A comprehensive overview of the classes, research, student groups, support programs and living groups that contribute to the international development community at MIT
Classes touching on various aspects of international development are available through almost every academic department at MIT. Some classes give students the technical skills to get their hands dirty building or designing for the benefit of the world. Business, entrepreneurship, language and communication classes provide instruction of nontechnical skills. Regional and global context classes cover topics such as the culture, history, and current political situations of developing nations. Project classes incorporate the other three categories throughout the process of creating a product to aid the developing world. This page describes departments, labs and centers that are specifically focused on international development.
D-Lab is a program that fosters the development of appropriate technologies and sustainable solutions within the framework of international development. D-Lab’s mission is to improve the quality of life of low-income households through the creation and implementation of low cost technologies. D-Lab’s portfolio of technologies also serves as an educational vehicle that allows students to gain an optimistic and practical understanding of their roles in alleviating poverty.There are currently eleven different academic offerings that make up the suite of D-Lab classes, falling into the broad categories of Development, (Development), Design (Cycle Ventures, Design, Energy, Health, ICT, Developing World Prosthetics, Mobility) and Dissemination (Dissemination, Development Ventures). All D-Lab courses are based on the same values and principles of providing experiential learning, using technology to address poverty, building the local creative capacity, promoting local innovation, valuing indigenous knowledge, fostering participatory development and co-creation, and building sustainable organizations and partnerships.
The MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) is dedicated to balancing the built environment with the natural world. In their research, they seek to understand natural systems, to foster the intelligent use of resources and to design sustainable infrastructure systems. CEE provides leadership in the field by focusing on technological innovations, seeking advances in basic knowledge and taking a systems perspective. Efforts are concentrated on quantitative and analytical approaches, novel experiment-based modeling, and the development and/or use of appropriate tools and technology. Research and graduate education programs coalesce around three fields of inquiry: environmental science and engineering; mechanics, materials and structures; and transportation.
Department of Urban Studies and Planning: Minor in International Development The DUSP undergraduate minor in international development increases the capability to understand, analyze and tackle today 's problems in emerging countries, including the challenges of dealing with increasing urbanization, the need for industrial growth and jobs for increasing number of educated youth, the crisis of resources and infrastructure, the fragmentation of state capacity and rising violence, the ethical and moral issues raised by development planning, the role of appropriate technology and research, and the challenge of dealing with popular discontent. Through research and teaching, we combine a robust introduction to the theoretical framework of the field, with a strong analytical orientation and problem-solving method tested through field engagement. Taught by faculty from one of the world s premier academic centers of expertise in planning, at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and with more than a quarter century of experience in dealing with problems of international development, the minor is a new offering to MIT students that emphasizes problem-solving, multidisciplinarity and an understanding of institutions at various levels from the local to the global as the key to solving today s problems in emerging countries.
The International Development Group (IDG) is the longest standing and largest program within a U.S. planning school devoted to graduate study and research in subjects specific to the developing world. Approximately one-quarter of the Master's students entering DUSP each year choose the IDG specialization, as do approximately one-third of the entering PhD students. This program area attracts internationally focused students with a wide range of backgrounds, work experiences, and interests. With six sub-specializations, it provides students with an integrated view of the institutional, economic,physical and socio-political factors necessary for effective planning in today's world..
As part of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), Anthropology's undergraduate offerings span a broad range of time and space: from ancient societies known from history and pre-history, to tribal and peasant communities, to contemporary industrial and scientific cultures. The program offers a number of courses related to International Development, including 21A.345 The Politics of International Development, 21A.225J Violence, Human Rights, and Justice., and 21A.800J Environmental Conflict and Social Change (G).
Sloan Global Entrepreneurship Lab (G-Lab) is the flagship international internship course offered at the MIT Sloan School of Management. G-Lab is a mix of classroom learning matched with a global internship in an emerging market. From 2008 - 2011 G-lab has been focused on Global Health Delivery, addressing pressing challenges facing a carefully selected set of partner enterprises delivering health care in resource-limited settings in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere.
The Public Service Center's Service Learning program provides an academic venue for pursuing an interest in international development. Service learning grants are available to students and faculty for class projects that serve communities. Faculty grants have enabled classes in the school of Architecture to travel to Cambodia, Hawaii, and El Salvador to continue course projects. Student grants enable project continuation following the end of the semester. Students can also participate in the Service UROP program, which empowers them to extend their research into fieldwork that yields community benefits.
