New Foresight: Effective Solutions in Challenging Areas
In the latest issue of ‘Foresight’ (2015, Vol. 9, No 2) consideration is given to the long-term prospects of the market of hybrid cars and nuclear energy, development of entrepreneurship, and the factors behind people's willingness to engage in continuing education; new tools to assess the quality of research are also proposed.
Marisela Rodriguez and Francisco Paredes use patent analysis to uncover the current status and prospects in the hybrid car industry in their article, ‘Technological Landscape and Collaborations in Hybrid Vehicles Industry’. The greatest amount of patenting activity is being carried out by companies in areas such as electric traction drive and special control systems. Corporate research is focusing on parallel engine types, as well as the use of hydrogen and solar energy.
What is the situation regarding competency development and advanced training in human resources? In her article ‘The Role of Companies in Human Capital Accumulation: Cross-Country Analysis’, Natalia Bondarenko assesses the involvement of employees at Russian companies in continuing education and the role of employers in this process, comparing them with practices in the European Union and the OECD. Unlike Europeans, Russians do not view continuing education as an urgent need, which seriously reduces companies’ innovation potential. In terms of willingness to engage in advanced training, there is a serious gap between managers and employees. The article proposes compensatory mechanisms for corporate and state management that are designed to address this imbalance.
In ‘From Research Project to Research Portfolio: Meeting Scale and Complexity’, Jonathan Linton and Nicholas Vonortas pay attention to the drawbacks inherent in the traditional system of expert review of research. A priority criterion for the allocation of funding is usually the scientific level of individual projects, which on the one hand leads to their inadvertent duplication, and on the other hand to the emergence of unwanted gaps. The authors offer new tools for more accurate assessment of factors affecting the results of scientific research. This makes it possible to eliminate ‘inconsistencies’ in the scope of individual studies, significantly improve the efficiency of research infrastructure, and identify opportunities for further development.
Alexander Chepurenko analyzes the current state of research on entrepreneurship. A comprehensive redefinition of the objectives in the field that is reoriented toward the study of social, institutional and other types of entrepreneurship will contribute to sustainable development in this direction.
In analyzing the prospects for nuclear power, tools based on evaluating the dispersion of forecasts take on particular relevance. The article 'Long-term Stochastic Forecasting of the Nuclear Energy Global Market' (authors — Vladimir Kharitonov, Ulyana Kurelchuk and Sergey Masterov) offers a method for forecasting global nuclear energy market performance for the period up to 2035. This method allows for generation of probability distributions so that various actors in the global nuclear energy market can effectively evaluate long-term economic risks.
The issue concludes with a review of the ‘Science and Innovation’ session held at the XVI April Conference at HSE. The participants discussed the factors of competition and cooperation among states in the field of science and technology, new approaches to generating forecasts for Russia’s scientific and technological development, and the results of Foresight research in select priority sectors.
Foresight editorial staff
This May, HSE and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI, Republic of Korea) signed a cooperation agreement on science and advanced technology research. This agreement was signed by Leonid Gokhberg, HSE First Vice Rector, Director of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, and Dr. Hwang-Hee Cho, STEPI President.
Following years of study and work in South America and Europe, Rafael Popper joined HSE Moscow as Professor of Foresight and STI Governance in January 2018. In addition to his job at HSE, he is Principal Scientist in Business, Innovation and Foresight at a world leading research and technology organization (RTO) called VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. With a PhD on 21st Century Foresight from the University of Manchester, Popper has built a career on wide-ranging research of issues in foresight and STI policy. In a recent interview with the HSE News Service, he spoke in depth about his research interests, philosophy on teaching, collaboration across HSE and his love of languages, among other topics.
Leonid Gokhberg, HSE First Vice Rector, Director of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, spoke on his first steps in academia, working with foreign researchers, on foresight research as well as shared his thoughts on HSE research development.
On November 7, HSE hosted a delegation from the Jülich Research Centre in Germany. Scholars from both countries came together to discuss joint research opportunities, including transformation of energy systems for sustainable development; future studies of energy technologies, including foresight studies; and methodological issues related to big data analysis and modelling.
Policymakers are increasingly turning to foresight techniques for guidance when addressing the wide array of problems and challenges arising in their work. A new book co-edited by Leonid Gokhberg, Dirk Meissner, and Alexander Sokolov from the HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK), attempts to add another dimension – namely, opportunities – that can come from proper application of foresight techniques. Deploying Foresight for Policy and Strategy Makers: Creating Opportunities Through Public Policies and Corporate Strategies in Science, Technology and Innovation (Springer, 2016) features essays by more than a dozen scholars on various aspects of foresight application in today’s policy environment.
How dangerous is the ‘beaten track’ effect in discussions on Russia’s science and technology (S&T) development? Is it enough to master new technologies without changing the institutions for the country to successfully enter global markets? Alexander Chulok, Deputy Director of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge Foresight Centre, commented on the key topics of a recent online discussion on ‘Russia’s place on the global technology map’, on the Russian science and technology website STRF.ru which attracted a wide range of pundits.
What should Russia’s policy be on Science and Technology? What do Russian and international foresight research results show? How is international cooperation in science developing? These are among the questions which will be discussed at the 5th annual international research conference on Foresight and STI Policy at HSE on 18th - 20th November.
On September 24, 2015, a delegation of the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan (MOST) visited HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK). With the goal to identify perspective areas of cooperation, researchers of HSE and MOST delegates shared their unique fields of expertise and discussed key trends and instruments of Taiwan’s and Russia’s state policy on international cooperation in science, technology, and industrial innovation. During the visit, Dr. Yi-Bing Lin, Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, gave an interview to the HSE news portal, in which he cited Karl Marx’s theory, while talking about big data and futures studies.
David Sarpong recently joined the HSE Research Laboratory for Science and Technology Studies as a senior research fellow. In this interview with the HSE News Service, he shares his first impressions of Moscow and HSE, as well as his expectations for the future.
The annual foresight courses which have been running at Manchester University since 1999 are considered some of the most prestigious and important for researchers of the future. In July 2015 two researchers at the Foresight Centre at ISSEK who have been students on the courses themselves have been invited this year to come and teach.