‘The Programme of the April Conference has Turned Out to be Rather Broad’
The preliminary programme of the XII International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development has been organized by the Higher School of Economics with the participation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Andrey Yakovlev, Vice Rector of the HSE, told us about the applications received, the work of experts and the preparation of the forum programme.
— Mr. Yakovlev, what is the procedure of the application for participation in the April Conference – the International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development? How many applications were selected by the Programme Committee?
— This year we have changed the procedure for applications and selecting participants for the conference. We are now accepting only individual applications, unlike previous years, when we also accepted joint applications. As a result, we’ve received about 800 applications to present papers. And importantly, the number of overseas applications has increased dramatically to about 170.
Another important change is that this year experts from other countries, such as Frei from the U.S., Hubert and Zweinert from Germany and Ledeneva from Great Britain, participated in the evaluation of applications along with Russian specialists. In my opinion, the fact that such prominent international researchers participated in the creation of the programme, proves that the conference is widely acknowledged and respected as an important scientific event.
The preliminary version of the conference programme has been created. Despite the fact that the selection procedure has been made stricter, the programme of the April conference turned out to be quite broad: it will include over 120 sessions. This is partly due to the fact that we tried to follow the principle that each session should contain no more than 3 or 4 presentations (previously a session could contain up to 6). The idea is to give more time for discussion of the presentation and topic.
Out of of the total number of applications, about 45 percent were not selected. It is interesting that this share was the same for both Russian and international applications.
— What is the geographical origin of the conference participants, what Russian regions will be involved?
— The geographic spread is very wide: the programme includes speakers from 31 countries excluding Russia. The most represented will be Germany (14 presentations), USA (12 presentations), Finland and Turkey (7 presentations each), Ukraine, Great Britain and France (5 presentations each), China (4 presentations). Out of the total 424 presentations included in the programme, 93 reports will be delivered by international participants. This is much more than in previous years, when the maximum number of foreign speakers, including specially invited guests, reached 52.
Out of the Russian applications, a considerable share (over 240) came from the Higher School of Economics. 42 of them were made by postgraduate and undergraduate students of our university. For the Russian regions, a noticeable share of applications came from Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg.
It’s worth saying that this year the Organizing Committee will be stricter in relation to the creation of the final version of the conference programme. Unfortunately in previous years we had some failures in sessions due to the non-attendance of some speakers included in the programme. That’s why this time, as part of the information letter about the inclusion of the applications in the programme, we have asked our colleagues to confirm their participation and asked them to send the final versions of their presentations by the end of February. If they fail to do this, the presentations will be removed from the programme.
— What is the status of the conference participants whose applications have been successful? What will be the topics of the conference?
— There will be a wide variety of participants, including members of academies, postgraduate and undergraduate students. For example, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Viktor Polterovich will speak on the general principles of social analysis, and a master’s student of the HSE Faculty of Management, Ksenia Levykina, will speak on the models of corporate governance in BRIC countries. Among the big sessions in the programme, I can name sections on Macroeconomic and Economic Growth, Regional and Urban Development, Sociocultural Processes and Theoretical Economics. The section on Sociology will be very large this year and include 10 sessions. The sections on Economic History and Methodology of Economics will be particularly interesting, in my view.
A new thing at the conference this year will be the EACES-HSE workshop for PhD students in comparative economics, which has been organized jointly with the European Association for Comparative Economic Studies. The idea of the seminar is to promote the development of contacts between Russian and European PhD students studying comparative economics. For each of the 6 presentations selected for the seminar (there was a total of 19 applications from 11 countries) one ‘grown-up’ researchers, including our colleagues from EACES, will give a detailed commentary, which will help the seminar participants in their further work on their theses. It is our plan that by organizing a regular English-language section for PhD students working in comparative economics as part of the April Conference, we will promote the HSE among young European economists and this will be helpful for the establishment of contacts and interaction including employment opportunities at the HSE.
— Who received personal invitations to the Conference this year?
— Of course, we have invited some people to give plenary sessions. At the invitation of Evgeniy Yasin, Conference Organizing Committee Chairman and Academic Supervisor of the HSE, we are expecting to welcome the prominent Polish reformer, Professor Leszek Balcerowicz, while Saskia Sassen, a well-known expert on the problems of regional and urban development, has already confirmed her participation.
In addition to sessions formed from successful applications, some roundtable discussions have also planned. They are ‘linked’ to important events or trends in economic and social life. For example, at the initiative of Lev Yakobson, First Vice Rector of the HSE, a roundtable will be held on the role of non-commercial organizations in the social sphere. In addition to this, heads of the international research laboratories which are being created at the HSE, have also been personally invited to the conference, where they will have the opportunity to present the projects they are implementing.
Andrey Shcherbakov, HSE News Service