Dr Rafael Popper is Research Fellow at Manchester Institute of Innovation Research of the University of Manchester, where he completed his PhD on 21st Century Foresight. He is also Innovation Director and CEO of Futures Diamond in Czech Republic; Director of iKnow - The Innovation, Foresight and Horizon Scanning System; Director of the Summer/Winter Schools of the International Foresight Academy (IFA); and Leader of the Mapping activities of the European Foresight Platform (EFP). His main areas of work include: ‘foresight’ as an instrument of policy, the development of foresight and horizon scanning methodology, the design of forward-looking activities and their evaluation (with a focus on European and Latin American innovation policies). He is also an economist from the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and before moving to the UK he worked for two years (2001-02) as Research Fellow at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the International Centre for Science and High Technology (ICS) in Italy. His research contributed to the development of the first online foresight tools (mid-1990s) and he has since been advising future-oriented initiatives of government, business, research and education actors at local, national and international levels.
Further information about his recent activities can be found in his blog at:
Since the late 1990s Dr Popper has pioneered and developed online foresight tools and he is widely known for raising the profile of Latin American foresight and for designing and leading the first evaluation of a national foresight programme in this region (i.e. the Evaluation of the Colombian Foresight Programme). At the international level, Dr Popper is recognised for his contributions to foresight practices and methodologies and, as a result, in 2009 he received two Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence for his outstanding and highly commended publications in these areas. He is also co-editor of an Edward Elgar’s Book of the Month: “The Handbook of Technology Foresight” (2008).
He has been Principal Investigator in several European Union funded foresight initiatives such as the Euro-Latin SELF-RULE Network and the Mapping Foresight activities of the European Foresight Platform (former EFMN). Dr Popper is also Director of the innovative iKNOW System providing state-of-the-art foresight and horizon scanning platforms to interconnect knowledge about surprising and emerging issues, the so-called Wild Cards and Weak Signals. iKnow technological innovations include: iBank (to characterise and store emerging and ‘frontier’ issues, such as wild cards and weak signals, aka WI-WE), iScan (to monitor and search WI-WE issues), iDelphi (to assess and prioritise WI-WE issues), iLibrary (to share innovation and FHS documents), iCommunity (to engage and network innovation and FHS people), iNews (to feature key contributions to iKnow’s FHS systems) and iOracle (to map FHS practices, players and outcomes – in collaboration with the mapping activities of the European Foresight Platform). He has also been member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Rationales for the European Research Area and various foresight advisory boards. And as part of the research agenda of the iKnow project he developed a web-based ERA Toolkit on Applications of Wild Cards and Weak Signals to Grand Challenges and Interdisciplinary Research Agendas.