Innovation & Impact Summit to consider universities’ input for a successful innovation ecosystem

In partnership with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, THE’s hybrid summit will explore the components of a positive innovation climate that delivers on impact ahead of the release of the Impact Rankings 2022

March 14, 2022
Scenic summer aerial panorama of the Old Town (Gamla Stan) pier architecture in Stockholm, Sweden
Source: iStock

How can universities establish and maintain a national innovation culture? Which stakeholders determine the standards of success for an innovation ecosystem – and can it prioritise diverse and sustainable practices? University leaders, regulators and investors will gather in Stockholm to debate these critical issues at the THE Innovation & Impact Summit on 26-28 April, in partnership with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Phil Baty, THE’s chief knowledge officer, said: “This event has been many years in the planning, so I’m delighted that we can now – finally – all meet in Stockholm for what will be the first in-person THE Innovation and Impact Summit since 2019. I can’t wait to see this inspirational and innovative community back together after our prolonged, forced physical separation, and it is great we’ll be gathering in such an exciting and dynamic city.

“Among a wide range of topics, we’ll be exploring the question of how we assess, properly recognise and incentivise innovation and impact, so a real highlight for me will be the launch of the 2022 edition of the THE Impact Rankings, which use the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals to understand universities’ contribution to making the world a better place. Not only will our delegates get to see the results of the rankings first, they can spend time with THE’s data and consultancy teams dissecting the results in detail and exploring our methodology.”

Lisa Ericsson, founder and head of KTH Innovation, will interview Christian Levin, president and CEO of major Swedish vehicle manufacturing company, Scania, and Diego Pavía, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy, for an opening keynote orientated around how universities and industries can work together to achieve a symbiotic vision of innovation to comply with, or even exceed, national targets for economic growth. How this can be done equitably will be debated in a following panel of university leaders from Hong Kong, Europe and New Zealand.

The summit’s first group discussion will address the type of teaching that is most conducive to entrepreneurship culture. Whether a university’s location, and therefore its ability to facilitate networking opportunities, surpasses the relevance of its curricula for future innovators, will be debated by Lily Chan, chief executive and vice-chancellor of Wawasan Open University; Sharron McPherson, co-founder of The Centre for Disruptive Technologies; LJ Silverman, director of LSE Generate at the London School of Economics; and Jenny Zapf, academic director of the MBA/MSEd in educational entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania.

The day’s final session will discuss how universities can successfully develop the talent of students into real-world application, with insights from Melissa Rowe, vice-president of global research talent at the RAND Corporation, and Sudesh Sivarasu, director of the biomedical engineering research centre at the University of Cape Town. To what extent does cultural bias play a part in the types of skills that students are being primed to covet? Could such preconceived notions be challenged as we shift our focus globally to emerging fields?

Rustam Nabiev – winner of the KTH Innovation prize and founder and director of the Shifo Foundation, which delivers healthcare in areas with limited access to physical and online providers – will be interviewed on the role of universities as conduits for welfare in struggling and neglected communities. Continuing the conversation on the sector’s social responsibility, Duncan Ivison, deputy vice-chancellor for research at the University of Sydney; Raghunathan Rengaswamy, core member of the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras; and Lena Pripp-Kovac, chief sustainability officer at the Inter IKEA Group, will discuss whether the pace of innovation is being adequately regulated to respond to universal challenges while simultaneously enabling competitive opportunities for individuals in the global marketplace.

The degree to which universities are considered ethically sound pathways to knowledge will be the topic of a panel discussion including Donnie Lygonis, innovation strategist and business development coach at KTH, along with Dan Breznitz, Munk chair of innovation studies and co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto; Anders Karlsson, vice-president of global strategic networks (Asia-Pacific) at Elsevier; So-Young Kim, director of the Korea Policy Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and Marianne Thellersen, senior vice-president of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Technical University of Denmark. The day’s sessions will conclude by exploring governance on this issue from a city leadership perspective via an interview with Jeanne Holm, deputy mayor for budget and innovation of the City of Los Angeles. That evening’s exclusive gala dinner, co-hosted with Anna König Jerlmyr, mayor of Stockholm, will feature the release of the THE Impact Rankings 2022.

Assessing the impact of universities will carry through into the final day of the summit, comprising a masterclass with THE’s chief data officer, Duncan Ross, along with M’hamed el Aisati, vice-president of product management, funding and content analysis at Elsevier, THE’s rankings partner, and Laura Tucker, founder and CEO of Vertigo Ventures. Mr Ross will lead a subsequent panel on embedding the SDGs into institutional strategies to positively influence investments and partnerships, where he will be joined by Angela Owusu-Ansah, provost and professor of Asheshi University; Lydia Snover, senior adviser for institutional research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Natcha Thawesaengskuthai, vice-president of strategic planning, innovation and global engagement at Chulalongkorn University.

Jayati Ghosh, world-leading development economist and professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will examine the possibility of making a global innovation system a reality while geographic knowledge clusters remain prevalent. The summit’s final session, chaired by Mr Baty, will investigate how universities with restricted resources are contributing to, and perhaps defining, innovation culture, as well as how diversity impacts the talent pool of institutions, joined by Deana Anglin, senior staff user experience research and strategy lead at Google; Lisa Coleman, senior vice-president of global inclusion and strategic innovation at New York University; and Qikun Xue, president of Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), the emerging Asian research powerhouse based in Shenzhen that was founded only 11 years ago.

Stefan Östlund, vice-president of global relations at KTH, added: “In relation to the Sustainable Development Goals, the role of universities is more relevant than ever. The summit brings us together for the first time in more than two years, and I am sure that we are all excited to exchange experiences and look forward!”

Click here to register for the Times Higher Education Innovation & Impact Summit 2022

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