Last month, at the invitation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Carnegie Mellon University, Professors Raj Rajkumar, Jay F. Whitacre, and Emil Bolongaita spoke at ADB’s Innovation Speakers Series on opportunities and applications of technology and policy innovations to international development challenges.
Organised by the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department of ADB, the seminar was attended by ADB management and staff and livestreamed to country offices of ADB throughout the Asia Pacific region.
Raj Rajkumar, Director of Metro21: Smart Cities Institute and George Westinghouse Professor of Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering, gave a thought-provoking presentation on the opportunities, benefits and challenges of building smart cities in Asia.
As one of world’s foremost experts on autonomous vehicles and embedded systems, Prof Rajkumar spoke about CMU’s world-leading work on smart cities and their various verticals that require horizontal integration. Jay F. Whitacre, Trustee Professor in Energy, Materials Science and Engineering, Engineering and Public Policy, and Director, CMU Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, outlined the critical need for addressing energy and resource allocation as part of the economic and social development in Asia.
Prof Whitacre invented the first mass-produced, low-cost, eco-friendly battery, for which he was awarded the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Prize. His presentation focused on the need to invest in research and development to solve real-world problems.
Emil Bolongaita, Head of Carnegie Mellon University Australia and Distinguished Service professor of Public policy and Management, spoke about the importance innovations not just in technology, but also in policy. He said research shows that “the adoption and application of innovations in technology by Asian countries will not be deep and durable if they are not accompanied by, and anchored on, innovations in policy and people.”
the adoption and application of innovations in technology by Asian countries will not be deep and durable if they are not accompanied by, and anchored on, innovations in policy and people.
The ADB is composed of 67 members, 48 of which are from the Asia and Pacific region. The Bank’s objective is to work in partnership with member governments, independent specialists and other financial institutions to deliver projects that create economic and development impact.
In 2017, ADB’s total operations of $32.2 billion consisted of $20.1 billion in loans, grants, and investments from its own resources (up 51% from 2016) including non-sovereign operations of $2.3 billion (a 31% increase from 2016); $11.9 billion in co-financing from bilateral and multilateral agencies and other financing partners; and $201 million in technical assistance (a 11% increase from 2016).