How higher education can drive prosperity
高等教育如何推动繁荣

【双语】从锈带到脑带 From rustbelt to brainbelt-书迷号 shumihao.com

TO BUILD A great city is simple, the politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said. First create a university, then wait 200 years. By that logic, the Midwest has decent assets. It is home to lots of excellent universities, and hordes of more modest ones. All influence the cities around them. Those that thrive often have a university at their core; educated places do well long-term. Edward Glaeser of Harvard cites examples. If fewer than 5% of adults had a college degree in a city in 1940 then, 60 years on, no more than 19% did. In cities where more than 5% were graduates in 1940, the later share was up to 29%. Gains made early are felt for generations. He divides the Midwest in two. States in the west, such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois, are better educated than those in the east and have prospered more.

建造一座伟大的城市很简单,政治家丹尼尔·帕特里克·莫伊尼汉(Daniel Patrick Moynihan)曾经说过。首先创办一所大学,然后等上200年。按照这种逻辑,中西部拥有不错的资产。它拥有许多优秀的大学,还有成批的较为一般的大学。它们影响着自己周围的城市。那些繁荣的城市往往围绕着一所大学铺开——教育程度良好的地方长期来看发展不错。哈佛大学的爱德华·格拉瑟(Edward Glaeser)举了一些例子。如果一座城市在1940年时只有不到5%的成年人拥有本科学位,那么60年后这一比例不到19%。而在1940年大学毕业生占5%以上的城市中,60年后的比例达到29%。早年取得的收益世代相传。他将中西部地区一分为二。西部的州,例如明尼苏达州、威斯康星州、爱荷华州和伊利诺伊州,比东部的州教育程度更高,也更繁荣。

John Austin, at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, has written a study arguing that the Midwest’s institutional brainpower is exceptional. He says 15 of the world’s 200 top-ranked research universities are there. (In fact, by defining the Midwest expansively, he counts 20.) The “big ten” state universities, which oddly number 14, have 600,000 students, 50,000 faculty and draw annual research funds of $10.6bn, more than the Ivy League and Californian universities combined. The Midwest has 16 of the country’s 50 top-ranked medical schools, five of the 25 best computer-science ones, and 17 of 63 leading research universities. It does not do so well in STEM subjects, claiming just six of 25 top-ranked STEM colleges. Mr Austin tots up 21% of America’s patent filings, by companies and universities in the region. Almost a quarter of National Institutes of Health federal grants for developing drugs and medical technologies go to Midwestern institutions.

芝加哥全球事务委员会的约翰·奥斯汀(John Austin)撰写了一项研究,称中西部院校拥有非常出色的大脑。他说,全球前200所一流研究型大学中有15所在那里。(事实上,如果扩大对中西部地区的定义,他能数出20所。)“十大”州立大学共计14所(这有点怪),拥有60万名学生,5万名教职员工,年度研究经费为106亿美元,超过常春藤联盟和加州大学系统的总和。中西部拥有全国前50名医学院中的16家、计算机科学专业中前25名中的5家,以及63所领先研究型大学中的17所。它在理工科(STEM)上的表现稍逊,在前25所理工学院中仅占6所。奥斯汀称该地区的公司和大学的专利申请量占全美的21%。美国国立卫生研究院(NIH)用于开发药物和医疗技术的联邦拨款中有近四分之一给了中西部机构。

They in turn spread prosperity, in three ways. One is to bring in young people, often a city-sized population. Mayors want to revive town centres, so luring youthful consumers is a big plus. As a natural experiment, ask how they suffered when covid-19 sent people home. A resident of Columbus, Ohio, laments how the absence of 30,000 students and staff sapped demand for local businesses. Another example is South Bend, Indiana, where Pete Buttigieg often presents revival as mostly about political leadership. But he concedes that nearby Notre Dame university (where his father taught) mattered. Having 8,500 students beside a city of 100,000, including active ones who volunteer in local schools, is helpful. It was a boon to deploy researchers’ ideas, for example to fit wifi-enabled sensors in sewers to monitor water flow and save money. “We have a Beta City concept, we take intellectual property from the university and apply it,” he says.

