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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’

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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:

‘An STI-Accelerated and Informed Future is Possible’

The Twelfth International Academic Conference ‘Foresight and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy’ is kicking off at HSE University on November 22. Alexander Sokolov, chair of the organising committee, talked to the HSE News Service about the evolution of the foresight agenda. Two of the conference speakers, Ibon Zugasti from Spain and Mlungisi Cele from South Africa, shared some highlights of their research.

UNESCO Chair on Future Studies Opens at HSE University

In 2022, a HSE University department joined the ranks of UNESCO Futures Literacy Chairs. This builds on the work of the ISSEK International Research and Educational Foresight Centre, and the activity of the Human Capital Multidisciplinary Research Centre. Professor Alexander Sokolov, head of the new department, Director of the International Research and Educational Foresight Centre, and Deputy Director of HSE ISSEK, spoke about the establishment, aims and objectives of the UNESCO Chair on Future Studies.

Eurasian Barriers: Obstacles to International Economic Integration in the Post-Soviet Space

The creation of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) contributed to the development of mutual trade between their member countries. That process picked up pace significantly starting in 2019. Still, it is too early to say that the efforts by EAEU member states to achieve economic integration have been an unqualified success. This problem is the focus of a joint report that a group of experts from Russia (HSE), Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan presented at the XXIII Yasin International Academic Conference organised by HSE University in April.

Representatives of More than 30 Countries Took Part in the XXIII Yasin International Academic Conference

The XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development has come to a close at HSE University. In 2022, more than 3,000 participants took part in the event, including 250 registered foreign representatives—almost 10% more than last year.

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‘Uncertainty Transforms the Social Protection System into a Safety Cushion’

As part of the XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference, HSE University held a meeting between HSE scholars and Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation. The title of the meeting was ‘The Future of Social Security: Trends and Forecasts.’ The experts and the Minister discussed the experience and lessons learned from population support initiatives during the pandemic, social protection efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, measures to counter sanctions, and the situation in the labour market.

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The number of older persons and their life expectancy are on the rise in many countries worldwide. As they age, some people need assistance with daily living activities, something their family is not always capable of providing. This creates a demand for professional long-term care that integrates medical and social services. How Russia can benefit from other countries' experience of providing public long-term care is discussed in a report* presented by the HSE Centre for Social Policy Studies at the XXIII Yasin International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development hosted by the HSE University.

Justice 'Ex Machina': Using Artificial Intelligence to Fight Corruption

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HSE Experts Discuss the Situation in the Country with Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin

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