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April Conference to Proceed with New Format

April Conference to Proceed with New Format

© HSE University

On March 11, the HSE Academic Council decided to give participants of the April International Academic Conference the opportunity to present their papers at distributed sessions or remotely. Lev Jacobson, Deputy Head of the Conference Programme Committee, explains why such a decision was made and what the new format implies.

Today, in the face of an unfavourable situation caused by the global spread of COVID-19, many conferences in Russia and around the world are either being cancelled or postponed. However, there is no guarantee that in a few months the situation will be more favourable. This concerns both the epidemiological situation itself and the plans of those participants who were planning to come in April. Plans for events such as the April Conference are drawn up well in advance, so rescheduling a large-scale event for the Fall is hardly realistic.

Naturally, HSE University also had to decide what to do with our traditional April Conference, which was to be held for the 21st time this year. The April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development has become the largest expert venue in Russia in the field of social and economic sciences and an event of global scope. Researchers from around the world regularly attend.

Lev Jacobson

Following a proposal by the rector, the HSE Academic Council has decided not to cancel the conference. Cancellation would be unfair to the hundreds of talented researchers who have chosen this particular venue to present their latest research to colleagues. A rigorous and impartial selection process led to approximately 800 participants receiving invitations to join the conference programme. Each of them put a lot of work into their papers. And each of those papers deserves to be presented to the academic community.

However, it is now impossible to hold the conference in its traditional form. First, many international participants may not be able to attend, and they make up a significant part of the programme. The conference has long been popular among researchers from dozens of countries with strong research schools. Second, there is no certainty that participants from Russian regions will be able to arrive either. We do not want the conference to be a purely Moscow-centred event—we have even allocated funds to support the arrival of young researchers from the regions who are planning to present the most interesting papers.

Given the danger of hundreds of people gathering on the same site at the same time, we have decided that rather than cancelling the conference, we would hold it in a distributed format

What does this mean? Separate sections of the conference, as a rule, do not have a large number of participants. The problem arises when dozens of such meetings are held at the same time in adjacent rooms of the same building. If the sessions are distributed over time, the problem largely disappears. Therefore, the format we’ve chosen involves holding the conference over the course of two months, April and May, as opposed to one week in April.

But what about the participation of international researchers? Aswith previous April conferences, we have decided to make use of online communication tools. Some participants have presented previously at the conference while being located thousands of kilometres away from Moscow. This opportunity was made available only to the most prominent international scholars who, for various reasons, could not attend in person. Now this option will be available to all participants.

It seems that we have found the right answer to the challenge that organizers of major international conferences are facing this spring.

Why has HSE decided to take the lead in holding the conference in a new format? Because we are generally used to not giving up in the face of new challenges

And, of course, because HSE University has long used the full capabilities of modern information technology.

I believe that in some cases it will be possible to hold meetings remotely. A special option is provided for this, which is that the paper would be posted on the conference website and discussion would be conducted entirely remotely. It is important that in this case the paper is still presented to the audience of the April Conference and appreciated by it. We are considering other options, which will be offered to participants very soon.

A meeting of the Conference Programme Committee was held on March 12 where actions required to implement the Academic Council’s decision were discussed. The moderators of the conference sections will now work to develop approaches that meet the specific needs of each subject area and the particular composition of the participants. On March 16, we will meet to discuss the ideas. The Organizational and Programme Committees of the conference will put together the proposals and after an online discussion, an updated programme for the XXI April Conference will be made available by the end of next week.

See also:

Russia’s Middle Class: Who Are Its Members and How Do They Spend Their Money?

The HSE Centre for Studies of Income and Living Standards studied the dynamics of the middle class and its behaviour with regard to paid services. The study was based on data drawn from the HSE Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) for the years 2000 to 2017, and the results were presented at the 20th April International Academic Conference hosted by HSE.

Reproductive Evolution: How Birth Rates Are Changing in Post-Soviet Countries

Reproductive behavior is modernizing at different rates in post-Soviet countries. Things are changing faster in Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, where, over the last fifteen years, the average maternity age has increased and the contribution of women in their thirties to their countries’ birthrates has grown. Meanwhile, old reproductive patterns persist in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where firstborns are usually born to parents under 30, demographers Vladimir Kozlov and Konstantin Kazenin note in a paper delivered at HSE’s XX April International Academic Conference.

Live Long There and Prosper: How Internal Migration from Small Towns Works

More than half of school graduates in medium-sized Russian cities will change their place of residence either forever or at least for a long time. According a report on internal migration presented by HSE demographers at the XX April International Academic Conference, these people are lost to their cities.

What Drives Innovation in Russian Companies

As part of the Management session of the XX April International Conference, Carl F. Fey from Aalto University School of Business, Finland, presented his paper on Facilitating Innovation in Companies in Russia: The Role of Organizational Culture. In his talk, Professor Fey spoke about the results of three studies he has been conducting with his team.

‘In a Digital Environment, the Role of Human Teachers Only Becomes More Important’

How does digital technology affect the behavior and health of schoolchildren? What opportunities does it proved teachers and school administrators? These and other issues were discussed by participants in the plenary session ‘Children’s Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ at the XX April International Scientific Conference of HSE.

‘Statistics Should Be Available and Comprehensible to Everyone’

Implementing a digital analytical platform, opportunities for Big Data, and other prospects for the development of Russian statistics were discussed by participants at a plenary session of the XX April International Academic Conference.

Can Youth Bullying Ever Be Eradicated?

Dr. Dorothy Espelage (University of Florida) presented a comprehensive account of her research into youth bullying spanning more than two decades in an invited paper ‘Prevention & Intervention of Youth Bullying and other Forms of Youth Aggression: Research Informed Strategies’ at the XX April International Academic Conference.

‘To Achieve Our Goals, We Need to Involve a Wide Range of Universities in National Projects’

The role of regional and industrial institutions of higher education in achieving national development goals must increase, and leading universities will help them. This was the conclusion reached by participants of the plenary session on Russian higher education that took place as part of the XX April International Academic Conference.

How to Boost Russian Food Exports

The plenary session ‘Strategy of Russian Presence at Global Food Markets’ took place as part of HSE University’s XX April International Academic Conference, where participants discussed the prospects for Russian agricultural exports to Asia, as well as the use of nonconventional investment models, such as Islamic financial tools.

‘The President is Focused on Increasing the Birth Rate and Reducing Poverty by Half’

National objectives for social development, as well as existing risks and opportunities in implementing these objectives were discussed by participants of HSE International April Conference.