Forecasting the future for sustainable development

Approaches to Modelling and the Science of Prediction

June 2021, 16-18


The method of policy and decision making in both the public and the private domain should rely mainly on three key constituents: (i) assumptions, (ii) modelling and (iii) empirical validation. All of the three are tightly interconnected as one can make the other collapse and as such they all have to be thoroughly researched and validated.

Models should make sound and useful predictions: they should be able to forecast the future in a sense and their validation comes from empirical data. At the same time, the increasing quest for quantification and quantitative forecasting has led to arguable models, to say the least, if not to blatant malpractice. In some domains, there has been a dangerous shift from evidence-based policymaking to policy-based evidence, with extremely high social and economic costs.

Which analytical tools can be adopted in order to guide policy-makers to achieve the desired societal impacts? How can reliability of modeling and prediction be improved? This event will then focus on new approaches to modelling and forecasting towards more sustainable goals, bringing together young scholars and policymakers to discuss a broad range of topics including impact investing, SDGs and ESG impact evaluation, patent analytics, foresight methods.

Involvement of young scholars

In line with the mission of CEST and of the Young Scholar Initiative by INET, this workshop aims at involving particularly young scholars. To this end, we have organized:

Call for Ideas

A call for ideas for young scholars, who will have the opportunity to interact with renowned scholars in fields close to their research project.


Two workshops will provide training on quantitative tools and their limitations for applications in policy making. One will be delivered by OECD and will explore forecasting tools for policy making, the other will be delivered by IBM and will focus on explainability of AI (XAI).

Scientific Committee

Guido Chiarotti, Scientific Director, IN Srl and Senior Researcher, Polythecnic University of Turin

Tommaso Ciarli, Senior Research Fellow, UNU-MERIT, Maastricht & Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex

Magda Fontana, Assistant Professor of Public Economics, University of Turin & Senior Researcher, DESPINA Lab

William Hynes, Senior Advisor to the Secretary General & Head of the New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC), OECD

Alan Kirman, Chief Advisor to OECD-NAEC, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Aix-Marseille III & Director of Studies, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

Daniela Palma, Senior Researcher, Enea

Organizing Committee

Pierfrancesco Beneventano, Princeton University & CEST

Davide Luzzati, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa & CEST

Luca Mosetti, Swiss Re

Tommaso Portaluri, CEST, IN srl & BRIDGES project

Carla Sciarra, Polytechnic University of Turin & CEST

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