Research and innovation are the main drivers of economic growth: US academician

Research and innovation are the main drivers of economic growth: US academician

ABU DHABI- Apply innovative and entrepreneurial thinking everywhere is magic recipe an American computer scientist and academician prescribed for those seeking to creating an innovation environment.

John L. Hennessy

John L. Hennessy

”Research and innovation are the main drivers of economic growth and university research is the source of innovation as new technologies provide the building blocks for new industries which create opportunities for start-ups,” Dr. John Hennessy, President of Stanford University, told the cultural majlis of General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in a lecture titled ”Creating an Innovation Ecosystem: Lessons from Stanford and Silicon Valley.” The lecture was attended by Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, Sheikh Dhiyab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and a number of ministers and ambassadors of Arab and foreign countries accredited to the UAE.


In his lecture, the American academician stressed the vital importance of promoting innovation in universities and industry and transferring innovations to products.

He added that choosing the right people, faculty or students, who are most innovative, talent, visionary and explorers is the key to creating the innovation ecosystem, citing Stanford University’s leading role in innovation and new technological breakthroughs and its connections with HP, Yahoo and Google.

Speaking about Yahoo story, Dr. Hennessy said that two electronic engineering students, who are avid web surfers, managed to organise information and developed Yohoo whose use exploded later.

On Google, he explained that Larry Google was working on a digital library search and it was evident that the search engine was clearly better from day 1.

”Transferring innovation is about people and students are critical ingredient, being the transfer agents and growth enablers,” he stressed.

On human capital, he said ”one top person worth a handful of normal persons.” Citing Stanford, he stated that 1/3 of graduate students (50% in engineering) were non-US, noting that Google, Yahoo, Silicon Graphics, Sun, VMW are all had a founder born outside US.

In regards to human development, the lecturer stressed the need for giving people incentives and urging them to change the world and measure their impact and encourage them to take smart risk.

”Technology breakthrough is like a seed it needs key ingredients for growth : tolerance for smart failure, access to risk capital, access to engineering and management talent and access to advice,” he said.

He noted that largest numbers of MS/PhD of engineering degrees are granted in the US and many graduates remain in the Valley.-WAM

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