On October 28, 2021, Franklin President Gregory Warden, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Kim Hildebrant, and Co-Director of the Taylor Institute Carlo Giardinetti traveled to Geneva to become a partner of the Institute for Industrial Policy Studies (IPS), which is involved in the production of the National Competitiveness Report, an annual publication providing a systematic set of national data on business management and the economy that are required both in academia and the private sector.

The Franklin party visited the World Meteorological Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations whose mandate covers weather, water and climate resources, and met with two strategic partners of Franklin University Switzerland, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and the Seoul Business School at aSSIST University (aSSIST) in South Korea.

A particularity of the IPS country ranking is that it divides the strategic options into two nationwide strategies: low cost and differentiation. Switzerland for instance is ranked number 12 when adopting a ”low-cost” strategy, but it rises to 4th position when applying a ”differentiation” strategy. Such a dramatic change can be explained by the fact that Switzerland is an advanced economy that does produce high-quality products but also has the means to further improve its national competitiveness. Franklin University Switzerland Vice President for Strategic Development and International Outreach Christoph von Arb emphasized in his online presentation the effective strategy of enhancing this key metric through university research, stating that “Swiss universities are known for their excellence in fundamental research, including public-private partnership projects, where strategy matters.”

After the Conference at UNITAR in Geneva, the delegation from Korea, Chairman of IPS Dong-sung Cho, and Chairman of the Institute for Policy & Strategy on National Competitiveness (IPSNC) Professor Hwy-chang Moon, and Vice President Yong-ju Choi traveled to Franklin in Lugano for a visit on campus to deepen the dialogue and explore further opportunities, while participating in a round table discussion on the “Future of Education” with President Greg Warden and the Professor Juliette Schwak. The interactive discussion dealt with different topics and views on what education prospects to become, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the technological progress, the role of universities in the future and important topics such as climate change and student wellbeing. These must align with the needs of the new generations, while academic degrees should hold the same value as the current educational models. Also, who will the recipients be? What will the content be and how will it be delivered?

The future and emerging needs of our world are changing at such a fast pace to present a real challenge to the current role of universities and the relevance of the existing education models. The use of technology in education needs to be properly embraced. The role of educators and institutions may change, and universities need to find the right balance between teaching and research. In addition, future generations will need to play a key role in fostering social responsibility. Universities need to consider creating a real positive impact on the environment, society, and the economy. The WURI ranking, World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) has been developed to measure the extent of such impact. WURI highlights creative and innovative approaches to university research and education that focus on:

  • Industrial applications, rather than the traditional ways of counting research papers and lecture-type teaching;
  • Value-creating startups and entrepreneurship, rather than a traditional focus on the number of jobs filled;
  • Social responsibility, ethics, and integrity, rather than a focus on knowledge and skills just for material success;
  • Student mobility and openness for exchange and collaboration between schools and across national borders, rather than an independent yet closed system.

Learn more about Franklin’s placement in the 2021 WURI ranking here.