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About

the mission

The Sixth McDonnell Academy International Symposium will focus on the global challenges of:

  • Aging,
  • Food, Water & Climate Change,
  • Energy & Environment,
  • Public Health.

Addressing Global Challenges

Research universities bring unique strengths to addressing global challenges. In addition to being engines of research and innovation, they are charged with educating future leaders, and the synergies of this dual mission have been important since the outset. As noted in 1810 by the father of the modern research university Wilhelm von Humboldt, “The course of science is evidently quicker and more lively at a university, where it is continuously mulled over in a large number of strong, robust, and youthful minds.”

10.19.2014 - Scenes from McDonnell International Scholars Academy 5th International Symposium, the Role of Research Universities in Addressing Global Challenges held October 16-19. Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photos

McDonnell International Scholars Academy 5th International Symposium

But along with their spectacular development, research universities have been afflicted by the weaknesses of disciplinary specialization and isolation. This has impeded efforts to combine teaching and knowledge creation under the same roof, and it also often stands in the way of the coordinated interdisciplinary efforts needed to address pressing global challenges.

The Symposium will feature discussions about ongoing research and how institutions of higher learning can foster the collaborative efforts required to address complex global challenges. Each global challenge will be considered in its own right, but it will also be examined in tandem with others (e.g., How does providing affordable clean energy affect the supply of food and water for the world’s growing, as well as aging population?).

“The course of science is evidently quicker and more lively at a university, where it is continuously mulled over in a large number of strong, robust, and youthful minds.”

Wilhelm von Humboldt, 1810

The future of research universities will depend on how successful they are in taking on these challenges in terms of research, innovation, and teaching. This will require collaboration not only within institutions, but among premier research universities from around the globe. By bringing together its partner institutions the McDonnell Academy hopes to contribute to this ambitious mission.

To learn more about the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, please visit mcdonnell@wustl.edu.

To download the 2016 McDonnell International Symposium Flier, please click here.