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HSE Student Completes an Internship at OECD

While studying for an MA in the Governance of Science, Technology, and Innovation at the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, students can put themselves forward for internships in leading innovative companies, state agencies, or international organizations.  This year, five candidates were shortlisted in preliminary selection rounds and Anastasia Trunina was the one chosen to do an internship at OECD. She has spoken to HSE News Service about the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology, and Innovation projects she was involved in this summer.

I really felt part of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology, and Innovation team from the first day of my two-month-long internship (which started in late June), when I participated in a general plenary session. Staff, divided into small groups, had a free and frank discussion about their goals for the period 2017–2018 and the nuances involved in collaboration between different project teams. I got this change to complete the internship after the April Conference and a half-hour interview with OECD Policy Analyst Richard Scott, for five students from our MA programme.

The OECD is world-famous international 'think tank'. Its various sections develop instruments for application in evidence-based policies focused on international economic growth and public welfare, and issues reccommendations to partner states as to how they can optimise their policies. The section for Science and Technology Policy under the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, where I was doing my internship, studies the impact of science and technology on sustainable growth and social development. Employees also coordinate work on the STI Outlook, which is published once every two years and contains an analysis of the main political trends and quantitative data on innovative development in different countries, the 2014 edition covers 46 states, including Russia.

This endeavor is rooted in real teamwork, considerable expertise in a wide range of areas, and involves significant effort in collecting, analysing and interpreting statistical data. It is also not always possible to keep track of the extent to which countries apply these recommendations, since there are no means to force a state to do so. During that meeting, Directorate staff set themselves the task of establishing the impact their recommendations have.

Summer is probably the best time of year for an internship with the OECD, it's then that it welcomes the greatest number of interns from across the globe. They form an entire community – with its own plans and events. I was lucky enough to meet many different people who work in a great variety of different sectors, dealing with issues of taxation to global warming. Interaction with an international and diverse group was valuable experience in and of itself.

My arrival in Paris coincided with the taxi-drivers' strike in protest against Uber, organised via mobile app. The fact that the plenary meeting highlighted optimising the regulation of interaction in the digital economy, raising social awareness and aptitude for new technologies, and the issue of information security, is indicative of the extent to which the OECD pays close attention to developments involving economies and technological innovations in society. 

Recently, the OECD has been trying to expand its influence and agenda. In discussions with staff, I often heard people talk about their trips to Peru, Colombia, Indonesia and other countries that are not OECD members. I even had the opportunity to help organize a working visit of the delegation to Kazakhstan under preparation work for the Overview of National Intellectual Property Systems. I was also involved in preparing the Overview of National Intellectual Property Systems of Sweden and the Analysis of Inclusive Innovation Policies and Knowledge Triangle projects. Working on four projects was challenging from a time management perspecitve: I needed to run several different workstreams simultaneously, set goals and prioritise my time so that each task was completed to the highest standards.

Knowledge Triangle

The Knowledge Triangle project is worthy of special mention. An increase in demand for knowledge, which changes dynamically, means that it is absolutely vital to strengthen and develop new formats for interaction between the main players and innovation systems.

The Knowledge Triangle is a relatively new concept regarding the collaboration between universities, business, and authorities, on three support vectors – innovation, education, and research. Situated at the intersection of two systems, education and scientific research, while also gaining autonomy and taking on an increasingly market-oriented approach, increasingly incorporating both innovation and entrepreneurship, educational establishments are in a position to gradually become the key element in innovation systems, and that is why they play a central role in this triangle.

The OECD places even greater emphasis on this in its new recommendations regarding science, technology and innovation policy. As part of the Knowledge Triangle project, OECD staff expand empirical data about collaboration between universities, businesses and the authorities – and analyse international best practice. For example, in several countries universities are merged with state research centres to improve education and research quality. I gathered data on international policies to improve cooperation between higher educational institutions, research organisations and business.

The OECD's own organisational structure is also optimised, for example, by ridding it of problems in communication and information exchange between the various different directorates and departments. Data on higher edutcational establishments needed for the Knowledge Trianlge project for the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation, were to an extent collected by the Directorate for Education and Skills. One way of solving this issue proposed at the plenary session was to create a massive archive of working data for various departments.

Summer is probably the best time of year for an internship with the OECD, it's then that it welcomes the greatest number of interns from across the globe. They form an entire community – with its own plans and events. I was lucky enough to meet many different people who work in a great variety of different sectors, dealing with issues of taxation to global warming. Interaction with an international and diverse group was valuable experience in and of itself.

This will not end up being just another line in my CV: I will continue to collaborate with these teams and continue research during my MA dissertation which will be jointly supervised by Richard Scott at OECD and Dirk Meissner at HSE.

 

 

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