Yvzf-BgbGso19 June 2013

The PAST Centre (Tomsk State University), Applied Research Centre (European University at St. Petersburg), Social and Economic Research Laboratory (Tomsk State University) hold research seminar ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation Between Universities and Industry’. The roundtable discussion addresses the most salient issues of cooperation between large manufacturing companies, corporations and universities in Russia with particular focus on research and development efforts of Russian universities and their interaction with large businesses that outsource R&D to universities.

Topics for discussion:

  • How manufacturing companies externalize and contract out R&D to universities
  • Possible ways of externalization and contracting out R&D to universities and their effectiveness.
  • Intermedia between the large businesses and universities in R&D. Who is the intermediary?
  • Is there a demand for educational programs to train intermediaries?

Prof. Olga Bychkova, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the Applied Research Centre (European University at St. Petersburg), senior research associate of the PAST Centre (Tomsk State University)
Evgeniya Popova, Ph.D. in Politics, Associate Professor, Political Science Department, Director of the PAST Centre (Tomsk State University)

Keynote speakers and attendees:

  • Tatiana E. Zabolotnaya, Deputy Director for Public Relations, Uniskan Ltd.
  • Ilia P. Kaminski, Ph.D in Pharmacy, Director, Forecast Centre (Siberian State Medical University)
  • Natalia I. Kichko, Director, Business Incubator (Tomsk State University)
  • Prof. Anna V. Lozhnikova, D.Sc. Economics, Department of Economics (Tomsk State University)
  • Anton B. Ryadinski, Deputy Director for R&D, Uniscan Research Ltd., Skolkovo Fund resident, Novosibirsk
  • Prof. Artem Y. Rykun, D.Sc. Sociology, Dean, Department of Philosophy (Tomsk State University)
  • Sergei V. Soloboyev, CEO Uniscan Ltd.
  • Anna V. Chernysh, research associate, STS Centre (European University at St. Petersburg)

14 May 2013

The PAST Center hosts a public seminar ‘Promises, Expectations and Responsibility: A Case of Nanotechnologies. Expectations and Accountability in Nanotechnology’ by Dr. Elena Simakova (Exeter University, Great Britain).

Elena Simakova — scientific Director of the PAST-Centre of the Tomsk State National Research University, lecturer at the University of Exeter (UK).

Author of articles in the journals Social Studies of ScienceScience, Technology & Human ValuesNew Technology, Work and EmploymentScience as Culture and others. She is preparing for the release of her book Marketing Technologies: Corporate Cultures and Technological Change to be published by Routledge.

This seminar explores the issues of the relationship between technology, expectations, and responsibility by moving from basic examples in Science and Technology Studies (STS) towards more ambitious developments such as nanotechnology. It will consider roles of technical artefacts in negotiating responsibility in technological cultures. To what extent, however, are ‘classic’ STS approaches with their focus on technological artefacts themselves applicable to attempts to assess the potential of contemporary technoscience with its distributed and complex sets of players, material infrastructures, and accountabilities? What becomes appropriate focus of analysis when dealing with claims and promises of, for example, nanotechnologies? During the seminar we will begin to open up questions for discussion concerning the construction of promises of large «technovisionary» initiatives and their assessments based on recognition of politics within technoscienctific enterprise.

13 May 2013

The PAST Centre and the Economic and Social Research Centre (Department of Economics, Tomsk State University) host a public seminar ‘Smart Regulation and Regulatory Impact Assessment’ by Prof. Olga Bychkova (Ph.D. in Public Administration, Ohio State University, professor of European University at St. Petersburg; Senior research associate of the PAST Centre).

In 1999 she graduated from the EuropeanUniversity at St. Petersburg, in 2003 she defended her candidate’s dissertation in economic sociology (HSE), and in 2007 she received a Ph.D. She worked as a post-doc at the University of Helsinki. Since 2012 she has served as a research fellow at Research Centre for Policy Analysis and Studies of Technology (TomskStateNationalResearchUniversity). She is a recipient of fellowships and grants from the U.S. State Department (Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program), Social Science Research Council and the Academy of Finland and others.

The lecture explores the idea of smart regulation and the issues of regulatory impact assessment. State regulation in the US and EU is examined to address the following issues: What made public official all over the world seek assessments of the regulatory impact? Do their regulatory efforts qualify as ‘smart’? What distinguishes ‘lesser’, ‘better’ and ‘smart’ regulation? What is the meaning of ‘regulatory impact assessment’? The lecture also addresses the possibility of introducing ‘smart regulation’ concepts, the challenges to introducing smart regulation and regulatory impact assessment procedures in Russia.

 26 — 27 April 2013 

The PAST Center hosts public lectures by Dr. Dmitry Bulatov, an artist, researcher and art theorist. Dr. Bulatov, who won the National Innovation Award for Contemporary Visual Arts, curates and co-curates numerous science art and new media projects of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Baltic Branch, and the Innovation Park of Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University. His genetic engineering project, artful fluorescent tadpoles were named among Wired’s Top 10 New Organisms of 2007.

Science Art: Science and Technological Art as the Assumed Possible

Today science art is a playground where new artistic concepts are tested. However, these attempts to fathom the New should not be perceived as purely technical or aesthetic endeavors. Instead we can come to view them as cultural statements and cultural actions. Artwork can lead the society toward self-reflection and awareness. Dr. Dmitry Bulatov, the curator of the National Centre for Contemporary Art, uses biomedicine, robotics and information technologies – the perks of the 21st century — to uncover the origin of ‘artificial’, ‘technological’ reality and understand its impact on our society.
Is there a way to re-invent the lingo which employs imagery to give form and substance to the world of technologies? This lecture provides an insight into the process of creating new forms and identities, whereas artists are viewed as creators rather than mere protagonists in the narrative history of technology.

Post-Biology Art

The lecture addresses a wide range of issues in contemporary art and its novel tools – robotics, information technology and biotechnology. Artistic message is delivered through living or semi-living substance, and the focus is on the method of merging a living organism and technically reproducible unit. Understandably, the resultant artificiality takes the center stage in post-biological artwork. In this lecture Dr. Dmitry Bulatov, the curator of the Baltic Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art, addresses several projects and practices and explores how the modern techno-biological culture can help the humankind control evolution of organic nature. Artworks of avant-garde techno-biology artists are used to illustrate the lecture.

19 April 2013

The PAST Centre hosts a public seminar ‘Studying engineering science in action: the heterogeneous networks of holographic computer memory project’ by Dr. Ivan Chalakov.
Dr. Chalakov’s seminar explores the case study of Bulgarian Laboratory of Optical Storage and Processing of Information established in mid 1970s with the aim of designing holographic computer memory. The presentation tries to revive the ‘open-end’ situation of the 1970s wherein the scientists and engineers strove to achieve their goals and realize their strategies. It was a high-strain situation when important decisions regarding the underlying physics, technology, investment and market strategies, production capacities and curriculum had to be made.

29 March 2013

The PAST Centre hosts a public seminar ‘Engineering and Science: Education, Research and Innovation’ by Prof. Vitaly Gorokhov. The seminar examines historical cases in engineering education to illustrate the propelling effect of technoscience on engineering modernization in Western Europe.

Recommended reading:

Abstract, papers (Vitaly G. Gorokhov. 2012. Scientific Engineering Education: Convergence of Russian and German Experience. ‘Vyssheye Obrazovaniye v Rossii’ ( ‘Higher Education in Russia’). No.11, p.138-148. (pdf)

Vitaly G. Gorokhov. 2012. Philosophy of the Invisible: Metamaterials and Discovery of the Negative Deflection Principle by Prof. Veselago. ‘Germaniya I Rossiya’ (‘Germany and Russia’ No.1 (3) (pdf)

27 — 28 March 2013

The PAST-centre holds two lectures:  

  • ‘Physiology  of University Ranking’

Over the last decade we have witnessed a heated competition among universities to move up their rankings into top lists. The intensity of the competition and the grotesque amount of money spent on it is comparable with that of the football frenzy. However, the mechanics of university rankings, impartiality of the process and the effects of introducing the ranking system have raised many questions and necessitated some research. The lecture will provide an introduction to the collaborative research project ‘Physiology (Modus Operandi) of University Ranking’ implemented by the PAST Centre (Tomsk State University) and European University at St. Petersburg. The project addresses the most salient issues of university rankings in Russia, institutionalization of the ranking and possible implications. The lecture explores the international efforts to study the ranking mechanisms and draws on the studies to assess procedures of university ranking in Russia, including the much-talked-about ranking by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

  • ‘University Ranking in Russia. Who Come Out on Top and Why?’

The inevitable question of any ranking is why do some rank better than others? What can be done to move universities up the list? What is in store for science and education if ranking takes priority over everything else? The seminar explores university ranking in Russia using a variety of criteria (locality, lifetime, profile) and data on evolution of education in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation (migration patterns, academic personnel ratio, demand for educational services). For universities with low rankings our conclusions might appear discouraging: apart from few Moscow-based and St. Petersburg-based universities, the rank of a specific university largely depends on its initial position and locality, and allocation of funding as per the university ranking is a sure way to widening the gap between universities.

Dr. Mikhail Sokolov, Ph.D. in Sociology, assistant professor, Department of Political Science and Sociology, regional programs director, European University at St. Petersburg;
Dr. Anastasia Kincharova, research associate, Department of Political Science and Sociology, European University at St. Petersburg

1 March 2013

The PAST Centre hosts a public seminar ‘Citation Index in Social Sciences: Pros and Cons’ by Katerina Guba. The lecture addresses one of the most controversial issues of bibliometric criteria in social science. The discussion was based on comparative research of scientific ‘communication’.

