Science has always been called upon to solve world problems and it seems our world will continue depending on scientific innovations to solve the most pressing problems. While there are major problems to grapple with (such as cures for cancer and HIV/AIDS, malaria, global warming, etc) the world continues to hope that solutions will be found someday. There is reason for optimism. When you consider that small pox was a scourge that claimed millions of lives in the past and that it was eventually eradicated with the development of a vaccine, it is not too much to hope that some of the huge problems that bedevil our world today could equally get eradicated through the power of science. Some ambitious projects – While scientists work hard to seek solutions to some of the most serious problems, the level of funding available for scientific research is hardly ever commensurate with the problems at hand. One of the most ambitious projects currently being carried on is known as the Global Development Lab. This project was initiated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in April 2014 and its main objective is to end extreme poverty by the year 2030. Through the project, USAID provides funding of $1 billion per year to institutions and organizations that will use technology to achieve the lofty dream. The Lab then brings universities and research institutions together to find technology-driven solutions that will eradicate extreme poverty globally. While the funding might seem colossal, it is important to remember that the problems it is supposed to address are rather monumental. They include problems of food security and water scarcity as well as climate change, among others. The enormity of the task at hand is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that USAID has managed to attract private sector partners including Coca-Cola and Unilever. There are also plenty of private sector players who have been trying to use agricultural innovations to fight extreme poverty. In parts of Asia and Africa where crop yields have continued to deteriorate due to land degradation and lack of guaranteed sources of water, private sector players have been developing drought resistant varieties of grains that not only withstand harsh weather conditions but sometimes also increase the yield.
The world is plagued by a myriad of problems which scientific innovations could help solve. Considering the victories that science has achieved in the past, it’d be reasonable to say that even the current problems are not insurmountable.
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