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Steven Popper

Steven Popper

Steven Popper

Distinguished University Professor in Decision Sciences

School of Social Sciences and Government


Strategy under uncertainty
Foresight methodology
Computer-assisted reasoning
Robust Decision Making (RDM)
Science, technology, and innovation policy
Economic development
Emerging technologies
Innovation adaptation
Defense and security

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Dr. Steven Popper is a professor of Science and Technology Policy at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, where he teaches courses such as Complex Adaptive Systems and Policy Analysis; Participatory Foresight for Democratic Governance and Social Change; Technology Foresight and Policy Analysis; and Robust Decision Making.

For more than 37 years, he was a senior economist at RAND Corporation in the United States, a nonprofit institution that develops innovative solutions to public policy challenges and decision-making problems.

Steven Popper served as associate director of the Science and Technology Policy Institute, where he directed studies on critical technology issues for the White House (1996-2001) and also served as chair of the Industrial Science and Technology section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In addition, he has also served on several advisory boards including the Ohio State University Battelle Center for Science, Engineering, and Public Policy and has been a consultant to the World Bank and the OECD.

His areas of research experience include strategy, planning and decision-making under deep uncertainty; energy and transportation planning; national science and technology policy; technology-based regional economic development; comparative strategies for managing technological change; economic system transitions; international security and defense; defense industrial bases; and strategic competition.

He was co-founder and chief operating officer at Evolving Logic Inc., a company that created the revolutionary Computer Assisted Reasoning system (CARs) and a methodology called RAP™ (Robust Adaptive Planning), which addresses complex decision-making. He was the founding chair for education and training of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty (DMDU) and is currently the Society’s chair for finance.

He also served on several academic and international boards such as the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research, the Israel Innovation Institute, and the U.S. National Research Council, among others.

He is a frequently invited keynote speaker and lecturer. Recent presentations include those to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the U.K. Ministry of Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, and the P.R.C. Ministry of Science and Technology on topics such as foresight, transformational recovery, and the quantitative and qualitative application of Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty concepts, to name some.

Steven Popper has co-authored more than 35 peer-reviewed books and monographs and more than 20 papers and articles on topics ranging from game-changing technologies, future and foresight studies, and socioeconomic analysis, to security, innovation, risk management, government policy-related issues, Robust Decision Making, and Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty, among others.

One of his publications, Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Long-Term Policy Analysis (2003, RAND MR-1626), for which he was co-principal investigator along with Robert J. Lempert and Steven C. Bankes, provides a methodological framework for decision-making under deep uncertainty that has been applied to several policy-related issues as Robust Decision Making.

He has been recognized with several awards such as the RAND Innovation Spotlight Award for the Exploratory Policy Analysis Tool (ExPAT, 2022) and being named a Harold and Colene Brown Faculty Fellow by the Pardee RAND Graduate School (2016). He was also the recipient of the RAND Bronze Metal Award (2014), the RAND Silver Metal Award (2008), and elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2005).

Steven Popper joined Tecnológico de Monterrey as Distinguished University Professor in Decision Sciences for the School of Social Sciences and Government.

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Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Economics, University of California, Berkeley
  • B.Sc., Biochemistry, University of Minnesota
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  • Systematic Method for Prioritizing Investments in Game-Changing Technologies: The Evaluation and Comparison Process Framework, with Richard Silberglitt, Cynthia R. Cook, Lisa Pelled Colabella, Paul Dreyer, Eric Hastings, Alexander C. Hou, Alexis Levedahl, Edward Parker, Scott Savitz, and Li Ang Zhang, RAND Corporation, RR-A632-1, 2022.

  • Use of Predictive Analytic Tools to Assess Technological Emergences and Acquisition Targets, with Richard Silberglitt, Anna Jean Wirth, Christopher A. Eusebi, Inez Khan, Jasmin Léveillé. RAND Corporation, RR-A539-2, 2022

  • Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty: From Theory to Practice, with Vincent A. W. J. Marchau, Warren E. Walker, Pieter J. T. M. Bloemen (eds.), Springer International Publishing (10.1007/978-3-030-05252-2), 2019.

  • “Designing a Robust Decision–Based National Security Policy Process: Strategic Choices for Uncertain Times”, in Frank, A.B. and E.M. Bartels (eds.), Adaptive Engagement for Undergoverned Spaces: Concepts, Challenges, and Prospects for New Approaches, 2022.

  • “Forecasts and decisions: A commentary on Lustick and Tetlock”, with Robert J. Lempert, Paul K. Davis, Tim McDonald, in Futures and Foresight Science 3 (2), June 2021. <>

  • China's Propensity for Innovation in the 21st Century: Identifying Indicators of Future Outcomes, with Marjory S. Blumenthal, Eugeniu Han, Sale Lilly, Lyle J. Morris, Caroline S. Wagner, Christopher A. Eusebi, Brian G. Carlson, and Alice Shih, RAND Corporation, RR-A208-1, 2020.

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