What the Politecnico analysis says about the era of global challenges

The university as a driving force for development, the frontiers of innovation, the jobs of the future: these are described by Polimi 2040, an analysis of the next 20 years from the Politecnico

The document "Polimi 2040" has been published on the University website. It contains some structured reflections which aim to outline the role of technical-scientific universities over the next twenty years.

"Research, technology and expertise are key factors in the transformations taking place," commented Rector Ferruccio Resta on LinkedIn on the survey work started in 2018 from an analysis of four important constitutive dimensions of today's university: education, research, entrepreneurial innovation and societal outreach. These four dimensions are mentioned directly in English, because today the future is being played out in a global arena.

Polimi 2040 thus summarises a reflection on the crucial role of the university system in a society that places knowledge at the centre of growth and development processes, identifying some possible strategic directions.

SCENARIO: NEW GEOGRAPHIES OF KNOWLEDGE AND INNOVATION

At the geopolitical level, new balances have emerged, with Asia now accounting for over 50% of the global economy. The emergence of attractive and recessive areas directing migration and economic flows is becoming more pronounced. In this context, universities are a powerful driving force for development and a useful tool for balancing inequalities.

"At the Politecnico we are forging European alliances by playing to our strengths, which are higher education and research"

Rector Resta remarked in an interview with Il Giornale, edited by Marta Bravi, on newsstands on 17 March.

TRAINING, RESEARCH, INNOVATION

The crises at the beginning of this century have had and continue to have a heavy impact on Western economies. As a consequence, we are seeing a slowdown in the social and organisational sciences and an increased focus on technical and scientific disciplines, which is reinforced by the very fast development of new high-tech sectors.

From a technological point of view, the pervasiveness of digital technology, connectivity and the Fourth Industrial Revolution pose major ethical questions and are expected to have significant social impacts. One of the greatest challenges for the university system is to design a conscious and sustainable exploration of the frontiers of knowledge and innovation..

Rector Resta, again in Il Giornale, when asked about the professions of the future, said:

"In a slightly poetic way, to everyone I say “follow your passions” because that way you have more energy, desire and determination, however [...] we know that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects will play a leading role among the new professions, especially for female students".

SOCIAL IMPACT

This complex panorama also includes the acceleration of certain dynamics due to the pandemic crisis and the fight against climate change. In this context, Polimi 2040 stresses , the driving role of universities in the development of social, economic and production systems is key: contributing to the progress of knowledge often requires being at the cutting edge of the various disciplines and having strong links with the players in the economic system, capable of translating pioneering scientific advances into practical solutions.

Read the full document: Polimi 2040, THE NEW ROLE OF TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC UNIVERSITIES IN THE AGE OF GLOBAL CHALLENGES

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