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Last updated: 11th September 2019
Press Release

Bangabandhu–Cambridge Programme, newest addition to innovation initiatives of Bangladesh Government: Foreign Minister Dr Momen


“The challenges of Industry 4.0 can and will be overcome with knowledge - both in skill development and innovation - to cope with the changing technology frontier”, said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, while he was distributing Certificates of Participation among the participants of “Bangabandhu Cambridge Policy Simulation Lab” on “Policies for Improving Resilience for Industry 4.0 in Bangladesh”, held at the State Guest House Padma. Bangabandhu–Cambridge Programme is the newest addition to the growing portfolio of innovation initiatives of the Bangladesh Government, the Foreign Minister added. He further hoped that this programme with the University of Cambridge could evolve as a global mission to the "knowledge domain" by applying a combination of social-eco-systems and engineering design methods and tools developed by Cambridge’s Resilience and Sustainable Development Programme (RSDP), in the post-LDC Bangladesh context.


Earlier on 1st September, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam inaugurated the Bangabandhu Cambridge Policy Simulation Laboratory and commented “This Bangladesh-Cambridge programme comes at a significant and historic moment as we celebrate the Bangabandhu centenary and as we prepare our nation to be ready for its exciting future. We will need these new ideas and new ways of doing things as our economy progresses toward a knowledge economy”.


The Bangabandhu – Cambridge Programme is a collaborative policy simulation and innovation initiative of the Bangladesh Government and of Resilience and Sustainable Development Programme (RSDP).  The RSDP team at the Centre of Industrial Sustainability(CIS) in the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), Department of Engineering University of Cambridge applies engineering methods and tools of innovation, design and systems thinking to the political economy of sustainable development. Based on a true multi-disciplinary partnership, Dr Nazia Habib, a political economist, joined engineer Prof Steve Evans to develop PolicySimulation Lab (PSL), an approach to ensure emerging countries policy-making uses a wider understanding of systems thinking, sustainable principles and equitable growth objectives. In its first year RSDP has already proved that it is possible to reduce systems-level policy failures, reducing implementation costs and improving redistributive effects on society in three countries. Bangladesh is one of the countries, where significant research collaboration is in place. 


Based on the success of the research project, the Bangladesh Government is now keen to expand on that ongoing relationship. The relationship will look outward and seek to be a focus for global Bangladesh, using Cambridge’s foundation of world-class research, activities, knowledge creation, and networking to convene conversations and actions that improve the flow of value between Bangladesh and the world.


The initiative is made possible by the tireless efforts and commitment of Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was matched by the vision and leadership of Dr Nazia Habib, Founding Director of RSDP, a fellow Bangladeshi, supported by the enthusiasm of Professor Steve Evans, Director of Research at CIS, University of Cambridge.  


Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam visited the University of Cambridge on 11 July 2019 and held discussions with concerned officials on the scope and possibilities of the emerging knowledge partnership between Bangladesh and the University. He commented that “this is a signature initiative under a new focus area of ‘knowledge and innovation partnership’ of the Government to pursue the goals and objectives of the overarching Vision 2041, a set of development targets to fulfil the dream of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.” Earlier Principal Coordinator (SDGs Affairs) at the Prime Minister’s Office Abul Kalam Azad, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, Executive Chairman of National Skill Development Authority (NSDA), Managing Director of Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation visited the University of Cambridge and exchanged views on scope and opportunities, including exploring options to establish a broad-based partnership between Bangladesh and the University of Cambridge.


Professor Tim Minshall, Dr John C Taylor Professor of Innovation & Head of the Institute for Manufacturing commented: “We are looking forward to working on this initiative with the Bangladesh government, combining innovation from engineering and from the social sciences to work towards solving complex development problems in the region.”


For the meeting, Dr Nazia Habib gathered her cross-disciplinary RSDP team made up of academics, administrators, investors, entrepreneurs and political leaders. “These are people who truly understand the role of systems thinking in creating a resilient and sustainable future for my country which is one of rising powers of Asia. I could not ask for a better group to join my programme for my country. I am grateful for the commitment and dedication they have brought to this task”, said Nazia. 


Prof Evans added “We are extremely grateful to the Government of Bangladesh for recognizing the importance of systems thinking for tackling the great challenges of our time. By taking world leading tools from both engineering and the social sciences, the ‘Bangabandhu-Cambridge Policy SimulationProgramme’will become a vital building block in our joint efforts to encourage academia, industry and government to explore and nurture ideas that lead to new knowledge, new products, new services and perhaps even new industries for Bangladesh.” 


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