Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson To Participate in 2015 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

January 20, 2015

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson

Troy, N.Y. – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson will join other global leaders at the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s meeting, titled “The New Global Context,” will be held January 21 - 24, 2015. The meeting will convene a record number of participants. In addition to 1,500 top business leaders from over 140 countries, more than 300 heads of state, heads of government, and government members are also expected to participate.

“Today we face great global challenges of such magnitude and complexity that no single person, working alone, can address them; neither can a single discipline, or even nation,” said Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting offers us important opportunities to launch the collaborations and partnerships that allow us to change the world for the better.” 

Dr. Jackson, a member of the WEF-USA Board and the WEF Science Advisory Committee, will moderate a discussion during which participants will consider examples of “extreme science” that, in less than a century, are likely to become commonplace, because they help humanity address extreme threats.

She also will participate in a discussion with the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) on how universities are adapting to the rapid transformation of higher education. Among other topics, the group will identify the most important issues facing university presidents and discuss the operating model of the university of the future.

“Complex challenges and new opportunities, many of them data-driven, require universities to re-envision themselves as crossroads that bring together brilliant people across sectors and global regions,” said Dr. Jackson. “At Rensselaer, we call this new paradigm for leadership ‘The New Polytechnic,’ as we use advanced technologies to unite a multiplicity of disciplines and perspectives.”

Discussion at this year’s meeting has been designed around four main themes: Crisis & Cooperation; Growth & Stability; Innovation & Industry; and, Society & Security. Key challenges arise across and within these thematic tracks, and the Forum “has committed to providing a neutral space for discussion of the major challenges dominating the global agenda today.”

About the Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., is president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the oldest technological research university in the United States. A theoretical physicist, she has held senior leadership positions in academia, government, industry, and research.  In 2014, United States President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Jackson as co-chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. She also serves on the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board and the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. From 2009 to 2014, Dr. Jackson served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Before taking the helm at Rensselaer, Dr. Jackson was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to 1999. She serves on the boards of World Economic Forum USA and the Council on Foreign Relations, and major corporations that include FedEx and IBM. Among many accolades, Dr. Jackson has received the Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board. She holds an S.B. in physics and a Ph.D. in theoretical elementary particle physics, both from MIT.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation’s oldest technological research university. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology and web science, architecture, management, and the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of fields, with particular emphasis in biotechnology, nanotechnology, computation and information technology, the media arts and technology, and energy and the environment. The Institute is well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development. For information about Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, go to:

For information about the World Economic Forum 2015 Annual Meeting, go to:


Allison Newman

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Written By SCER Staff
Press Contact Jessica Otitigbe
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