Demographics, entrepreneurship and technology
Defining the frontiers of future economics.
The Call for Contributions is open
**** The IASP 2024 submissions platform is currently undergoing some delays. Kindly prepare your contributions in the meantime and we shall announce when it is activated. We thank you for your interest and patience. The deadline for submissions is being extended and updates will be available soon ****
At the 41st IASP World Conference on Science Parks and Areas of Innovation, our main theme will be “Demographics, entrepreneurship and technology: defining the frontiers of future economies”.
The United Nations (UN) projects a significant demographic shift: by 2030, an estimated 1.3 billion individuals worldwide will fall within the age bracket of 15-24. This youth surge, representing vast potential, is set to reshape the global landscape. Regions with the greatest youth populations are primed for significant opportunities, from expanding their share of the global workforce to fostering innovation, driving economic growth, and enlarging domestic consumer markets. However, the UN’s projections also foresee a contrasting future, with one in six individuals expected to be over 65 years old by 2050.
In regions such as Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Northern America, and Oceania, youth populations have plateaued, signalling the onset of ageing demographics and diminishing workforces. This demographic shift threatens to shrink domestic markets in these areas. In stark contrast, Asia and Africa are experiencing a youth population boom. Africa, in particular, boasts the world’s youngest population, with 40% below the age of 15, and this trend is anticipated to endure well beyond 2050. While this demographic dividend promises growth in labour supply, innovation, and consumer potential, it also presents unique challenges.
The recent coronavirus pandemic has also highlighted the need for more distributed/devolved global manufacturing and supply chains, amid a growing number of multinational corporations which struggle to survive and the necessity to create shared value in markets where they have traditionally focused on sales and distribution. There is rising need for innovation and technology transfer across markets to support such manufacturing and supply chains. This calls for skilling to ensure the creation of a workforce that can work globally to also address the decline in workforce in other parts of the world.
The transition of many countries to knowledge-based economies, the intersection of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship offers new models of shared growth, based on innovative startups seeking to address emerging global challenges. There is a strong realisation that competitiveness in the knowledge-based economies will be based on the ability to solve problems at scale, whilst creating wealth in domestic markets and employment opportunities in the world’s most youthful regions – thus focusing on shared value creation.
As the 41st IASP World Conference returns to Africa for the first time since 2008, our theme has particular significance as we explore the role to be played by science parks and areas of innovation, not only in empowering regions such as Africa and Asia to harness the potential of their burgeoning youth demographic, entrepreneurship, and technology for economic growth but also in addressing the challenges posed by a global population that is steadily ageing. In this context, the theme calls upon us to reflect on critical components of collaboration across the world to ensure that there is a sufficient talent pool, innovation, and technology base, to sustain the global economy.
The Call for Contributions online submission portal will open soon, giving you the chance to showcase your expertise at our biggest event. Prepare your paper and be ready to submit once February rolls in!