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  • Human Capital, Innovation, and Fintech: What the Future Holds for Eurasian Integration

Human Capital, Innovation, and Fintech: What the Future Holds for Eurasian Integration

Human Capital, Innovation, and Fintech: What the Future Holds for Eurasian Integration

© EAEU/ Twitter

To what extent do the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) benefit from an open economy? What financial, scientific, and educational policy tools will contribute to the implementation of the recently approved ‘Strategic Directions for the Development of Eurasian Economic integration until 2025’? These questions were discussed by participants in a series of expert discussions at the XXII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development organised by HSE University and Sberbank.

A Barrier-Free Environment within EAEU

At the end of last year, the ‘Strategic Directions for Developing Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025’ were approved. The document includes about 330 measures, the implementation of which will ensure the accelerated development of national economies through the growth of investment and innovation activity.

The dynamics and prospects of Eurasian economic integration were correlated with the goals and objectives of the document at a special round table, ‘Strategy for EAEU Development until 2025: Drivers and Breakthrough Tools’, moderated by Tatyana Meshkova and Vladimir Izotov of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK).

Gohar Barseghyan, Director of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Integration Development Department, presented the central report at the round table. She highlighted new areas of strengthened cooperation in education, science, health, tourism, and sports. ‘These are promising facets of enhanced integration that aim to develop human potential as a major factor of sustainable and balanced economic growth,’ she said.

The digital tools being implemented in the EAEU provide the five member states with opportunities to build a supranational ecosystem that supports the realisation of four freedoms — barrier-free movement of labour, goods, services, and capital, said Tigran Sargsyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board  of the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) in an honorary lecture entitled ‘The role of supranational and international institutions in the digital transformation of Eurasian countries’.

Open Banking

Tools for the digitisation of common markets were the focus for participants of the round table, ‘Modern Digital Technologies in the Financial Sector: Global Trends and Prospects for Implementation in the EAEU Countries’.

Yury Dranev, Head of Quantitative Modelling Unit at ISSEK, commented on the possibilities of digital currency implementation and its positive effects for EAEU countries.

Fintech start-ups have demonstrated significant flexibility compared to traditional banking during the pandemic, making them a key factor in the post-crisis recovery, said Konstantin Vishnevskiy, Director of ISSEK’s Digital Economics Research Centre.

ISSEK researchers Anastasia Nazarenko and Sofya Privorotskaya spoke about the fastest-growing areas of fintech, which are significantly transforming the work of financial institutions in the Eurasian space. Yaroslav Kabakov, Director of Strategy at FINAM Investment Company, believes that human involvement in routine operations in the banking sector will soon be reduced to a minimum as robot advisers, digital assistants and other solutions based on AI and blockchain will facilitate this.

Nikita Lomov, who recently earned his Master’s in Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation at ISSEK and now heads the analytical department of the Fintech Association, discussed the possibilities of introducing the largescale use of open banking concept in the EAEU countries (by combining solutions based on open universal APIs). He noted the activity of regulators in Belarus and Kazakhstan in implementing this concept.

General Contours of a Common Science and Technology Policy

Approaches to building a system of effective management and the financing of joint research and innovation projects were considered by the participants of the round table, ‘Prospects of Implementing Cooperative Projects in the Field of Science and Technology to Build a Eurasian Innovation Area’, which included employees of relevant ministries of EAEU member states, Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) development institutions, and universities.

The main sources of funding for collaborative projects are the Eurasian Development Bank and the Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation and Development, noted Zhaslan Azenov, Deputy Director of the EEC Industrial Policy Department. These also include resources of the Astana International Financial Centre, national government programmes, and funds from non-governmental investors.

Alexander Sokolov, Director of the International Research and Educational Foresight Centre and Deputy Director of ISSEK, proposed to develop a forecast of the EAEU's scientific and technological development up to 2040. Evgeniy Kutsenko, Director of the 'Russian Cluster Observatory' Centre at ISSEK, drew attention to the tools of smart specialisation and cluster policy as a resource for interregional cooperation and integration development.

Representatives of the HSE University campuses in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the University of Central Asia shared their successful experiences of already implemented projects in science and technology. The participants emphasised the role of universities and research centres as the main initiators of research and innovation projects with a potential for replication in the EAEU, and they also presented recommendations on enhancing the effectiveness of horizontal cooperation between universities and research centres of the Union states.

HSE University provides analytical support for integration processes within the EAEU on a wide range of topics, from digital transformation to identifying priorities for scientific and technological development; it also implements a number of joint educational programmes with the EEC. Areas of cooperation with the EEC are defined in two-year cooperation programmes. The next one (up to 2022) was signed at an event at the XXII April conference. Overall coordination of HSE University’s involvement in the Eurasian integration area is provided by the Competence Centre for Cooperation with International Organizations, ISSEK of HSE University.

