The Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED) is a research center devoted to the study and application of Technology for Economic Development in poor and rural communities. The recently established center situated on NYU Abu Dhabi’s campus focuses on the development of innovative and cutting edge technologies that can significantly impact economic development with a specific focus on problems faced in under-developed areas around the world.
The center draws from a broad multidisciplinary expertise already available at NYU and NYU Polytechnic Institute in economics and economic development, foreign aid policy, management, microfinance, politics, computer science, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering.
Many of the initial projects of the center revolve around applications of the mobile phone, which has penetrated rural poor countries at surprisingly large rates. These projects research and innovate the use of mobile phones by creating new rural markets, mobile banking and payments systems, telemedicine platforms, monitoring HIV/AIDS drug intake, among many others. Some projects explore more technical issues such as low cost network connectivity, SMS search, tamper-resistant paper watermarking techniques verifiable by mobile phones, etc., and their applications.
Other projects use new technologies to provide the rural poor with access to electricity without relying on expensive national grids, particularly through decentralized solar energy, as well as researching the possibility of using micro-finance type tools to finance it. The Center does not only produce high quality research in the respective disciplinary fields, but will also develop new ideas with big impacts for the poor and possible spinoffs in startups and licensing agreements.
Header Photo Credit: Dan Johanson, www.danjohanson.com