Who works at TLab? A conceptual difference

Meet Jessica George, former aerospace engineer and M.S. candidate at the Urban Planning program at GSAPP. At TCLab our researchers' backgrounds boost their understanding of how economies change. Their training and commitment can bridge technological and industrial transformation to topics on urban and regional employment, health, and social protections.

On our Brazil-India study of machine tool sectors for example, we have Columbia graduate students including Jessica, and TCLab postdoctoral visiting scholars who bring economics, physics, and engineering backgrounds to urban and regional economic development.

Jessica George is currently pursuing her MS in Urban Planning at GSAPP with a focus on international economic development.  Her research interests include investigating the role of industrial and technological policies in economic and social development, as well as the relationships and interactions between government, private entities, and civil society. Prior to this, Jessica worked as a systems engineer in the aerospace industry for several years.  She holds both a BS and an MS in Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics from Drexel University.

Jessica George is an example of why multi-disciplinary perspectives are helpful to urban and regional economic plans, without diluting either her engineering experience or her economic development specialization in Urban Planning.

Another example at TCLab is Christine Wen who has an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University and is currently focused on international economic development for an M.S. in the Urban Planning program.

At TCLab, it seems it isn't enough to study technological learning, we try to embed it into the ways in which we do research and to bring our own training into the larger picture.

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TCLab's new postdoctoral scholar Jose Ribiero and Smita Srinivas are building a program on how technological learning is manifested in three countries. We know that economic growth and concerns of employment are both linked to technological learning, but we have some hunches about why economic theory doesn't take us far enough in appreciating why the links between industry and agriculture manifest in particular ways.

In 2016 two talks were given in the US's agricultural heartland, Iowa. Iowa is the hub for biotech research and economic development pressures in "new" manufacturing.

The talks were held in the Urban and Regional Planning program at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and at the City and Community Planning program at the Iowa State University of Science and Technology in Ames.


Countries are unlikely to solve a particular problem unless they have some level of research invested in the effort. The approach in this paper is to use malaria research as a proxy for effective exploitation of local scientific knowledge. We study the malaria-related research output in two countries, Brazil and India, with among the most advanced science and pharmaceutical capabilities in the developing world. We assess local relevance of science and also its integration with international research by looking at almost 60 years of scientific publications on malaria between 1945-2003.

But health technologies have indeed transformed the industry, allowed several developing countries immense gains in healthcare, and for most industrilizing economies, opportunity for patients and welfre states to buy into wider technology options.

See TCLab-related research on the health industry, where industrial policy plays a critical role in how cheap or expensive healthcare is. Read the award-winning book Market Menagerie by Smita Srinivas.