Research at MIT aims to develop innovative solutions to the world’s most daunting challenges. From addressing the energy needs of tomorrow to improving cancer therapies, MIT’s research efforts are enhanced through creative collaborations with leading research institutes and consortia around the world. Click here for a comprehensive overview of the many research initives at MIT. The list below is illustrative of the most innovative work on campus focusing on International Development.
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a center within the Department of Economics that aims to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence. J-PAL serves as a hub for a network of more than 40 affiliated professors at universities around the world, who are united by their use of randomized evaluations to answer questions critical to poverty alleviation. J-PAL professors and staff work with NGOs, international organizations, and others to evaluate programs aimed at reducing poverty, and identify the most effective ways to achieve policy goals based on this rigorous body of research. These policy lessons are disseminated among policymakers to promote the scale-up of highly effective policies and programs in areas as diverse as boosting girls' attendance at primary schools, improving the output of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, racial bias in employment in the US, and the role of women political leaders in India.
The International Development Design Summit (IDDS) is a month-long, intense design experience that brings together students, faculty, and community partners from all over the world to create technologies and ventures to improve the lives of people in the developing world. IDDS 2011 will take place at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, enabling participants to travel more easily to rural villages where they can collaborate with potential end users throughout the entire design process. IDDS is a joint effort, organized by MIT, Olin College, Cooper Perkins, KNUST and Colorado State University.
The Innovations in International Health (IIH) program aims to accelerate the development of global health technologies that address the needs of patients and physicians in resource-poor settings. Working with a network of researchers, doctors, inventors, and clinicians, IIH enhances the sustainability of its technologies by bridging the gap between the invention, funding, and clinical trial stages of medical products aimed at patients in the developing world. Our members’ presence in more than 15 countries, including 3 H-Lab medical innovation sites, gives our group effective global reach in medical technology transfer, scaling up, and saving lives. In addition, our D-Lab Health academic offering teaches students the current state of global health and how to structure innovative responses to healthcare challenges. Students will employ hands-on medical-technology-learning modules, experience on-site visits in Nicaragua, and participate in real-world design collaboration with international partners.
The Mobility Lab (M-Lab) is an organization that is focused on improving the design and distribution of mobility aids worldwide while training MIT students as global citizens. M-Lab fosters inter national partnerships and cultural exchange by sponsoring student travel to community partner organizations to develop, test, and implement new designs, as well as bring mobility experts from around the world to interact with the MIT community. As an academic entity, M-Lab provides a physical space to develop projects as well as a group through which students can pursue theses/independent research projects, publish papers, and attend conferences.
Safe Water for 1 Billion People is the MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) web portal on water and sanitation projects in developing countries. Over the past eleven years, students, staff, and faculty have been working on issues of water and sanitation in developing countries, primarily through the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Degree program offered in the CEE Department. This website contains information and links to student theses, project reports, photos, WHO Household Treatment Network, and other useful resources focused on the development and improvement of water and sanitation in many countries.
Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement (SIGUS) explores methods for promoting affordable and equitable housing for low-income communities, with focus in developing countries. It champions participatory technique through short workshops and courses, and undertakes research on innovative approaches in support of low-income housing. It concentrates on the new professionalism emerging for designers, architects, and planners demanding a shift in practice and teaching. SIGUS has over 15 years of experience in Action-Learning workshops. It has lead programs in Peru, Ecuador, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, India, Bhutan, Syria, and Ethiopia; hosted by governments, development agencies, or NGOs, with local universities as counterparts. Current focus on incremental housing as a proactive strategy for urban areas, and effective rebuilding in Haiti.
The Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) is a one-year, non-degree program designed for mid-career professionals from newly industrializing countries. Founded in 1967 in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), SPURS has a long-standing commitment to bringing outstanding development planners to MIT to reflect on their professional practice. The program is designed to nurture individuals, often at turning points in their professional careers, to retool and reflect on their policy-making and planning skills. SPURS Fellows return to their countries with a better understanding of the complex relationships between local, regional, and international issues. SPURS has hosted over 550 women and men from more than 90 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern and Central Europe. SPURS enables the MIT community to build professional and personal connections with these advanced professionals from the developing world. In 2010-2011, there are 16 SPURS Fellows, ranging from politicians to planners and engineers.
The Technology and Development Program (TDP) provides developing nations greater access to scientific and technological capabilities through collaborative research and educational programs. TDP’s most recent collaborative program is the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi. The need for regional and global energy sustainability is the driving force behind the establishment of The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. This graduate level university is dedicated to the development of new and viable energy technologies and policies. The Masdar Institute, established with the assistance of TDP, is working with the Government of Abu Dhabi and industry to offer a landmark opportunity for world-class graduate level research and education.
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