Morten Knudsen, formerly Director of Danish Technological Institute from 1970 to 1989 and Secretary-General of World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO) has passed on. He died at the age of 93 on January 23rd 2019 at a nursing home near Copenhagen, Denmark.
In 1969, the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development called for measures to spur and promote the industrialization process in developing countries. This idea led to the setting up of WAITRO by the United Nations in 1970. Morten was a founding father of WAITRO and served the association in several capacities until 1994. As a consultant to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which was tasked with operationalizing the new association, Morten assisted senior UNIDO staff to develop and launch the Constitution and by-laws of the Association in 1970. In the following year, he helped to set up its initial training program through which several newly appointed directors of industrial research institutions from Third World countries were trained at similar institutions in the developed countries. With funding assistance from DANIDA, Morten arranged attachment training for Directors from several African, Asian and Caribbean institutions in Denmark. Among his many other contributions to WAITRO, Morten served as the Association’s First Vice
President from 1970 to 1972. In 1990 he was appointed Secretary-General until his retirement in 1994. During this period, Morten helped WAITRO to secure funding from Danida and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to carry out the very successful RTO Best Practices project, which has left a major foot-print in the world of Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs). Morten’s service to industrial research across the globe was not limited to WAITRO. He also served as Secretary-General of the Federation of European Industrial and Contract Research Organisations (FEICRO) from 1990 to 1994, when it became part of, what is today known, as the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO). Morten will forever be remembered in these organizations for his commitment and belief in the value of international cooperation and equal partnerships in the growth and development of RTOs in the globalized world.
Morten Knudsen will be fondly remembered as the father of the ”Global Innovation Family”.