The XXII April International Academic Conference on Economics and Social Development will be held from April 13 to 30, 2021. For the first time, the conference is co-organized by HSE University and Sberbank. The programme includes a series of academic and expert discussions that will be held as part of the HSE-Sberbank Discussion Club – an expert platform that brings together academics, business representatives, and public officials to discuss critical economic and social challenges and share best practices in the sphere of business and institutional development, thereby laying out a path to the future.

See also:

‘Not Testing the Knowledge, But Testing Whether You Are Ready to Interact with Reality’

The roundtable "Teaching Economics to High School Students: Curricula, Practices, Competitions" took place as part of the XXII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development. Danil Fedorovykh, Deputy Vice Rector of HSE University and the President of the Executive Board of the International Economics Olympiad (IEO), initiated the session. Alexander Zhitkovskiy, Head of the Project Laboratory for Development of Intellectual Competitions in Economics (Faculty of Economic Sciences, HSE University), was the co-moderator.

The Core of the Nesting Doll: What a Comparison of the April Conference, the World Economic Forum, and the Gaidar Forum Reveals

This year the April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development took place for the twenty-second time, and, for the first time, Sberbank joined HSE University as a co-organizer of the event. Research assistants of the Economic Journalism Laboratory, headed by Nikolay Vardul, analyzed the agenda of the April Conference and compared it with those of other major forums. The findings of the study can be found among the laboratory’s publications.

The April Conference, 2021: 1,500 Participants, a Partnership with Sberbank, and an Online Format

On April 30, the XXII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development came to a close. This year it was organized jointly by HSE University and Sberbank, and the majority of the events were held online. HSE Vice President and Conference Programme Committee Deputy Chair Lev Yakobson spoke with HSE News Service about his initial takeaways from the event and its new format.

Russia Remains a Partner for Foreign Scientists

The XXII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development is drawing to a close in Moscow. In an interview with the media partner of the event, NEWS.ru, HSE University Vice Rector Ivan Prostakov spoke about how the format of the conference was organized, how the pandemic impacted the event, and how scientists and experts from different countries regard Russia.

Cyber Performance, PROK Cinema, and Digital Art: The Development of Art and Art Research in the 21st Century

From April 21 to 23, 2021, a major online conference of the HSE Art and Design School and the Doctoral School of Art and Design was held on ‘Theories and Practices of Art and Design: Sociocultural, Economic and Political Contexts.’ Experts discussed educational practices in art, its contemporary state, the impact of technology, and prospects for the art industry’s future development.

Assessment of Universal Competences: New Approaches to Assessing Soft Skills

In order to remain competitive in the labour market, university graduates must be proficient not only in professional knowledge and skills, but also in a set of universal competences (UC). However, higher education systems face problems in assessing such competences due to a lack of developed approaches and methodologies. A report released by the HSE Institute of Education, ‘An Assessment of Universal Competences as Higher Education Learning Outcomes’, analyses the ways in which these challenges have been addressed in both Russia and abroad.

‘AI Will Apply to All Activities, Having a Great Effect on Economy’

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a fundamental component of many activities in economics and finance in recent years. On April 26,Panos Pardalos, Academic Supervisor at theLaboratory of Algorithms and Technologies for Networks Analysis (LATNA at HSE Nizhny Novgorod) and Distinguished Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida, will talk about its impact, future developments and limitations in his honorary lecture Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Economics and Finance.

What Can Make Robots More Human-like?

What is affect and why is it important for humans? How can feelings be defined and what is their relation to emotions and consciousness? What might be used in making a soft robot? Professor Antonio Damasio (University of Southern California, USA) discussed these and other questions in his honorary lecture, entitled 'Feeling, Knowing, and Artificial Intelligence'.The talk was delivered on April 16 at the at the XXII April International Academic Conference held by HSE University jointly with Sberbank.

World Bank Forecasts a Rise in Poverty

General wealth levels in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have been improving since 2012 — poverty has been decreasing. But due to COVID, global poverty levels, including those of these regions, may increase considerably for the first time in two decades. Samuel Freije-Rodriguez, Lead Economist at World Bank, talked about this at the XXII April Conference organized by HSE University and Sberbank.

Globalization Endures: Global Trade and the Economy Are Showing Signs of Recovery

The global economy’s pace of recovery after the pandemic largely depends on whether consumers will return to a hedonic style of consumption. At the XXII April International Academic Conference, organized by the HSE and Sberbank, the HSE School of World Economy held a round table ‘The World Economy in the Context of the Coronavirus Pandemic’.