The purpose of this global report is to tie together the work conducted over the past several years, in particular the common themes arising from the three roundtables, and to highlight the key points and recommendations for policy-makers. The report also summarizes the follow-on initiatives from the three roundtables, identifying links between the three and opportunities to connect them on a global basis. Finally, the report outlines some potential directions for the initiative – independent, but potentially linked under the umbrella and neutral platform of the Forum.
Universities, Think Tanks, Research Organizations
Never has harnessing the best expertise and academic rigour been more necessary for effective policymaking. Accordingly, the World Economic Forum taps into the knowledge and expertise of the world’s leading experts from universities, think tanks and other research-based organizations.The strategic involvement of the best experts strengthens the value proposition for the Forum’s multistakeholder community. Experts actively contribute to events, Global Agenda Councils, global risk and competitiveness assessments, as well as other strategic projects and initiatives of the Forum. In addition, the Forum acknowledges the significant role of research and higher education as drivers of innovation, talent, entrepreneurship and, ultimately, economic development, by supporting university leaders to discuss and address current and future challenges to education.
The Forum’s collaboration with universities, think tanks and research organizations includes four levels of engagement:
The best experts
We are constantly in search of the world’s best experts on a variety of topics. Selected experts are invited to:
- Present and participate in events – special formats such as the IdeasLab, BetaZone, one-on-one sessions provide opportunities to present topics in a highly interactive setting to world leaders, thinkers and influencers
- Become valuable members of experts’ groups, such as the Global Agenda Councils
- Advise and steer projects where they have a unique expertise.
At the core of the value proposition for experts is the exposure to people, topics and platforms of the World Economic Forum, which offer them a unique source of feedback and opportunities.
The best universities
The Forum collaborates with some of the world’s top universities, think tanks and research organizations through a network of senior academic representatives (vice-presidents, provost and senior faculty) identified in consultation with the academic institution. We facilitate engagement among this community of respected thought leaders for an enriching peer-to-peer exchange throughout the year on critical research, higher education issues, as well as on the public policy agenda. They also contribute suggestions for the agenda of world leaders to address at other Forum events. The group now includes more than 140 participants and represents an exceptional source of feedback and ideas on experts and activities of the Forum. They also act individually to ensure a regular channel of information on opportunities of collaboration between their institutions and the World Economic Forum.
The premier community of university leaders
The Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) is a small community of the chief executive officers of the best universities in the world, aiming at fostering collaboration in areas of significance for global policy and helping shape the agenda of the World Economic Forum. GULF members are selected based on the ranking of the university, the charisma of the leader, basic geographical diversity, and the relevance of the university to the Forum agenda. Members are personally engaged in events, experts’ groups and other activities throughout the year. Projects the GULF community has helped to advance include the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), the Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World (SASTA); the Réseau d’excellence des sciences de l’ingénieur de la Francophonie..
The future of higher education and research
The Global Agenda Council on the Future ofUniversities, comprising 20 university leaders and contributors from other sectors, is tracking the evolution of the landscape of higher education and research, currently under pressures such as technological progress, costs, a fiscally challenging conjuncture, demand for more employable people for the workplace, demand for access, new opportunities of collaboration. For example, the Council is interested in understanding the blend of the higher education experience of the future; proposing new models in multistakeholder collaborations in higher education and research, including how to ensure a balance in funding between a top-down, large-scale and investigator-initiated bottom-up awards; and understanding how academic institutions will strike a balance between their intellectual traditions and the new educational models that are emerging.
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