Collaborations | September 2020

MIT launches Pandemic Response CoLab, the Gordon Institute of Business Science partners with the Embassy of France, and more.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge has launched the Pandemic Response CoLab, a joint project of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, the MIT Community Biotechnology Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, and life sciences company MilliporeSigma. The open online collaboration platform aims to bring together innovators from across the globe to work on problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals or groups that want to participate are invited to contribute to solving the challenges already posted or to suggest other pressing issues related to COVID-19. According to Thomas Malone, the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, the online platform will create a community of innovative people who can “identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and find the needed people, funding and other resources to implement these solutions.”

The Embassy of France in South Africa is partnering with the Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), part of the University of Pretoria in Johannesburg. Together they will develop a program to support 50 members of the Circle of Global Business Women (CGBW), a collaborative designed to enhance the potential and well-being of women. The 50 entrepreneurs will enroll in a 14-week online training program offered by the GIBS EDA, where they will learn business skills relating to finances, management structures, resource allocation, and operational efficiency. The project forms part of the French Embassy’s Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects, which was set up at the request of French president Emmanuel Macron.

Two universities near Reading, Pennsylvania, are partnering to enhance local entrepreneurship and revitalize the city’s downtown area. Alvernia University’s O’Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship and Kutztown University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will establish a technology transfer office and develop a financial services operation to bring capital and knowledge to early-stage entrepreneurs. They will also offer educational and mentoring services to rising entrepreneurs in the region.

The University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut, has announced an academic partnership with Twitch, a platform for multiplayer entertainment. The affiliation will support esports and gaming programs that will launch this fall and be housed at the Pompea College of Business. A new interdisciplinary major will feature concentrations offered by the schools of health sciences, criminal justice, and arts and sciences. A master’s degree in esports business is in development. The university also has allied with HyperX, which sponsors esports organizations; both partnerships were spearheaded by Jason Chung, assistant professor of sport management and executive director of the university’s esports program.

In June, Strathclyde Business School in the United Kingdom launched an online research hub intended to help companies boost performance and productivity. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Productivity of Outcomes of Workplace Practice, Engagement and Learning (PrOPEL) Hub is a collaboration of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and seven institutions across the U.K. The website will provide a forum where academics and business leaders can share evidence-based best practices in an effort to “design and build more effective workplaces,” says Graeme Roy, PrOPEL director and Strathclyde’s head of economics. The hub’s ultimate purpose is to encourage companies to adopt practices that create jobs, boost employee productivity, and improve employee well-being. “These issues were important prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Roy, “but in times of economic crisis, the role of high-quality, productive work becomes even more crucial.”