Danielle Wood presents on "The Role of Space Technology to Support Sustainable Development" at The World Bank


The World Bank Group

The World Bank Group

December 4, 2019
12:00pm — 1:30pm

RMES Lunch & Learn I The Role of Space Technology to Support Sustainable Development

Session Description

The new Space Enabled research group at the MIT Media Lab advances justice and development by improving designs for Earth’s complex systems. Dr. Danielle Wood, leader of the Space Enabled research group, will explain how six types of space technology support societal needs, as defined by the UN SDGs. The six technologies are satellite earth observation, satellite communication, satellite positioning, microgravity research, technology transfer, and the inspiration derived from space research and education. The group works to increase the opportunities to apply space technology in support of the SDGs. The group collaborates with development leaders who represent multilateral organizations, national and local governments, non-profits, and entrepreneurial firms to identify opportunities to apply space technology in their work. The group’s research applies six methods: design thinking, art, social science, complex systems, satellite engineering, and data science.  The session will provide examples showing how each of these areas contributes to the SDGs.

Christoph Aubrecht, who is on special assignment at the World Bank, will provide insights on how Earth Observation (EO) technologies are applicable in Bank projects, drawing from a partnership between ESA and the WBG that dates to 2008. Currently this partnership primarily operates under the Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative, addressing a set of jointly agreed thematic priority areas, including Urban DevelopmentWater Resources ManagementAgriculture and Rural DevelopmentClimate ResilienceDisaster Risk ReductionMarine and Coastal ResourcesFragility, Conflict, and Security, and Forest Management. Complementing the long-term strategic nature of EO4SD, the eo_clinic acts as a fast turnaround satellite support facility that focuses on innovative delivery of EO services to Bank teams and clients.

About the Speakers

Professor Danielle Wood serves as an Assistant Professor in Media Arts and Sciences and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Within the MIT Media Lab, Prof. Wood leads the Space Enabled research group. Prof. Wood is a scholar of societal development with a background that includes satellite design, earth science applications, systems engineering, and technology policy. In her research, Prof. Wood applies these skills to design innovative systems that harness space technology to address development challenges around the world. Prof. Wood has held positions at NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins University, and the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs. Prof. Wood studied at MIT, where she earned a PhD in engineering systems, SM in aeronautics and astronautics, SM in technology policy, and SB in aerospace engineering.

Christoph Aubrecht represents the ESA at the World Bank, providing strategic advice and coordinating collaborative activities. Prior to joining ESA, Chris led spatial analytics efforts under the Bank’s Latin America and the Caribbean Country Disaster Risk Profiles (CDRP) disaster resilience initiative. For 10 years he also worked at the Austrian Institute of Technology, in the end serving as senior geospatial strategy advisor. Further previous affiliations include GFDRR, EADS-Astrium, NOAA, Columbia University’s CIESIN and the associated NASA SEDAC, and the University of Southern California. He holds a PhD in integrated GIScience and remote sensing from Vienna University of Technology, a master’s degree from the University of Vienna, and certificates in executive leadership and management development from Harvard University.

About RMES Lunch & Learn

RMES Lunch & Learn combines traditional classroom learning with interactive techniques. These sessions bring you the diverse thinking and innovative approaches developed and adopted in the field of M&E. This session is open to all World Bank Group staff. 

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