Opinion: How global research collaboration and technology can shape the future of sustainable materials development

By: Office of Research

Dr. Sushanta Mitra is the executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN), Canada’s largest nanotechnology institute and a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering.

His research interests focus on how fluids move around in micro and nano-sized spaces with applications in energy, water and biological systems. Outside of teaching, research and administration, he is an entrepreneur leading several startups.

Opinion by Dr. Sushanta Mitra

The Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum is an annual meeting that provides an opportunity to discuss how science and technology will impact the future health and sustainability of the planet. The objective is to provide a new mechanism for open discussions on an informal basis, and to build a human network that would, in time, resolve the new types of problems stemming from the application of science and technology.

This international gathering attracts thousands of global leaders in science and technology, policymaking, business and media from around the world. The themes are as diverse as the leaders that attend, for example, at the last gathering, there was a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), digital equity, trust in information, climate change, food and water security, biodiversity, preparing for the next pandemic and space exploration and development.

In October 2023, I attended the STS forum in Kyoto, Japan as a speaker during the Innovative Engineering panel on revolutionary materials and devices. I was joined by five other speakers including two Nobel laureates. This conference allowed for a meeting of the minds to discuss and debate how technology can shape the future of tomorrow.

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