$100m for young entrepreneurs
‘Young and hungry’ entrepreneurs with a deep interest in science and technology are set to benefit from a $100 million fund established by investors at Cambridge University.
The fund is the brainchild of Ahren Innovation Capital which nurtures new companies in the deep tech and deep science industries at Cambridge Science Park. Composed of leading thinkers in the field and entrepreneurs, Ahren has strong connections with US investors and is hoping to follow Silicon Valley’s model of incentivising young entrepreneurs to succeed.
“We back young and hungry, highly motivated entrepreneurs that want to win big,” said Professor Zoubin Ghahramani, head of Machine Learning Group at Cambridge University, and one of the founding science partners at Ahren.
Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and president of the Royal Society, said: “When you empower entrepreneurial scientists and technologists to change the world, and build valued relationships of trust between them and investors, you can create immense business and societal value.”
The fund will be used primarily to develop billion-dollar companies pioneering new research and products in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, energy efficiency, genetics and space exploration.
Gender studies spat
The Secretary-General of the European University Association (EUA) has strongly criticised the Hungarian government after it announced plans to ban gender studies courses in the country. Lesley Wilson, who joined the EUA when it was founded in 2001, accused the Hungarian state of “undermining institutional autonomy” in universities and called the move a “dangerous” threat to academic freedom.
Her comments come one month after Viktor Orban’s government said that gender studies would have no public funding from 2019. The Hungarian ministry for human capacities said the ban would be enforced because employers had shown no interest in graduates with gender studies degrees.
Wilson’s criticism puts her at odds with Tibor Navracsics – the European Commissioner for Education and member of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party. Navracsics said the “whole case had been misrepresented”. “The decision of the government is administrative, and only revokes the right to issue diplomas in gender studies”, he argued, adding that the subject could still be studied.
Alternative politics attracts youth
A survey of almost one million respondents across 128 countries has found that young people are growing increasingly active politically compared to older generations. Conducted by Orb Media, the research showed that people under 40 were now 13% more likely to engage in informal political action, such as protests, than those aged over 40. This global generation gap was just 3% in the early 2000s.
Although there were vast differences between countries, the trend of higher youthful political participation was almost universal. In Africa, Europe, and the Americas young people were more likely to protest than those over 40 in most countries. Among the exceptions were Lithuania, Ukraine, Sudan and Nicaragua. By contrast, when it came to engaging in traditional politics, such as voting, older generations were more active, especially in countries with perceived corruption problems. These countries were primarily in Africa and Latin America. Youth here were more engaged with informal politics but said they felt voting was ineffective due to corruption. More than half (52%) of Sudanese youth said corruption affected their decision to vote, compared to 37% in the Netherlands, 28% in Russia, and just 4% in India.