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NEW COURSE - Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Conservation

Published: 6 years ago | 0 comments

By 2050, the global population will reach 9.6 billion people. To feed an increasingly affluent global population, we will need 70% more food production and doubling of inputs, available water, and arable land, which will increasingly come at the expense of natural systems. This is made more complicated as the planet itself is undergoing vast biological and physical changes due to climate change and environmental degradation. These changes have profound consequences for food security, water availability, and global health.

Yet, despite billions of dollars spent on conservation and development efforts, our solutions continue to be incremental while the challenges increase exponentially. Some of the world’s most critical species are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss, invasive species, exploitation and wildlife trafficking, and global climate change. Conservation research or practice in its current form is not nearly fast or effective enough. Similarly, development efforts require us to rethink the entire model of how we provide meat, dairy, refrigeration, and air conditioning to the new middle classes emerging out of the bottom billions. We also need to confront an exponentially growing gap between those connected to knowledge and resources, and those who are not.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Conservation & Development will focus on understanding the current problem sets in conservation and development, rethinking assumptions about how to address them, and looking at real case examples of how entrepreneurs and innovators have taken novel approaches to address them. Students will learn ways to harness the unprecedented acceleration and democratization of science, technology, and connectivity, and innovative financial approaches, to address global challenges. The course is team-oriented. After studying cases, student teams will propose their own startups to address global challenges, which will be presented before a panel of VCs and foundation officers.

Alex Dehgan, the former Chief Scientist of the US Agency for International Development, and helped create the first national park in Afghanistan, will teach the course based on his expertise and work as the first Chief Scientist in two decades at USAID. Admission is by consent only, after providing the instructor with justification for participation. This will be a one-time only course at the University. The course will be open to professional students across the university, as well as Trinity seniors and juniors.

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