She received her Masters from the European University at St. Petersburg and completed her graduate studies at the European University of St. Petersburg in 2012. Since then she has been completing her dissertation, dedicated to a comparative analysis of the academic journal systems in the social sciences. She has participated in projects for the study of the academic world: Petersburg Sociology (2009-2010) and Systems of Status Symbolism in the Five National Academies (2009-2011, supported by HSE). Author of articles in the following scientific journals:Anthropological ForumSociological Research, Journal of Sociology and Social AnthropologyGender StudiesIssues in Higher Education and others.

21 January 2013 

The PAST Centre hosts a public seminar ‘Obstetrics Practice: Technocratic vs. Natural Models of Childbirth’. In the 20th century the obstetrics has become a growingly expert-dominated area involving a close monitoring of procedures and ‘technologisation’ of childbirth. Yet, the process of delivery is a natural physiologic event not to be meddled with unless necessary. Good obstetrics practice implies maintaining a fragile balance between the natural course of events, medical technology and public perception of cultural definition of childbirth. The lecture highlights the technologies used in obstetrics practice in Russian maternity clinics.

16 January 2013

The PAST Centre hosts a public lecture ‘Technologies Revived: Film and Lomography’ by Alina Kontareva. The lecture will discuss how obsolete technologies are revived, re-discovered and put to use again. To illustrate the phenomena, case studies of lomography and film photography are presented.

24 December 2012

The PAST Centre hosts a public seminar ‘Gilbert Simondon’s Philosophy of Machines’ by Dr. Mikhail Kurtov. The seminar addresses Gilbert Simondon’s approach to technical evolution and mode of existence of technical objects. On 21 December 2012 Dr. Kurtov presented his paper ‘Humanitarian Studies of Software’ which explores social, cultural and ontological determinations underlying software development processes.

8 December 2012

The PAST Centre hosts a public seminar ‘Smart and / or Powerful? Intellectuals and Authorities in Historical and Modern Context’ by Andrei Velikanov (Higher School of Economics). The seminar will focus on understanding social utopias. Today, social utopias offer ambitious plans to solve social problems, create a lingo to describe the new reality, offer new sensible models of a just society. In reality, social mechanisms are a far cry from what is sensible and are typically used to enhance power rather than intellect. What are the smart supposed to do in the world that belongs to the strong? The paper examines the 2,000-year old loosing strategy and modern winning tactics.

23 November 2012 

The PAST Center hosts a public seminar ‘Skolkovo: Interaction-Enhancing Design’ by Dr. Olga Stolyarova (PAST Centre, the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration). The seminar addresses the issues of designing Skolkovo as an ‘interaction zone’. Creation of the ‘interaction-enhancing zones’ (Peter Galison) is named among the top priorities of the Skolkovo project. The idea is to provide the space where scholars representing a wide range of disciplines can communicate and interact, thus contributing to inter-disciplinary studies and promoting ‘innovation approach’.

Olga Stoliarova was born in Moscow in 1970. In 1995 she graduated from the Museology Department at Russian State University for Humanities in Moscow (major: Cultural Studies; minor: Religious Studies). In 2000 she defended a PhD thesis in philosophy of technology at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow. Her research projects were supported by Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Russian Foundation for the Humanities; Russian Foundation for Basic Research; Russian State University – Higher School of Economics; Fulbright International Senior Scholar Exchange Program; Central European University, Curriculum Resource Center; Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society (IAS-STS). She is the editor of «Ontologies of Artifacts: An Interrelation between ‘Natural’ and ‘Artificial’ Components of the Lifeworld» (Moscow, 2012) and the author of articles in Philosophical Studies; Epistemology & Philsophy of Science; Philosophical Problems; Journal for General Philosophy of Science and others.

 10 November 2012 

The PAST Centre hosts a public seminar ‘Marketing of Innovations: Possible Pathways’ by Artem Shipitsin (Iridium, Moscow). The seminar explores the adventure path that leads from scientific discoveries or design concepts to commercialization of products. Discoveries, concepts and ideas themselves are of no demand until they grab consumers’ interest. Should we be worried about this at the early R&D stage? What does international and local experience tell us? How do we configure the ‘science – technology – consumer’ and ‘consumer – product – marketing’ schemes with regard to rapid prototyping and user testing? How do we research demand for a non-existent innovation product? What is the role of business incubators and other innovation support / patronage structures? In the lecture, real life cases are used to illustrate how these issues were dealt with in successful and failed projects of innovation marketing.

October 2012

The PAST Centre hosts a public seminar ‘Popular Science: Science, Media and Public’ by Roman Abramov (Higher School of Economics). The lecture addresses the issues of evolution of Popular Science, from the early days of popular science to advent of participatory approaches to interaction between scientists and the public. Popular science is a broad-ranging communication system which has a long history dating back to the Age of Enlightenment. The system has changed, shattering the status quo between science journalism, scientific society and the public. Layman-style scientific information transformed into Popular Science, an industry of information exchange between science, media and the public.