Social equality and economic prosperity depend on investments in infrastructure. But even basic services such as electricity, sanitation, and water remain out of reach for billions of people, creating barriers to the industrial and technological progress that drive developing country success. Building sustainable resource value chains will require the freedom to innovate that only robust infrastructure can provide.
UNU focuses on strengthening development linkages that catalyse innovation, foster equal resource benefits, and build resilient urban systems. Our research at the roots of industrial production charts policy options to help transform resource extraction sectors into engines of sustainable economic growth. Our work in cities is helping to ensure that rapid urban expansion can mitigate risks from climate change, and provide safe housing and a secure network of services for all.
"Just as the new technologies can foster innovation, provide collective safety, and promote inclusive societies, they can also bring potential risks to individual privacy and freedom when applied without proper regulation. My research at UNU looks at how different legal frameworks regulate the use of new technologies by the private and public sectors."
ASSOCIATE ACADEMIC OFFICER, UNU-EHS
"Infrastructure like electricity, transportation, and water supply plays a key role in determining a society's vulnerability to natural hazards. At the same time we need to rethink infrastructure in the context of climate change. My research at UNU aims to assess ways towards better and more equitable infrastructure systems to make cities more resilient."
PROFESSORIAL FELLOW, UNU-MERIT
"Industry is an essential driver of sustainable development. But in developing economies, firms need more innovation and stronger technological capabilities. My research at UNU strives to promote these firms’ efforts to benefit from global value chains, and to boost innovation in developing countries."
Industry in Africa has declined well below the level needed for rapid structural change, and foreign investment is overwhelmingly in oil, gas, and minerals. This project focuses on three drivers — exports, capabilities, and clusters — that together determine the global pattern of industrial investment.
To survive and thrive, society needs basic services such as electricity, transportation, water, health care, and telecommunications. But these services are often unavailable after disaster strikes. To better inform disaster preparedness plans, this project determines what levels of critical services societies need to survive in the aftermath of natural hazards.
This project aims to help policymakers deal with the risks and opportunities in oil, gas, and mining for development, poverty reduction, and the environment.