而这又以三种方式传播繁荣。其一是引入年轻人,人数规模常常相当于一座城市。市长们希望复兴市中心,吸引到年轻的消费者就成了一大利好。一个自然的实验是问问当新冠肺炎把人们禁锢在家里时,这批人遭受了怎样的痛苦。俄亥俄州哥伦布市的一名居民悲叹少了三万名学生和职员降低了对本地商业的需求。另一个例子是印第安纳州的南本德,皮特·布蒂吉格(Pete Buttigieg)经常把它的复兴说成主要是政治领导力的结果。但他也承认附近的圣母大学(他父亲在那儿教书)很重要。在一座10万人口的城市旁边加上8500名学生,还有些活跃的学生在当地学校里做志愿服务,这很有帮助。部署研究人员的创意更是一个福音,例如在下水道中安装支持无线网的传感器以监控水流并节省资金。他说:“我们有一个‘测试版城市’(Beta City)的概念,把大学的知识产权拿过来加以应用。”

Second, universities pool employable talent. Not all graduates hang around their alma mater, but cities that keep them outdo rivals. Rahm Emanuel boasts that, when he stood down as Chicago’s mayor last year, 39% of its adults had four-year degrees, far above the national average. No big city has more, he says, though that rests on defining big. In Minneapolis over 49% of adults have a degree; in Madison 58%. This helps explain why both cities have flourished, especially in medicine and pharmaceuticals, which need educated workers. On average, 32% of Americans (25 or older) have at least a bachelor’s degree. Of 12 states in the broad Midwest only Illinois, Kansas and Minnesota surpass that. The least educated state is Indiana, where barely a quarter have a degree. That is a reminder that early education remains a challenge. In Chicago Mr Emanuel struggled to lift the high-school graduation rate from a dismal 56% in 2012 to a somewhat better 78% last year. He also got more people to take vocational training in community colleges. That matters partly because firms come for Chicago’s supply of educated workers. Every June, he says, 140,000 graduates from across the Midwest flock in tostart jobs.

第二,大学汇集了可以聘用的人才。并不是所有的毕业生都会留在母校附近,但是能够留住他们的城市就会超越竞争对手。拉姆·伊曼纽尔(Rahm Emanuel)去年卸任芝加哥市长时夸口说,该市39%的成年人拥有四年制学位,远高于全国平均水平。他说没有哪个大城市的比例比这更高了。但这取决于大城市的定义。在明尼阿波利斯,超过49%的成年人拥有学位;在麦迪逊则是58%。这有助于解释为什么两个城市都蓬勃发展,尤其是在需要受过教育的员工的医药领域。平均而言,32%的美国人(25岁或以上)至少拥有学士学位。在中西部地区的12个州中,只有伊利诺伊州、堪萨斯州和明尼苏达州超过了这一比例。受教育程度最低的州是印第安纳州,那里只有四分之一的人有学位。这提醒人们早期教育仍然是一个挑战。在芝加哥,伊曼纽尔奋力将高中毕业率从2012年可怜的56%升至去年稍好的78%。他还让更多的人在社区大学接受职业培训。这一点之所以重要,部分原因在于企业会来芝加哥是因为这里受过教育的员工供应充沛。他说,每年6月,来自中西部各地的14万毕业生涌入芝加哥找工作。

Third, universities can refocus a city’s economy. John Cranley, Cincinnati’s mayor, says “By far the best driver is the co-location of an urban, diverse population near a tier-one research and development institution.” Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s mayor, calls the University of Chicago “one of our crown jewels”. The university says that in two decades it helped found over 300 companies (including Grubhub, a food-delivery firm), with $1.2bn in funding.

第三,大学可以重新定位城市经济。辛辛那提市长约翰·克兰利(John Cranley)说:“最好的驱动因素是把多元化的城市人口放在一家顶级研发机构附近。” 芝加哥市长洛里·莱特富特(Lori Lightfoot)称芝加哥大学为“我们的皇冠上的宝石之一”。该校表示,20年间它帮助建立了300多家公司(包括食品配送公司Grubhub),提供了12亿美元的资金。

The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (U of I) offers a study in a lost chance to commercialise research. One of its computer-science students, Marc Andreessen, created the world’s first widely used web browser, Mosaic, while studying there in 1992. Sadly for Illinois, he went on to commercial success, co-founding Netscape and more, only after moving to the west coast. Laura Frerichs, head of development at U of I, says her university—with 13,000 engineering students and more mathematics PhDs than anywhere in America—learned from that experience. It has since put up 17 buildings for entrepreneurial students and recent graduates. These contain over 120 small companies, employing 2,200, often partnering with large firms such as State Farm. One student from Iran, whose firm has 35 staff, uses AI to create 3D images for construction companies around the world. Another uses a supercomputer to help cancer patients plan treatment. A third produces “ultra-compact robots” to walk through fields monitoring crops.

