CHICAGO – Kevin Xu, a Los Angeles-based biotechnology entrepreneur and philanthropist, has made a generous gift to the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy to establish the Kevin Xu Global Initiative on Science, Technology, and Inequality at Harris Public Policy’s International Innovation Corps.
The Kevin Xu Global Initiative will support policy research at the intersection of science, technology, and inequality, collaborating with public and nonprofit partners to train the next generation of global scientific leaders.
While developing countries have attained near-universal school enrollment in the past two decades, students lag behind dramatically in scientific skills necessary to thrive in a technology-driven economy. According to a recent Brookings Institution study, at the current pace it would take 100 years for the scientific skills of an average student in India to catch up to that of an average student in a developed country today.
“The rise of technology-driven inequality around the globe calls for bold, creative policy solutions,” said Kevin Xu. “I am very excited to be supporting a multidisciplinary approach to finding these policy ideas by bringing together scientists and policy researchers.”
The Kevin Xu Initiative will closely partner with the International Innovation Corps at Harris to conduct policy outreach and provide fellowship opportunities for students and graduates of Harris to work on science and technology policy challenges.
In its first phase, the Kevin Xu Initiative will focus on improving the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in developing countries. In addition, the KXI will work with nonprofit partners in India to design and evaluate low-cost ways to intervene to improve STEM learning outcomes in public schools.
“The Kevin Xu Global Initiative seeks to enhance the quality of education in developing countries by improving access to data and fostering technological literacy,” said Katherine Baicker, dean and the Emmett Dedmon Professor at Harris Public Policy. “Kevin Xu’s generous gift will allow Harris and the International Innovation Corps to pair rising leaders in the developing world with the tools they need to drive better policy.”
“Harris Public Policy is one of the world’s leading centers for policy research and the wider University of Chicago community has outstanding faculty and resources in multiple disciplinary areas relevant to the study of global policy challenges,” Xu added. “This makes Harris ideal for the kind of intellectual environment needed to seed bold new policy ideas in science and technology.”
“This partnership complements the International Innovation Corps’ focus on tackling systemic global development challenges by translating the University’s thought leadership and research excellence in the fields of science, technology and inequality into implementation initiatives. We are excited at the prospect of helping drive on-the-ground projects with the Kevin Xu Global Initiative on Science, Technology, and Inequality,” said Anup Malani, faculty director of the International Innovation Corps and the Lee and Brena Freeman Professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
The initiative will be directed by Dr. Abhilash Mishra, a physicist who has worked extensively on STEM education in India. As the founder of Science for All, he was instrumental in launching and evaluating India’s first STEM teacher-residency program.
“The University of Chicago is an incredible place for a physicist like me to build bridges with policymakers and social scientists to tackle emerging science and technology policy challenges,” Mishra said. “I look forward to building research and outreach partnerships between the Kevin Xu Initiative, Harris, and the UChicago centers in Asia.”
Source: UChicago News