Colloquium at UNESCO: “Universities as Centres of Research and Knowledge Creation: An Endangered Species?”A global colloquium on research and higher education policy will take place at UNESCO from 29 November to 1 December. Entitled “Universities as Centres of Research and Knowledge Creation: An Endangered Species?” it is organized by UNESCO’s Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge.
Researchers, policy-makers, experts and stakeholders from all regions of the world will explore the causes and consequences of a development that increasingly seems to limit universities to the role of knowledge dissemination instead of knowledge creation. Yet research is a key ingredient in the institutional identity of universities and an indispensable prerequisite for a successful programme of teaching and public service.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, will open the Colloquium on 29 November (Room XII, 9 a.m.) with Gun-Britt Andersson, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Sweden to UNESCO, Walter Erdelen, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Thandika Mkandawire, Chair, UNESCO Forum Global Scientific Committee, and Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), and Berit Olsson, Director, Swedish International Development Agency (SAREC).
Sessions will be centered on three main themes: research capacity, research productivity, and the social relevance and utility of research. Three keynote addresses will be presented on the first day: Essential characteristics of research universities (Arthur Bienenstock, Stanford University, United States); Commitment to society: contemporary challenges for public research universities (Imanol Ordorika, UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico); and Relevance and utility issues for research in developing countries (Charas Suwanwela, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand). Numerous presentations will then treat these subjects in greater depth, examining factors that influence the capacity, productivity and utility of research and focusing on specific cases in different parts of the world.
The Colloquium aims to provide an up-to-date assessment of the situation facing universities as well as practical suggestions for decision-makers in higher education and in domains related to sustainable development, with a view to strengthening the role and impact of universities.
On 1 December, a round table entitled “Women and Research: Concrete Results?” will be held in Room IX. It will tackle the issue of women’s involvement in higher education, notably in research. Two perspectives will be taken: that of researchers (motivation, model, obstacles, etc) and of institutions (socio-economic, political and cultural factors affecting careers). Participants in the round table will include notably British neurologist and author Susan Greenfield, Tunisian neurophysiologist Zakia Bouaziz, Indian sociologist Karuna Chanana, Senegalese sociologist Fatou Sow and Venezuelan anthropologist Hebe Vessuri.