2010 Tech4Dev International Conference


Technological Innovation for the Developing World: How it can help?

The Cooperation & Development Center (CODEV), under the direction of Prof. Jean-Claude Bolay, organised its first major international event after being recognised as a UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development in 2007.

Prof. Martin Vetterli, Vice President for Institutional Affairs, opened the event with a welcome address to an audience of 185 people from 36 nations.

The conference covered themes of urban sustainability, ICTs for the environment, disaster risk reduction and sustainable energy production and how innovative yet appropriate technologies can benefit emerging and developing countries.

A Scientific Committee composed of experts from EPFL and external institutions evaluated over 100 papers and ultimately selected 60 for presentation at the conference. Thirty posters were also exhibited. Thanks to financial aid from the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE), the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and UNESCO, 25 people from developing countries were able to travel to EPFL to attend the event and present their papers.

The three key speakers and the titles of their presentations were:

  • Prof. Mohamed H.A. Hassan, from the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, ”Promoting Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable well-being in Africa”.
  • Prof. Melissa Leach, Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, “Sustainability, Development and Social Justice: towards new politics of innovation”.
  • Dr. Osman Benchikh, Head of the Alternative and Renewable Energy Programme at UNESCO, “Renewable Energies for Sustainable Development and Capacity Building”.

Special guests at the conference included Sálvano Briceño from the United Nations and Director of the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Dr. Georges Haddad, Director of the Division of Higher Education at UNESCO and Dr. Ana Maria Cetto, Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

3 Special Sessions – Goals

UNESCO organised a special session to provide knowledge sharing and reflection on how to promote technology and development in research and academic institutions through networks and partnerships.  EPFL’s Ingénieurs du Monde explored the key roles that NGOs can play in promoting science and technology for development. CODEV’s session concerned North-South scientific partnerships and included presentations of five research projects carried out in the framework of the EPFL-SDC Scientific Cooperation Fund.

Outputs

The conference was highly successful in promoting research in technologies and innovation for developing countries. It created a platform for lively discussions and scientific exchange and increased awareness of state-of-the-art technologies and their potential for the South.  North/South research partnerships were promoted and the event encouraged diverse stakeholders and actors to engage in cooperation projects.