Opportunities in Engineering and Technology for Chinese
Opportunities in Engineering and Technology for Chinese
1st GRA-WORLD BANK WORKSHOP ON
INNOVATION SYSTEMS AT THE
“INNOVATION: TOUCHING THE HEARTS OF THE
6 – 8 FEBRUARY 2006, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
“Science, Technology and Innovation and the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”
By Academician Dato’ Ir. Lee Yee-Cheong, Co-Chair UN Millennium
Project “Science, Technology and Innovation” Task Force/Senior Fellow,
Academy of Sciences Malaysia / Immediate Past President, World
Federation of Engineering Organisations
United Nations Millennium General
Assembly 2000 adopted UN Millennium
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of
the Declaration are specific targets by 2015.
The Millennium Project (MP) 2002-2006
under Professor Jeffrey Sachs reviews
current practices, identifies policy
implementation, and evaluates financing
The MP’s Objective is to Ensure All
Developing Countries Achieve the MDGs.
Goal 1: Eradicate poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and
Goal 7: Ensure environmental
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for
MP Task Forces
Poverty and Economic Growth (Goal 1& 8)
Hunger (Goal 1)
Education and Gender Equality (Goals 2 & 3)
Child Health and Maternal Health (Goals 4 &
Expanding Access to Essential Medicines
(Goal 6 & 8)
MP Task Forces
Environmental Sustainability (Goal 7)
7 Water and Sanitation (Goal 7)
8 Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers (Goal 7)
9 Trade and Finance (Goal 8)
10 Science, Technology and Innovation (Goal 8)
The World Today
World Population >6.0 billion.
(i) Rich (0.8 billion),
(ii) Transitional(1.2 billion)
(iii) Poor (4.0 billion)
Criterion: GDP in US$ per capita (PPP)
(iii) < 4,000, respectively.
The Rich have Nine times Wealth, Eight times
Energy Consumption and Eight times Carbon
Emission of the Poor.
20% Richest : 86% of World Consumption
20% Poorest : only 1.3%.
1.3 billion live in Abject Poverty, on Daily Income
3 billion have Daily Income of <US$ 2.00;
800 million Suffer from Food Insecurity;
50 million are HIV positive;
1 billion Suffer from Water Scarcity;
2 billion have No Access to Energy.
The World Tomorrow
World Population: 9-10 billion by 2050.
Increase: Urban & in Developing
Most pressing issues in developing world
are poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and
civil strife, aggravated by the lack of access to
education, employment, energy, food, healthcare,
sanitation, shelter and water.
Science, Engineering and Technology (S.E.T) are
crucial to their solution.
The UN MP “Science, Technology and
Innovation” Task Force addresses MDG No.8
“Building Global Alliances for Development”
and Target 18 “In cooperation with the private
sector, make available the benefits of new
technologies, especially information and
Besides ICT, STI Task Force Examines
Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Materials
Science and Spatial Information Technology
UN MP STI Task Force Focus
Improving the STI policy
environment, including S.E.T
advice mechanism by S.E.T
Building STI institutional and
human capacities, including
strengthening STI educational
institutions in development.
Investing in STI research and
Promoting STI entrepreneurial
and innovation activities
Conducting technology foresight
for developing countries
Forging regional and
international STI partnerships
For Least Developed Countries to lift
themselves out of poverty and achieve
MDGs, they need:
1) Basic Infrastructure i.e. roads, schools,
water, sanitation, irrigation, clinics,
telecommunications, energy etc.
2) Indigenous SMEs with Pool of Local
Operations and Maintenance Technicians.
Without Basic Infrastructure and Local
S.E.T Base, Indigenous Industries cannot
upscale and Economy cannot uplift, FDI
will not come
Basis of Finding: Asia Pacific and South
Where macroeconomic stability, selfreliance, hard work, thrift and investment
in education have transformed the
economic landscape in the short span of
In MP advocacy, I have thus vigorously
promoted South-South cooperation,
urging high income developing countries
in Asia Pacific and S.E.Asia to be donors
in kind for MDG initiatives in Africa.
