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The need for a research university

Monday, July 7, 2014

In last week’s column, the nexus between research universities and industrial clusters/sustainable industrial development was alluded to. Here in T&T, we have been talking (and are we not good at it) about economic diversification for decades and we yet are unable to progress beyond tentative endeavours and rather limited outcomes.


Huge sums of money have been spent on tertiary level education. The result is a river of baccalaureate degree-holders and MBAs flooding an already limited job market. University education is intrinsically good, but if we are to create new companies and jobs, increased emphasis must be placed on research that is relevant and commercially viable. This investment is pivotal and critical to growth and prosperity of the country and by extension, the region.   


Wikipedia informs us that the aggregated revenues of companies founded by alumni of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) would rank as the 11th largest economy in the world. By way of information, according a 2013 listing by the World Bank, T&T is ranked 99th. For those interested, Singapore is ranked 36th.