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Aligning International Development Funding For Engineering Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Technical Capacity Building for Developing Countries

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.194.1 - 12.194.9



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Paper Authors

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Diane Willkens Development Finance International, Inc.

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Emilio Bunge Development Finance International Inc.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Aligning Available Development Funding for Engineering Education


It may be hard to imagine there is much in common between an engineering department in an American college, a cooperative of female basket weavers in Zambia, a local government-owned utility company, and the World Bank, but there is: the potential to improve directly the lives of the poor in the developing world. And although at first glance it appears that there is too much geographical and cultural distance to forge a meaningful partnership between these players, International Funding Organizations and corporate foundations are making major funding investments to bring world-class engineering training and expertise to the doorsteps of government agencies, universities and training institutes, businesses, and local groups of non- governmental organizations in the developing world.

Spurred in part by global forces and “brain drain” realities, international development agencies are allocating hundreds of millions of dollars annually to support competitiveness efforts in poorer countries, which include cultivating knowledge-based societies through investments in science and technology (S&T), innovation, and productivity enhancements. In fields as diverse as education, infrastructure, and information technology, development funds are flowing to engineering expertise that can work with players in developing countries not only to support concrete projects, but ultimately to build the local capacity of policy-makers, educators, and the private sector, without which the sustainability of any progress is compromised. It is this latter effort – the process of capacity building and the role of the engineering education sector – that is particularly exciting for the American engineering education community.

This paper will outline the confluence of economic drivers and development challenges that today foster international development funds flowing into engineering education. The authors will outline effective strategies that can be adapted by companies and academic institutions to (a) identify initiatives funded by international financial organizations that rely on the expertise of engineering communities and its educators, including from multilateral and bilateral agencies and foundations; (b) forge strategic partnerships with domestic and international stakeholders to ensure successful positioning with the funding institutions and ultimate success in program delivery; and (c) highlight the benefits – financial and non-financial – that accrue to universities and companies who engage in such partnerships.

The Need for Engineering Talent

If science is the building block that investigates, discovers, and demonstrates new knowledge in different fields and disciplines, technological innovation is the process by which new knowledge can be applied to solve real life problems and situations, create new products and services, and produce socio-economic development. Engineers are the “translators” between science and technology to allow for that process to happen.

Willkens, D., & Bunge, E. (2007, June), Aligning International Development Funding For Engineering Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3037

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