Dr. Rafael Popper, Finland

Dr Rafael Popper (PhD)
Dr Rafael Popper (PhD)


January 18, 13.30: Science, Society and Risk Management


Foresight and the Future of Science

Foresight has emerged as a key instrument for the development and implementation of research and innovation policy. Foresight is a systematic, participatory, prospective and policy-oriented process which, with the support of environmental/horizon scanning approaches, is aimed to actively engage key stakeholders into a wide range of activities anticipating, recommending and transforming (ART) technological, economic, environmental, political, social and ethical (TEEPSE) futures.

Foresight is characterised by long-term orientation, use of a range of formal tools and techniques for long-term analyses, involvement of a wide pool of expertise and stakeholders and crossing disciplinary boundaries and professional compartments. Five non-exclusive generations of foresight have influenced practices over the last decades: 1st Generation (focused on dynamics of technology), 2nd Generation (focused on technology and markets), 3rd Generation (focused on technology and markets + social dimension), 4th Generation (focused on distributed role in the STI system) and 5th Generation (focused combined with other strategic fora).

Overall, there are top five rationales to argue the case for, and inform the design and use of, foresight are: directing or prioritising investment in STI; building new networks & linkages around a common vision; extending the breadth of knowledge and visions of the future; bringing new actors into the strategic debate; and improving policy-making and strategy formation. This presentation illustrates through five cases (Irish Technology Futures; Media Weak Signals; VTT Lighthouses; CASI-F; and VERA case) how these rationales have shaped foresight and the future of science.

About Dr. Rafael Popper

Dr Rafael Popper (PhD) is Principal Scientist in Business, Innovation and Foresight at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, and Honorary Research Fellow at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR) of the University of Manchester, where he completed his PhD on 21st Century Foresight. He is also Director of Executive Education in Foresight and Innovation Futures at the Manchester Business School (MBS); Innovation Director and CEO of Futures Diamond Ltd in the UK and the Czech Republic. His main areas of work include: ‘foresight’ as an instrument of innovation policy, the development of foresight and horizon scanning methodology, the design of forward-looking activities and their evaluation with a focus on technological and social innovation policies, and the assessment and management of sustainable innovations of different types, including: product, service, social, governance, organisational, marketing and system innovations.

He is an economist from the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and he has also worked as Research Fellow at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) based in the Area Science Park of Trieste in Italy. At UNIDO, Dr Popper was responsible for the Technology Foresight Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNIDO TF-LAC) and for actively supporting the Technology Foresight Programme for Central and Eastern Europe and Newly Independent States (UNIDO TF-CEE/NIS). He has also worked as consultant for several international organizations including the European Commission, World Bank, UNDP, United Nations Economic and Social Council, UN-REDD Programme, Andean Community of Nations (CAN), among others; as well as for several government and business organisations in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Australia.