period for a total cost of $42 Million, with funding for the first two years at $10 Million. The Collaborative Program would support the establishment of a Center for Technological Innovation in San Paolo Brazil and would include activities in the following areas: (a) research projects, (b) educational (exchange of students and visitors), (c) curriculum development; (d) short courses, executive seminars and workshops; and (e) industrial linkages/outreach program. In Colombia, TDP and Mariano Ospina Foundation have jointly prepared a proposal to establish an Institute for research and education on large-scale infrastructure systems in Bogota.


The TDP-sponsored Middle East Program at MIT completed its eleventh 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.

A number of short courses and executive seminars have been offered both in Thailand and Malaysia including the following: (a) Project Management for Capital Projects (Professor Robert D. Logcher); Fundamentals of Lasers, Fiberoptics, and Photonic Sensors (Professor Shaoul Ezekiel); Human-Machine Systems in Manufacturing, Process Control, Transportation and Communication (Professor Thomas B. Sheridan); and So you Want to Build an Airplane (Professor Leon Trilling).

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. TDP has focused its efforts on developing four graduate academic programs (Transportation Systems, Information Technology and Multimedia, System Design and Operation, and Chemical Process Engineering and Biochemical Process Engineering), during the coming years.


The TDP Director is Professor Fred Moavenzadeh, George Macomber Professor of Construction Management in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Nazli Choucri of the Department of Political Science is the Program's Associate Director and Patricia Vargas is the Assistant Director.

Fred Moavenzadeh

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99