Author Archives

As emerging economies spend big on science, technology, and infrastructure, we can expect them to rise quickly up the value chain. Smart Societies captures the rise by exploring economic changes driven by science, technology, education, and innovation.

  • Malaysia’s ambitious plan for education

    The 11th Malaysia Plan with the theme “Anchoring Growth on People” is the last leg of its journey towards being a high-income nation in 2020. The plan definitely reaffirms the commitment to achieve inclusiveness and sustainable growth which is the necessary hallmarks of an advanced nation.

  • India’s challenge is science, not pseudo-science

    The country needs to strengthen its weak patents regime and improve what remains a hostile environment for foreign businesses

  • 2014: The year in Middle East science

    Despite it being a year of unrest in the region, investment in science in the Middle East has paid off in 2014. The Middle East and North Africa are accustomed to conflict, but even by usual standards, 2014 was a turbulent year across most of the region. While unrest made most of the headlines, there were many positive science stories that received little fanfare.

  • Japanese universities reach for global status

    Look at any global ranking of universities worldwide and Japan’s ‘big-name’ universities will feature in the top 100. University of Tokyo, for example, ranks well within the top 50 universities in the world for science and technology and sits at number nine among universities in Asia for overall performance in the QS rankings.

  • 2014 in review

    The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it… Read More ›

  • Tackling Indonesia’s innovation challenge

    Since Jokowi’s inauguration, some interesting articles have appeared covering policy challenges such as research and development, health and education. Nick Redfern and Richard Litman discusses Indonesia’s innovation opportunity. They say that Jokowi can make a lasting impact on the country if he challenges the people of Indonesia to become leaders in technology innovation. This will require developing a National Innovation & IP Strategy, focusing on capacity building and investing in research and development.

  • Is Indonesia’s soaring education budget delivering?

    Indonesia’s political leadership understands the importance of quality education. Legislation requires central and regional governments allocate at least a fifth of their annual budget to the education sector. This year the government allocated Rp 368.9 trillion and plans to spend another Rp 404 trillion in 2015. Hasyim Widhiarto asks if the significant investment has helped improve the country’s performance.

  • What Asia can learn from German innovation

    There are three stages in the innovation cycle: invention, commercialisation and diffusion. Germany, writes Shiwen Yap in theindependent.sg, excels in diffusion and countries in Asia could learn from Germany’s approach to refining old concepts with fresh ideas and spreading them across the business sector.

  • Monash Latin America strategy recognised at business awards

    Monash University has been recognised at the 2014 Australian Latin American Business Council business excellence awards in Brisbane this week. The Council singled out Monash for the depth and breadth of its extensive connections in the Latin America. The council also recognised Monash for the clear and innovative approaches it is taking in cultivating long-term and strategic relations in the region.

  • China as a leading global innovator?

    Assembled in China but designed in California, Japan, or Europe. That’s been the story of China’s economic rise for the past 30 years. Few if any of China’s companies are considered innovative by global standards – and Nobel prizes for science remain frustratingly elusive. But China wants to be more than the factory of the world and its government knows it has to move on from a “beg, borrow or steal” strategy on innovation if it is to keep growing its economy. Will it be able to do this?

  • Asia’s invention boom

    For more than a century, the United States has been the dominant global force for innovation. But China and other Asian countries are now testing that dominance, and the West should welcome the challenge, argues Edward Jung, former chief architect at Microsoft.

  • Defence, science and technology to lead in US-India relations

    The Indian Economic Times reports the spectacular success of the incredibly frugal Mars Orbiter Mission that put India straight into an elite club and opened up an array of business opportunities has created the right atmospherics for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US during which he would engage with the civil society, policy makers and the business community. And in almost all of these, one subject that would be the talking point would be technology.

  • One BRIC to rule them all?

    Which of the BRICs will wield the most influence in twenty-five years? Easy. China and India are rising powers. Both economies are recording higher growth rates. China’s sheer size makes it easier to mount a challenge on the U.S. Even international political economic theory points to either one or both. But stretch the boundaries of theory the answer may be different, argues Rudra Sil from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • US – India higher education relations

    Even before he came to office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called India and the U.S. “natural allies”. In September, Prime Minister Modi and President Obama will meet in Washington. The Brookings Institute recently released a briefing paper “The Modi-Obama Summit – A leadership moment for India and the United States” in preparation of the visit. The paper covers a range of issues from internet governance, nuclear cooperation to counter-terrorism and Asia broadly. A section of particular interest is the US-India higher education relations. In a short chapter, Shamika Ravi, a Fellow with Brookings India in New Delhi offers some suggestions on how US and India could strengthen their bilateral relationship in higher education.

  • Thai Science, Technology and Innovation

    Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Yuthavong considers the country has the potential to become a leader in the South East Asia’s science, technology and innovation. Science and technology is a key to helping Thailand escape from the middle-income trap by 2030. The Deputy Prime Minister argues what is needed is increased investment in education and a change in mindset not only in Thailand, but the Asean region.