The UN MP Main and Task Force Reports form the
Developmental Basis of UN Secretary General’s
Report “In Larger Freedom: towards Development,
Security and Human Rights for All”, March 2005 to
UN Member States for the UN Summit General
Assembly September 2005
Heads of Governments have largely Endorsed in
Outcome Statement of the UN Summit General
Assembly the UN Secretary General’s Development
Agenda to Achieve the MDGs by 2015.
All Reports available for download from
QUOTE From “In Larger Freedom”
The unprecedented combination of
resources and technology at our
disposal today means that we are truly
the first generation with the tools, the
knowledge and the resources to meet
the commitment in the Millennium
“To making the right to development a
reality for everyone and to freeing the
entire human race from want”.
Success will require sustained action
because development successes cannot
take place overnight and many
countries suffer significant capacity
It takes time to train the teachers,
nurses and engineers, to build the
roads, schools and hospitals, and to
grow the small and large businesses
able to create the jobs and income
Sustainable economic growth will
require significantly increased
investments in human capital and
such as energy, transport and
Governments should establish
scientific advisory bodies, promote
infrastructure, expand science and
engineering faculties, and stress
development and business applications
in science and technology curricula.
A significantly increased global effort
required to support Research and
Development to address the special
needs of the poor
Two particular Priorities: to mount a
major Global Initiative on Research in
Tropical Diseases and Tropical
I intend to appoint a Science Advisor
to the UN Secretary-General
The Global S. E.T. Community Must Respond
Proactively to Kofi Annan’s Confidence in and
Reliance on S.E.T. to Achieve MDGs by 2015 ,
only 10 Short Years Away
We must stop Talking and Start delivering as
pledged by the IAP, IAC, WFEO, CAETS,
TWAS, ICSU, IMAP Joint Statement to the UN
Summit General Assembly September 2005:
“We, representing the world’s scientific
community, ……commit ourselves to working
with appropriate partners towards these urgent
UN Summit General Assembly September 2005
We recognize that science and technology,
including information and communication
technology, are vital for the achievement of the
development goals and that international support
can help developing countries to benefit from
technological advancements and enhance their
We therefore commit ourselves to:
Strengthening and enhancing existing
mechanisms and initiatives to support R&D
including through voluntary partnerships
between the public and private sectors
to address the special needs of developing
Promoting and facilitating, as appropriate, access
to and the development, transfer and diffusion
of technologies, including environmentally
sound technologies and corresponding know-how,
to developing countries;
Assisting developing countries in their efforts
to promote and develop national strategies for
human resources and science and technology,
which are primary drivers of national capacity
building for development.
Innovation: the Heart to the MDGs
I do not consider the theme of the workshop
appropriate for the two-thirds of humankind that
suffer from poverty, hunger, diseases, illiteracy that
the MDGs are addressing. Without physical, social
and environmental wellbeing, innovation will not
touch their hearts!
The nurturing of an indigenous culture of
innovation is essential for MDGs.
However in the global knowledge economy with
increasing interconnectivity through ICT and the
Internet, what is global is local and what is local is
Entrepreneurs and innovators will not care about
divisions of local and foreign innovations and will
fuel their creative enterprises from whatever
sources which are relevant and beneficial.
This said, it is very important that as STI
professionals, we must advocate strongly the
documentation of the history of indigenous science,
engineering and technology in ,say, National
Information Centres on Indigenous Science,
Technology and Innovation
I cite the initiative that I have been working on with
UNESCO for the past years, namely International
Conference on “The History of Islamic Science,
Engineering and Technology as Heritage of
My rationale is as follows:
“There is a general aversion to science, engineering and
technology (S.E.T) amongst Islamic youth in
developing countries. S.E.T. is perceived by them as
Western and Islamic youth in developing world in
general are rather anti anything Western.
Yet, the developing world had a glorious history
and heritage in S.E.T, be it China, India, Egyptian
or the Incas etc.
Indeed, it was Islamic S.E.T. with its algebra, astronomy,
architecture and medicine etc that sparked the European
Renaissance. We need to acquaint our Islamic youth of
this glorious S.E.T heritage to revitalize their interest in
S.E.T as important tools for poverty reduction and
The deliverable outcome from the Conference March 2006
•To incorporate the rich Islamic S.E.T heritage and the present day
role models into the textbooks and curricula in the world so that the
impression is not sustained that S.E.T giants are all Western.
