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  • ‘I Can’t Think of a Better Time for Young Researchers to Work in Foresight’

‘I Can’t Think of a Better Time for Young Researchers to Work in Foresight’

‘I Can’t Think of a Better Time for Young Researchers to Work in Foresight’

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Foresight and STI Policy are among the symposium topics of the XXIII Yasin International Academic Conference. How has foresight developed in Canada? How did academic life change during the pandemic? What can early-career foresight researchers expect? The HSE News Service discussed these questions with Jonathan Calof, one of the symposium’s speakers.

The International Academic Symposium ‘Foresight and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy’ started on April 6th as part of the XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development. The event has been organized by HSE University’s Institute of Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK).

The symposium examines the best foreign and Russian practices on foresight studies and their application for forecasting scientific, technological and socio-economic development, as well as topics related to the innovative development of Russian resource regions and creative industries.

Jonathan Calof will speak about ‘Evolution of Foresight in Canada with Emphasis on the Federal Government’ at the session ‘Foresight: Best National Practices’ on April 8th. The session will be chaired by Ozcan Saritas, Head of the Laboratory for Science and Technology Studies.

Jonathan Larry Calof is Leading Research Fellow at the HSE ISSEK Foresight Centre Laboratory for Science and Technology Studies. He has been at HSE University since 2016. He is also a full professor of International Business and Strategy at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa and UNESCO Chair in anticipatory systems for innovation and new ventures.

The HSE News Service talked to Jonathan Calof about his report and current research.

Jonathan Calof

Best Practices from Canada

In looking at the history of foresight in Canada with a focus on the Canadian government, I am going to highlight three types of developments in the Canadian foresight ecosystem. First is the evolution of foresight in the government’s central foresight unit—Policy Horizons Canada—in terms its scope of activities, responsibility, methods/topics, and resources. Second is the development of foresight within Canadian governmental agencies. Third is the growth in the Canadian infrastructure to support foresight, including more training options, more university involvement, the recent UNESCO Chairs appointment, and the evolution of internal support for foresight.

Finally, I will be presenting what the future of foresight in Canada could be by looking at the emergence of anticipatory systems and the significant role of foresight.

Keeping with the anticipatory systems approach, my current research cuts across multiple anticipatory domains, including foresight (with a current project on how foresight can impact senior management decisions), business intelligence/big data (the role of big data and analytics in foreign market selection) and competitive intelligence (work on events for developing market insight). I’ve wrapped up work on collective intelligence (mapping the domain) and anticipatory systems (with a paper on foresight and competitive intelligence within a Moroccan bank).

Academic Research during the Pandemic

In a broad sense, COVID-19 provided opportunities, but also presented some serious difficulties

It enabled me to get together with my research teams around the world more regularly and to conduct interviews remotely. These positive aspects allowed me to accelerate some of my research programmes. Being unable to travel to conferences and research sites saved a lot of time that could then be used to further other projects.

On the other hand, not being able to get together face to face also created problems.

Much of what I do involves connecting to decision-makers, research subjects and colleagues. I have not been able to do this for two years

On one level, I was able to get more work done, more publishing activity. But on the other hand, starting new initiatives that involve creative research topics was difficult.

Foresight as a Research Career of Choice

Foresight, and in particular anticipatory systems thinking, gives students an edge in their jobs and life in general

Applying scientific tools and principles to better understand the external environment is becoming more and more important to organisations of all sizes. Research that helps inform policy for government, industry or other types of organisations has never been more important.

At the end of 2021, Riel Miller (at the time the Head of Foresight Literacy for UNESCO) sent an email to the UNESCO Foresight chairs, saying: ‘Not only are we witnessing a surge in futures ministries and hubs around the world, but Secretary General Guterres recently announced the importance of Futures thinking and work across the UN system.’

I can’t think of a better time for young researchers to work in this field

See also:

25th Yasin (April) International Academic Conference Now Accepting Proposals

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Academic Council: HSE University’s Contribution to Achieving National Goals and Development Priorities to Increase

HSE University’s Development Programme until 2030 will be improved in order to increase the university’s contribution to achieving national goals and implementing the priorities of the country’s scientific and technological development. This decision was made by the university’s Academic Council on April 26. The meeting also addressed the principles for the development of HSE University’s external communications, one of which is the creation of a high-quality information field around the university.

Keeping Up with the Neighbours: Envy as a Driver of Economic Growth

Classical economic theory assumes that economic agents are entirely self-interested and rational in their pursuit of material well-being, and that they are not affected by external factors. As a result, externalities are not considered in any way when constructing economic models. Nevertheless, some sociologists argue for a revision of modern economic theory to incorporate the ethical dimensions of economic agents' behaviour. Kirill Borissov, Professor of the Faculty of Economics at the European University in St Petersburg, spoke at the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference and shared his observations from creating his own economic model incorporating the factor of envy.  

Structural Transformation and Drivers of Sustainable Growth in Russian Economy Discussed at HSE University

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Experts say that interest in news has sharply increased among the Russian audience. At the same time, part of the audience deliberately avoids it. What kind of content is in demand and will people continue to watch TV? These and other issues were discussed at the plenary session ‘ Info-hygiene and Information Elitism: How to Consume Media Properly’ at the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference.

'The Emerging Trends in Africa Will Shape the World Order, and We Need to Be Prepared for That'

Africa has the potential to become a new economic giant. Today, African countries are interested in comprehensive cooperation and strengthening their positions in the global arena, and they look forward to receiving assistance from Russia and China in developing their technology, economy, and social sphere. Effective engagement with Africa requires training a greater number of professional African studies specialists. The XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference at HSE University featured a plenary session on 'Africa in a Changing World'.

Learning a Foreign Language Can Delay the Onset of Dementia

Dementia, a debilitating form of cognitive impairment, can be preventable. According to Professor Jubin Abutalebi of the University Vita Salute San Raffaele, Italy, and the Arctic University of Tromsoe, Norway, the easiest way to prevent cognitive decline after the age of 60 is to learn and practice foreign languages – the more languages, the better, suggests Professor Abutalebi in his presentation 'Preventing dementia through bilingualism' at the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference.

‘The BRICS Strategic Partnership Offers the World Creative, Unifying, Forward-Looking Initiatives’

Today, BRICS has become an influential factor in modern international relations and is perceived as one of the pillars of a more just world order. This association is not based on one party’s dominance, but instead, is built on a sound balance of interests. The role of the association was discussed by the participants of the plenary session ‘BRICS Development Strategy: Equal Opportunities in an Unequal World’at the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference.

Sanctions Create New Opportunities for Russian Companies

Like any crisis, the sanctions of 2022, besides problems, have created new opportunities for Russian companies. This is the conclusion that HSE University’s experts have come to. Their study results are presented in the report ‘Adaptation of Russian Industrial Companies to Sanctions: First Steps and Expectations’, prepared by HSE University for the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference.

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