伊利诺伊大学香槟分校(U of I)提供了一个关于研究成果错失了商业化机会的案例。计算机科学专业学生马克·安德森(Marc Andreessen)1992年在该校学习时创建了世界上第一个被广泛使用的Web浏览器Mosaic。对伊利诺伊州来说,可悲的是,他取得商业成功、共同创立了网景(Netscape)公司等等都是搬去西海岸之后的事情了。伊利诺伊大学的开发负责人劳拉·弗雷里希斯(Laura Frerichs)说,学校从这件事中吸取了教训(该校拥有13,000名工程专业学生,数学博士比美国任何地方都要多)。它在这之后为创业的学生和新进毕业生建了17栋楼。其中容纳了120多家小公司,雇用2200名员工,这些公司通常与州立农业保险(State Farm)等大公司合作。来自伊朗的一名学生运营的公司有35名员工,使用人工智能为世界各地的建筑公司制作三维图片。另一家使用超级计算机来帮助癌症患者做治疗规划。还有一家生产“超紧凑型机器人”,在农田间穿行监测农作物。

The plan is to scale up. The University of Chicago says it expects to become a centre for quantum information engineering, a new form of computing. This year the governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, said he would direct $500m to launch the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), in southern Chicago, where university research can be commercialised and tech graduates trained. Robert Jones, U of I’s chancellor, likens the plan to Tech Park on Roosevelt Island in New York, saying it will lift Chicago “from being a lower-tier city for innovation to the first tier”.

计划是要扩大规模。芝加哥大学说它希望成为量子信息工程(一种新的计算形式)的中心。伊利诺伊州州长J.B.普利兹克(J.B. Pritzker)今年表示,他将投资5亿美元在芝加哥南部成立发现伙伴学院(Discovery Partners Institute,DPI),用于把大学研究商业化及培训技术毕业生。伊利诺伊大学校长罗伯特·琼斯(Robert Jones)将该计划比作纽约罗斯福岛上的科技园,称它将把芝加哥“从较低创新水平的城市变为一流”。

Another model is Pittsburgh, a once-dying steel city now nicknamed “Roboburgh” for a boom in robotics, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and biomedical research. Zoom, a video-conferencing firm, recently said it would open a research centre there. Tom Murphy, a former mayor, says the way to understand Pittsburgh’s success is to look at Carnegie Mellon University and its entrepreneurial culture. Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak see Pittsburgh as a case study in regeneration driven by a university. They trace much of it to a robotics institute at Carnegie Mellon’s computer-science school, which got attention by working on the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. It inspired a cluster of local tech firms. Rather than choosing which company should flourish, the city and university concentrated on producing lots of graduates, and importing more, a process the authors call “talent sprouting”. In turn, they encouraged entrepreneurial activity.

另一个典范是匹兹堡,这座曾经垂死的钢铁城市因机器人技术、人工智能、无人驾驶汽车和生物医学研究的繁荣而被昵称为“机器人堡”。视频会议公司Zoom近期表示将在那里设立一个研究中心。前市长汤姆·墨菲(Tom Murphy)表示,要了解匹兹堡的成功,就要看卡内基梅隆大学及其创业文化。布鲁斯·卡茨(Bruce Katz)和杰里米·诺瓦克(Jeremy Nowak)将匹兹堡视为被一所大学推动重生的研究案例。他们将这种重生大部分归功于卡内基梅隆大学计算机科学学院下属的一个机器人研究所,它因研究三里岛核事故而备受关注。它催生了一批本地技术公司。城市和大学并没有去选择哪些公司应该发展,而是集中精力大量培养并引进更多的毕业生。作者把这个过程称为“人才涌现”。这反过来又促进了创业活动。

Can these trends go on? Not every city can bank on a university. And many smaller colleges are threatened by demographic change, lower immigration, the pandemic and, for public ones, looming cuts in funding. But federal authorities, seeking ways to recharge the economy, could adopt an idea of professors at MIT to “jumpstart America” through $100bn of investment in 20 new centres of high-technology, innovation and commercialised research, similar to DPI in Chicago. The idea is that lots of rivals to Silicon Valley could bloom. Of the top 20 candidates in the professors’ list, 13 were around universities in the Midwest. With luck it will take less than 200 years to produce results.■

这些趋势还能继续吗?并非每个城市都能依靠大学。许多较小的学院正受到人口结构变化、移民减少和疾病大流行的威胁,而公立大学则要忧心迫在眉睫的资金削减。但是,寻求经济复苏途径的联邦政府机构可以采纳麻省理工学院的教授的想法,通过对20个新的高科技、创新和商业化研究中心(类似于芝加哥的DPI)注资1000亿美元来“启动美国”。这个想法是要让硅谷的许多竞争对手红火起来。教授们罗列的前20个城市中有13个位于中西部大学附近。幸运的话,用不了200年就能结出硕果。