Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Yunus Centre Chairman, has announced the launch of the SDGx Yunus Center Near-Future Lab in collaboration with deep tech research, consulting, and investment group, SDGx, and which will be hosted by the Yunus Center at the Asian Institute of Technology, in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Lab will be a center of excellence for research focusing on a new breed of ‘pro-poor’ deep technologies that can drive innovative social businesses, and directly contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Lab’s focus areas include ClimateTech; AI and its variants; IoT; Sensor & 5G; Nano & Material Sciences; Robotics & Automation; Health Science; Caregiving and Aging Care technologies; Distributed Ledger and Crypto/Digital Currency; and Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality technologies.
Established as part of non-profit public benefit organization Yunus Thailand, the Lab will accept research assignments from foundations, family wealth management offices, impact investors, private enterprises, NGOs, and UN agencies; to cover the emerging impact of deep technologies on society, and inform the future direction of their own organizations and the SDGs.
Professor Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and the originator of the Social Business model of non-dividend enterprises solving social problems, said: “Human creativity and technology have given us enormous successes but it is how we leverage technology that truly matters.”
The Lab is formalizing partnerships with top-tier academic, private, and public research institutions that:
Research conducted by the Lab will develop evidence-based scenarios to identify:
According to BCG research, the aggregate global private investment in seven deep tech categories soared by more than 20 per cent every year between 2015 and 2018, reaching almost USD18 billion.
The Yunus Center was founded to drive systems change through innovative enterprise-led approaches exemplified by the concept of Social Business. This partnership between Yunus Centre and SDGx is their first collaboration to study the impact of deep technologies across public, private, and civic sectors.
Dr. Faiz Shah, Director of the Yunus Center AIT, and co-founder of Yunus Thailand said: “Social businesses apply entrepreneurial principles to solve the world’s greatest problems, which the SDGs identify, such as inequality or climate change. We find ourselves in a world where the most effective solutions will leverage emerging deep technologies for exponential impact.”
David Galipeau, Founding Partner of SDGx and Director of the Near Future Lab, said: “Investors, donors, NGOs, and industry require new independent research to guide investment and partnerships to leverage deep technologies in achieving their commercial goals and the UN SDGs in harmony.”
The Lab is actively exploring partnership opportunities with corporations and donor foundations interested in SDG-aligned technologies, social business, and inclusive finance models.
Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) (www.ait.ac.th), founded in 1959, is an international organization for higher education in Khlong Luang, Thailand. It specializes in engineering, advanced technologies, sustainable development, and management and planning. Its aim is to “promote technological change and sustainable development” in the Asia-Pacific region, through higher education, research, and outreach.
Yunus Center (www.yunuscenter.ait.asia) focuses on issues related to social business, working in the field of poverty alleviation and sustainability. Its primary role is promoting and disseminating Professor Yunus’ Social Business philosophy through its “Engage-Educate-Empower” program strategy that aims to attract unconventional students to pursue studies in emerging fields. The SDG Lab at Yunus Center AIT works to build Social Businesses designed to implement the SDGs.
SDGx (www.sdgx.io) is a global deep technology venture capital, venture building and research group reimagining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). SDGx offers a full-service ecosystem that includes business intelligence, deal flow scouting, venture acceleration, and innovative investment to all sectors – private, public and civic. SDGx is building a new partnership architecture to reimagine and rejuvenate SDG achievement through a forward-looking partnership, investment, technology, and governance framework.
SDGx consists of three business units: