Strengthening scientific collaboration between Colombia and Finland

October 10, 2018 Leave a comment

In the context of the 1st Congress on Bio-refineries and Renewable Energies supported by ICT (BRESICT) held in the city of Medellín (Colombia) on 17-20 September 2018, representatives from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia (UCC) have strengthened their collaboration in a wide range of scientific and technological areas.

The Rector of UCC (Prof. Dr. Maritza Rondón Rangel) and the Director of Research in Engineering at UCC (Prof. Dr. Fernando Colmenares) expressed their commitment to accelerate the transformation of ideas and opportunities generated during the various events and meetings into winning project proposals and concrete action roadmaps.


Some clear indicators of the success and immediate positive impacts of the Congress and its related Co-creation Workshop on Sustainable Bioeconomy & Foresight Cooperation Opportunities are 8 flagship collaboration ideas between UCC, VTT and several organisations from Finland, United Kingdom, Norway, France, Spain, Poland, USA, Israel, China, Greece and Colombia.

These flagship opportunities will be further discussed in a High-level meeting between VTT and UCC with the participation of the Ambassador and the Consul of the Embassy of Colombia as well as representatives from oil and gas companies form Colombia (ECOPETROL) and Finland (NESTE) on the 12th of October 2018 at VTT premises in Espoo (Finland). In addition, a strategic meeting between VTT, UCC and the Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC) from the University of Turku will explore new possibilities to advance research and education collaboration between Finland and Colombia.



Interview with the HSE News Service

June 5, 2018 Leave a comment

logo_с_hse_cmyk_eConsistently ranked as one of Russia’s top universities, the Higher School of Economics (HSE) is a leader in Russian education and one of the preeminent economics and social sciences universities in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Having rapidly grown into a well-renowned research university over two decades, HSE sets itself apart with its international presence and cooperation.

In a recent interview with the HSE News Service, I spoke in depth about my research interests, teaching philosophy and long-lasting collaboration with HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge and Laboratory for Economics of Innovation.

Click here to read the full interview

VTT’s International Excellence and Impact Hat-trick

April 28, 2018 Leave a comment


Three expert workshops (Latin America + Australia + Europe) in three weeks:

  • Latin America Expert Workshop on ‘Innovation Management and Intelligent Leadership’ aimed to co-create knowledge on strategic cooperation opportunities between Finland and Costa Rica.
  • Australia Expert Workshop aimed to create a shared vision and an action roadmap for the establishment of the Innovation Center in the Ballarat region.
  • European Training Foundation (ETF) Expert Workshop on the Future of Work and Skills aimed to promote an open debate for a collective reflection among the experts on the impact of global developments on the future of work and skills in the developing and transition countries.

2018 Course on The ART of Foresight & Sustainable Futures

February 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Interested in shaping the future? Join our 5-day course (2-6 July) on ‘The ART of Foresight & Sustainable Futures’ in the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR). Since 2018 the course runs in partnership with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, a leading global research & technology development organization.

  • To download the 2018 course brochure, please click here
  • To visit the webpage of the 2018 course, please click here

Anticipating, Recommending and Transforming Research and Innovation Futures

The world is experiencing great uncertainties about the unfolding economic crisis and its aftershocks. Many countries, industries and public services face challenging futures where the quest for opportunities is increasingly competitive. Economic discontent has combined with existing political stresses to catch many institutions – and countries – wrong-footed. Meanwhile, globalisation, migration, environmental, political and technological trends are reshaping the rules of the game. This calls for critical reflections on existing assumptions, plans and strategies for the long-term future. Our foresight course explores ways in which decision-makers can address uncertainties. How to produce sound and forward looking results that are useful for decision-makers?

The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research has been running an annual foresight training course since 1999. Building on over twenty years of foresight experience, we are able to call upon a wealth of expertise, from staff with know-how of the practice of foresight, as well as from sponsors and practitioners. The course now runs in partnership with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, a leading global research and technology development organisation. Future-oriented innovation policy research is a key focus for VTT, supported by the Centre’s competencies in qualitative and quantitative methods.

Course staff and invited experts/speakers

Torino Process Expert Roundtable On Policy Evaluation

February 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Relevant policy assessment and evaluation frameworks

The European Training Foundation (ETF) has initiated a reflection on how the Torino Process (TRP) can be used to introduce and promote an evaluation dimension in the exercise.  

To that end, on February 26th an expert roundtable has been organised in Torino (Italy) to share knowledge and practices in the area of policy evaluation, and discuss their applicability in line with the specificities of the TRP and its partner countries.

The expert meeting aims to provide an opportunity to get acquainted with selected aspects of the TRP, and benefit from the knowledge and advice of renowned experts in evaluation concerning key questions, such as whether evaluation could add value to the TRP and if yes, how.

The outcomes of the meeting will inform the preparation of the next cycle of the TRP and help to adjust accordingly the framework and modalities of TRP implementation.

trp logo for web

The Torino Process

The Torino expert meeting offers an excellent opportunity to share lessons learned from state-of-the-art evaluation experiences, such as the twelve (12) key performance indicators (KPIs) considered in VTT’s Strategic and Sound Evaluation Approach (see Hiltunen et al., 2017/forthcoming), the four (4) dimensions and ten (10) key aspects used in the CASI-F Framework for the Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation (see Popper et al., 2017) and twenty (20) fully-fledged evaluation criteria used in the (“old but gold”) MIOIR‘s Evaluating Foresight study (Popper et al., 2010).

Relevant reports


Horizon scanning: why and how to launch it in Lithuania?

February 22, 2018 Leave a comment


The Healthcare Innovation Forum in Vilnius (Lithuania) provides an excellent opportunity to share how VTT‘s Lighthouses research and innovation activities can help to promote ‘Good Life’ in Finland and the World through ‘citizen-centric care’ solutions. In the panel discussion and short keynote I showcased good practices, as well as recent experiences and lessons learned from the UK Horizon Scanning on Healthcare. To download the slides please click here  


The first panel debate at the LAWG’s Healthcare Innovation Forum 2018 on “Horizon scanning: why & how to launch it in Lithuania?” featured the following speakers:

  • Dr. Alvydas Česas, Chief of Oncology & Chemotherapy Clinic at Klaipeda University Hospital. Dr. Česas is a certified physician and medical oncologist with over 20 yrs of experience in the field of oncology. He is also the President of Lithuanian Society for Medical Oncology.
  • Per Troein from VP Strategic Partners, IQVIA, UK. Mr. Troein has been with QI for 19 years and is responsible for the relationship with suppliers and associations. He has deep insight around pharmaceutical pricing and how this issue is handled in different markets.
  • Prof. Dr. Rafael Popper from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Finland/Venezuela/UK. 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.


To see the full programme, please click here.

PS. In case you don’t know where Vilnius is, you may find the following controvertial and cheeky, yet impactful, campaign/news interesting 😉


Pure-blood vs Mixed-race: A timely story warning us about the dangers of social discrimination

January 29, 2018 Leave a comment

To honour the 100th birthday of my grandfather (the late László Popper), my father (Raimund Popper) used László’s diary to write a book about his challenges, experiences and survival strategies as a “mixed race (first degree)” human being who was discriminated against his race and ideologies.

László was born in Vienna (Austria) on 28 April 1917 and his life was remarkably shaped by the inevitable challenge of being “trapped” in the Greater German Reich (Großdeutsches Reich), the empire that Nazi Germany tried to build in Europe during World War II.

László’s life shows that self-leadership can help transform barriers, weaknesses and crises into drivers, strengths and opportunities for survival and constant renewal. László has been a true inspiration for my father (the book’s author) and his best legacy was the capacity to infect the whole Popper family with an unstoppable desire, drive and hope to improve the personal and professional worlds around us.

The book is available in Spanish (for now) but we will soon translate it to English.

  • To purchase the paper version (12,00 €) click here
  • To purchase the e-book version (4,99 €) click here

Below you can find the book description and author’s biography in Spanish.


Una historia verídica, que contempla episodios de la vida del protagonista.

László, durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, a través de los cuales el lector puede sentir las vivencias del ciudadano común, que experimenta la huella del mestizaje, atrapado en el torbellino de la conflagración

Es un llamado para lograr la transformación en el recorrido de una secuencia: desde vísperas de guerra hasta sobrevivencias en el caos.

“Pura sangre vs mestizos” nos invita a conocer-pensar-reflexionar una exquisita obra que decanta nuevas formas de escribir un pasado con devenir, pero también a concebir un nuevo conocimiento, que el lector debe ofrecer, al saltar los límites del umbral de su pensamiento, para construir-organizar, de otra manera, una explicación de la realidad…

Estimula la acción sobre la resignación, el ingenio sobre la sumisión y transmite un mensaje: “Un instante de humanidad te puede salvar la vida”.

Es una luz que se enciende para alimentar la condición humana, que cada hombre lleva dentro de sí, el secreto de la paz en las sociedades.



Raimund Popper

Hijo de una familia de emigrantes, acogidos por Venezuela, a finales de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

En su seno familiar se hablaba armenio como lengua materna, alemán, como lengua paterna, inglés entre sus padres, turco y griego, como lengua de familiares cercanos y naturalmente, castellano entre los hermanos y compañeros de colegio.

Desde temprana edad manifestó su pasión por las matemáticas, astronomía, historia, artes y música.

Recibió formación especial de su tutor, el Lord Inglés, Sir Henry Godwin Johnson y, su interés por la historia mundial fue marcado fuertemente por el profesor holandés Herman Besselink, de Lawrenceville School, donde culminó sus estudios de bachillerato. Ambas personalidades lograron satisfacer sus inquietudes y necesidades de transitar por el mundo de la historia, lleno de pasión y sabiduría.

Realizó estudios de matemáticas en la Universidad de Princeton, USA, en la Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas y, culminó estudios de doctorado en matemáticas en la Universidad de Eötvös Loránd, Hungría.

En su condición de profesor titular en la Universidad Central de Venezuela publicó trabajos de matemáticas en revistas nacionales e internacionales. Dedica su tiempo de investigación a la geometría de espacios con singularidades. Actualmente se desempeña como Jefe de la oficina de información de Futures Diamond Ltd (Praga y Reino Unido), asesora en análisis de información y comparación de datos cruzados en distintas épocas y regiones. Sigue de cerca los eventos relacionados con la evolución de la humanidad. Considera que el conocimiento de la historia y los análisis comparativos de acontecimientos ocurridos en el pasado son fundamentales para la formación cultural e intelectual de todo ser humano, su crecimiento y fortalecimiento de su espíritu.

Reseña de Dr. Gabriel Ugas Fermín. Maestro de la Epistemología

Surge una estética que permite gestar la posibilidad de pensar lo no pensado, evidenciar la diferencia en la repetición, fraguar en los límites del pensamiento para emanciparnos en una historia verídica donde lo más importante es la esperanza sustentada en el honor.

Opiniones de lectores

Calificación  5 estrellas, valorado sobre 5

Luisa 28/01/2018

Pura sangre vs mestizos

Es una obra que me ha tocado profundamente. Con un lenguaje cotidiano del protagonista introduce una época de la historia nada fácil de entender. Una época dura, difícil y cruda que cambió por completo el destino de pueblos que ya habían superado las secuelas de la Primera Guerra Mundial. Es un libro actual porque en muchas partes del mundo aparecen ahora los que se califican como “Pura Sangre” que tratan de aplastar a los que ellos llaman “Mestizos”, los que no piensan como ellos.  

Emocionante y te hace vibrar.

Calificación   5 Estrelas, valorado sobre 5

 Jenni 25/01/2018

Un lectura envolvente y cautivadora

Una lectura envolvente que cultiva, deslumbra e hipnotiza al lector con relatos verídicos de un veterano de guerra, acompañados de una buena dosis de historia que nos permite entender los sucesos más relevantes de la época.

Es sentir en “carne propia” las vivencias de un soldado cuyas decisiones y actuaciones le permitieron sobrevivir y renacer dentro del caos.