UNU-MERIT’s Charles Cooper Memorial Lecture Series is back, with UNU Rector as our next speaker

After a hiatus of nearly five years, we are pleased to announce that we are relaunching our Charles Cooper Memorial Lecture Series – which has been running since 2007 – with a public lecture from United Nations University Rector Professor Tshilidzi Marwala on Thursday 26 October 2023. Prof. Marwala will discuss the topic of AI governance; for more details, please see our event page.

History of UNU-MERIT’s Charles Cooper Memorial Lecture Series

Charles Cooper

Charles Cooper was the founding director of the Maastricht-based United Nations University Institute for New Technologies, UNU-INTECH (now UNU-MERIT). In 1985, the Dutch government asked him to prepare a feasibility study on the creation of a UNU institute to specialize in the social and economic aspects of new technologies. The report was presented to UNU in 1987 and formed the basis for setting up the new Institute in 1990.

At that time, he was a professorial fellow at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, having established a worldwide reputation in a long career which began at the OECD in the 1960s. From July 1969 to July 1981, he was based at SPRU and the Institute of Development Studies, both at the University of Sussex in the UK.

Under his leadership from 1990 to 2000, the Institute expanded rapidly to become the second largest UNU research and training centre. One of his flagship achievements was setting up the Institute’s unique PhD program in the Economics of Technological change in 1995, in partnership with MERIT (at the University of Maastricht). This sowed the seeds for the integration of the two Institutes a decade later, to form UNU-MERIT.

UNU-MERIT launched the Charles Cooper Memorial Lecture Series in January 2007, to honour his immense contribution to our understanding of the role of technology in economic development, and the pivotal role he played in forging closer ties between UNU-INTECH and MERIT. The lecture series aims to contribute to a better public understanding of science, technology and innovation in the development process.

Past Charles Cooper Memorial Lectures:

2018, From creative destruction to destructive creation by Luc Soete
2013, Dynamic Capability: The Concept and How It Helps Us Understand Economic Change by Sidney G. Winter
2011, Economic Development As An Evolutionary Process by Richard Nelson
2009, Science and technology in South Africa: Past performance and future prospects by David Kaplan
2008, Playing in invisible markets: Innovating to harness the power of the poor by Shyama V. Ramani
2007, The Challenge of the Asian Drivers: From Industrial to Innovation Policy by Raphie Kaplinsky