An essential element of the smart nation concept is the involvement of knowledge institutions such as universities and other research bodies: Curaçao’s national university Universidat Moises Da Costa Gomez (UoC) is an important stakeholder in the island’s smart nation initiative. 

The Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Curaçao (UoC), Prof. Ergün Erkoçu, endorses the smart nation plans of the Minister of Economic Development. The University is actively participating by collaborating with other parties on blockchain related research and development for the financial industry. UoC students of the faculty also take a look at the development of the smart grid and the role of the power supply producer Aqualectra, which could become the local power battery for Curaçao’s electric cars. 

Data sharing is another key component of a smart development. Open data should be available for the parties involved. Another area where universities play a major role: being the centers for research and development universities typically are at the core of collaborative, global, partnership-based research. 

The data is needed to deepen the insights into how smart cities work and must be used to make better decisions. The Dean explains that to realize a consistent smart development it is important to start from a young age. “Schools should pay attention to subjects such as math, but also to coding and programming.” The University has recently updated its computer lab with the acquisition of several 3D printers, making it one of the most sophisticated computer laboratories in the Caribbean region. The creation of a knowledge hub in the Caribbean will promote innovation and high paying specialized jobs that can retain well educated or highly skilled professionals from the island.

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