Setting a strong foundation for Bhutanese scientists requires facilitating international partnerships with global leaders in research, education, and innovation. Since 2020, the Bhutan Foundation is excited to announce new partnerships in development with the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland (CERN), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to create a multi-tiered and multi-faceted approach to expand and encourage Bhutan’s growing scientific community—from the student to the entrepreneur to the seasoned researcher—turning long-held dreams into a new reality.
STEM in Schools
Transforming a child’s curiosity into the beginnings of a scientific mind starts in the classroom. To strengthen the capacity of Bhutan’s educators in STEM across the country, we supported a collaboration between the Royal University of Bhutan and scientists from Switzerland’s CERN to train approximately 100 Bhutanese science and mathematics educators in the latest effective pedagogies at a multi-faceted educator workshop to be held in 2021. The results of these presentations, group discussions, and experiments will help secondary schools in Bhutan develop STEM curricula relevant to the 21st century. Educators nationwide will be able to guide Bhutanese youth in developing their STEM skills, giving them the confidence to apply their STEM knowledge and skills in their future careers.
Research and Solutions for Real-World Problems
Starting in June 2020, NASA DEVELOP has included Bhutanese interns based in the United States to work on the practical application of Earth sciences and satellite technology to research, analyze, and create solutions for real-world problems. By learning from NASA scientists, these students will identify issues in areas such as urban design, water scarcity, climate change, and forest cover loss and will work on projects specifically related to ongoing issues in Bhutan. We are partnering with the team at NASA to facilitate this program, including the development of its first Bhutanese cadre. By partnering with NASA to create new opportunities for Bhutanese students, we hope to prepare students to take the next step in their education from absorbing to creating new knowledge for the next generation.
A Place for Innovation
From education to new research comes the final leg of this new system for scientific advancement in Bhutan: bringing new ideas to life. The Bhutan Foundation has partnered with MIT and Druk Holdings and Investment Ltd. (DHI) to create a Super Digital Fabrication Laboratory in Bhutan. This “Super Fab Lab,” which contains equipment such as 3D printers, 3D design elements, and woodworking and metalworking machinery to create and innovate new code, machinery, and products, would be only the second Super Fab Lab in the world as of 2020—the first being in Kerala, India. With this state-of-the-art Super FabLab alongside additional smaller Fab Labs around Thimphu, Bhutanese youth, inventors, and innovators will have unprecedented access to digital manufacturing and computer-aided design facilities in the country. This project, funded by the U.S. Department of State and DHI at a total of $2.4 million, will change the landscape for digital manufacturing and entrepreneurship and will open up a whole range of possibilities never before imagined.
Current practices in teaching Science and Mathematics in the schools are largely based on text-book learning.
The STEM project with MIT aims to stimulate STEM learning and innovation by providing universal access to digital fabrication tools and technology.
The STEM project with CERN will train a core group of 100 Science and Mathematics teachers.
This project is mainly implemented in partnership with the US Department of State, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA DEVELOP, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Our primary stakeholders in Bhutan are the Ministry of Education, Royal University of Bhutan, Royal Education Council, Druk Holding and Investments, Royal Tutorial Project, Thimphu Tech Park, and Kuzoo FM.
Help us to maximize coordination, collaboration, and cooperation among agencies and organizations, and ensure a concerted effort in adopting technological advancements and innovation with a larger impact on society. Your donation will help catalyze applied STEM learning and innovation among Bhutanese research professionals, entrepreneurs, teachers, and youth.