•The Islamic S.E.T Heritage Conference should be followed by
subsequent conferences on Chinese, Indian, African and Latin
American S.E.T. heritage during the UNESCO’s Decade of
Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)
•To encourage developing countries to nominate their significant
S.E.T installations for UNESCO heritage listing.
•Incorporation of historic Islamic S.E.T experiments in the IAP
hands-on primary science education programme.
•Travelling exhibition to Islamic countries.
In STI institutional capacity building, the STI Task Force
ongoing initiatives of Professor Juma and me are focused
on the reorientation to universities to development
through innovation and entrepreneurship.
Universities must now act as the fount of knowledge that
is appropriate for development and competitiveness in
the global knowledge economy.
Policy makers need to realize that knowledge per
say does not create wealth. It is the application and
commercialization of knowledge, scientific or otherwise,
into useful devices, installations, services and systems
that create wealth with the final proviso that these find
acceptance in the marketplace.
It is turning out innovative and entrepreneurial graduates that
should be the mission of the universities in developing countries.
First and foremost, university academics must be good
communicators. They must be ICT communications savvy
They should not be recruited on PhD degree, research experience
and publications only. They should have working experience in
industry and in the marketplace if they are to understand the needs
of the economy and the community.
Otherwise academics will continue to pursue their 3P career, namely
Papers, Promotion and Professorship with scant regard for the
relevance of their teaching and research to the students, the economy
or the community.
I would strongly advocate that successful candidates as academics in
developing countries should have demonstrated involvement in
Universities must be graduating job creators
rather the job seekers.
Universities should re-orientate themselves to serve
the development needs of their region and their
They must establish undergraduate incubators that
assist students to venture into knowledge based
enterprises suited to the needs of the economy.
In current circumstances, such undergraduate
enterprises are easy to set up.
With available and affordable computer hardware and
software, up-to-date knowledge accessibility through the
Internet, robotics and modern instrumentation, some even
remotely located and controlled, device and system design,
research and development can be carried out either within
the campus, across local campuses or in partnership with
Such undergraduate enterprises will attract industry
participation as they are the most fertile recruiting ground
for the best and brightest. If such undergraduate
enterprises succeed beyond graduation, they will create
jobs and add to the successful knowledge enterprises in the
Even if they fail, the graduates would have been well
schooled in the hard knocks of business life and well
adapted to the needs of industry.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology was set up in the Nineteen
Thirties primarily to promote the industrial and economic
development of the region of Cambridge Massachusetts.
The Sinchu Technology Park, Taipei, China with world leading
position in wafer fabrication and other computer manufacture is
supported by two universities in its environ.
Case studies of 3 universities in developing countries that fulfil the
development needs of the nation through science, technology
and innovation, namely the Kigali Institute of Science, Technology
and Management (KIST), Rwanda; the University of Campinas
(UNICAMP), Sao Paulo, Brazil; and EARTH University, Costa Rica.
The Rwanda and Costa Rica examples are featured in the
publication “Going for Growth: Science, Technology and Innovation
in Africa” launched in the office of the UK Chancellor of the
Exchequer on 30 November 2005.
Innovation is born of the inquisitive and creative
There are mounting scientific evidence that the
human child is born inquisitive. The most inquiring,
acquiring and creative age is between 3 and 10.
The Nurturing of the Innovative Mind must start
from Primary through Secondary Education.
IAP has made the promotion of hands-on inquiry
based primary school science education top
STI Research Institutions
The UN MP Main Report “Investing in Development: A
Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development
Goals” Major Recommendation:
“We estimate total STI R&D needs to rise to $7
billion a year by 2015.”
Any Suggestions or Proposals for Professor Jeffrey Sachs?
Why not GRA and the World Association of Industrial and
Technological Research Organisations (WAITRO) work
towards an alliance for the MDGs with some immediate
deliverables from this workshop?
With global support for the MDGs, poverty reduction
through economic development will be achieved,
especially if the S.E.T. communities in developing
countries work to make innovation the pathway to
achieve the MDGs
If we can help uplift the living standards of the 4
billion Poor and the future 3-4 billion additional Poor,
What a huge Market for the world!
Look at Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan in the past twenty or
thirty years, China in the past ten years and India,
Brazil and Mexico now.
In Everyone’s Enlightened Self Interest to Work for