Future-forming interdisciplinary research

Urban Futures and Human Capital


Nick Dunn invited to shape the agenda on research by the European Commission. His presentation, ‘Tomorrow’s Cities: innovative approaches to tackling social challenges’, presented a conceptual framework for understanding future cities and its implications for future policy development. Invited to lead a session by the EU Policy Lab, the collaborative and experimental space for innovative policy-making of the European Commission, his talk explained the role of foresight techniques and their application and relevance in addressing social challenges in different contexts.

The conference, JRC Annual Conference: Human Capital for Territorial Growth held in Brussels sought to respond fully to the human capital concept, which refers to the knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes embodied in individuals that help to build up personal, social and economic well-being. Moreover, it inextricably relates to individuals’ capacity of trust and networks and it is influenced by cultural and territorial settings. Human capital has long been recognised as one of the most essential contributors to the prosperity of regions and cities, the places where people live. Broadly understood as including social and entrepreneurial capital, it is essential for innovative solutions to societal challenges. Understanding the needs of human capital locally and harnessing its potential is essential for scientists and policy makers who want to provide concrete responses to societal challenges and values.

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