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Promoting EU wide Foresight approaches

Two calls for tender were published and 9 other specific studies ( Most of the studies are still in a preliminary stage ) on prospective key issues for EU research and innovation policy were launched in 2004.

The future of R&D in services: implications for EU research and innovation policy (PREST - UK)

The objective of the study ( The other partners are TNO (Netherlands); ARCS (Austria); and SERVILAB (Spain). Start/end of contract: 19/08/04-19/08/05 ) is to explore new approaches for research and innovation policy of the EU. In order to meet the objective, the study will:

  • develop an explanatory framework including new elements for research and innovation policies that are geared to a knowledge-based service economy;
  • spell out the economic value of knowledge creation that is embodied in a chain stretching from education, science, research, technological development and innovation;
  • deliver a set of empirical analyses of service sectors, relevant scenarios of the role of services in the EU knowledge-based economy in the year 2015;
  • provide conclusions as to on new priorities that are liable to be called for EU research and innovation policies.

So far, a strategic project workshop was held in Manchester on the 21st of February 2005. Therefore two very useful background documents, an "Analysis of Concepts and Data" and a "Review of Policy Perspectives" were produced. Plans for National Seminars were set up in order to enable exchange of information and views between researchers, statisticians, and service practitioners; and, crucially, to explore future issues - the trends, drivers and scenarios for services R&D.

Emerging science and technology priorities in public research policies of the European countries, the US and Japan (CM International - FR)

The main objective of the study ( Start/end of contract: 19/08/04-19/08/05 ) is to scan the leading world economic areas on emerging science and technology priorities in public research policies and to relate these priorities to new science and technology developments and their economic and societal impact. The study shall identify scientific and technological developments and research priorities in which Europe could take the lead in the years to come. The study shall contribute to the development of research and innovation policies of the European Union.

The study is being carried out for the European countries (EU Member States, Associate and Candidate Countries) and its main competitors, e.g. the United States and Japan in order to provide a comparative overview of emerging scientific and technological developments with an accompanying analysis of the socio-economic context in which they arise.

The overview will include an analysis of whether and why those developments could be seen as a priority for future EU research and innovation policies and programmes. So far, 41 priority emerging technologies could be identified and covered: Biotechnologies, agro-food industry, health (36%); ICT (20%); Energy, environment (20%); Materials, chemistry, physics, electronics (15%); Construction, infrastructure (5%); Technologies for design, management and production (2%); Transport, aeronautics, space (2%). The characterisation of the 41 technologies brings out the fact that the most important impact of them is on Science & Technologies and Industry and Business. Most of these technologies will be mature by 2030 but biotechnologies will be still in emergence after 2030. Comparing the public support to R&D and to technologies in Japan, USA and EU, the analysis shows that the support is much more targeted on one or two fields in Japan and US than in Europe. In terms of technologies, the Life-sciences seem more supported in Japan and US than in Europe. EU seems to have a comparative advantage in terms of sustainable development technologies.

Perspectives of national and regional research and innovation systems in an enlarged EU 2015: specialization, complementarity and competition (Logotech - EL/GR)

The main objective of the study ( Start/end of contract: 7/12/04 -7/02/05 ) is to provide a basis for research and innovation policy design in order to enhance the competitiveness of the EU and the quality of life of the European citizens in the long run. It shall synthesise the available knowledge with a focus on the policy features most relevant for policy-makers in fields related to making innovation successful. Therefore it will:

  • map and assess European national and regional innovation systems in the EU in relation to World growth sectors;
  • study the development, dynamics and potential of the most interesting areas/domains/clusters of linked industrial, scientific and technological activities, and the composition, dynamics and potential evolution of their corresponding "macro-regions" (especially from an innovation systems perspective);
  • build scenarios for how these "macro-regions" will evolve and how the specialisation in Europe could look like in 2015;
  • provide policy options and recommendations tailored to the macro-clusters, i.e., who should do what in what area for the specialisation of Europe in a global perspective.

The future of research and innovation policies in an enlarged EU: key issues 2015 (Socintec - ES

The major challenge for an enlarged Europe is to develop a common European vision and policy procedures that, on the one hand, preserve the cultural diversity and richness of Europe and, on the other hand, facilitate co-operation and mutually supporting policy-making procedures.

The main objective of the study ( Start/end of contract: 19/8/04-19/08/05 ) is to identify key issues for the future of research and innovation policies in an enlarged European Union. So the main trends of research and innovation policies in European countries with the time horizon 2015 will be anticipated. Based on a limited number of scenarios of how research and innovation policies might evolve, implications for research and innovation policies in an enlarged European Union shall be analysed

EU research and innovation policy and the future of the European Common Foreign and Security Policy CFSP (ISIS Europe - BE)

The objective of the study ( Start/end of contract: 19/8/04-19/08/05 )is to provide the European Commission with scenarios related to a European Foreign and Security Policy and explore their implications for EU research and innovation policies.

The research work is divided into three major tasks:

  • Identify the 10 most important key policy issues for the security of the EU until 2015;
  • Develop scenarios for policy analysis;
  • Identify implications for EU research and technology policy.

Scenarios of future science and technology developments in emerging economies 2015 (Ernst & Young - Real Estate Advisory Services, B.V. - NL)

The objective of the study ( Start/end of contract: 7/12/04 -7/02/05 ) is to aid European Union policy-making in the field of RTD by providing plausible scenarios for the future RTD developments in new emerging economies, with the year 2015 as time horizon. Special attention is given to the developments of linkages and co-operation processes between these economies and the EU and the scenario work will focus on impacts for Europe and allow conclusions concerning the EU RTD policy. The study will take into consideration potential RTD powers as well as countries with rapidly expanding economies and potential strong science, education and innovation systems (China, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa). Scenarios focused on RTD related issues, especially the mechanism governing the demand and supply for knowledge, will be developed for these countries. The analysis will take the following issues into account:

  • emerging fields of scientific, technological and/or industrial strength;
  • factors promoting or blocking RTD developments;
  • modes of RTD co-operation and interaction between these countries and the EU;
  • possible motor regions;
  • management culture and practice;
  • trade and the factors influencing it (such as international trade agreements), etc.

The scenarios will be of a both qualitative and quantitative nature and have an emphasis on the drivers of change and their evolutions and impacts. Conclusions will be drawn as how the scenarios affect the developments in Europe (EU25), especially in the field of RTD and economic development. The policy implication for Europe of different scenarios will then be analysed, in particular for RTD policy.

Scenarios for research and technology development and cooperation with Europe - Scope 2015 (PREST - UK)

A key objective of the European Union's research policy is to open the European Research Area (ERA) to the rest of the world. In doing so, research can contribute to the solution of specific problems faced by third countries in equitable partnerships. SCOPE 2015 will generate 10-year scenarios to be used by policy makers to guide decision processes on the shape and scope of future RTD cooperation between Europe and other parts of the world. Specifically, the project ( Start/end of contract: 7/12/04 -7/02/05 ) will focus upon a selected group of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (excl. South Africa), the Maghreb and Mashreq, Latin America (excl. Brazil and Mexico), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (excl. Russia). Within SCOPE 2015, RTD policy makers and experts will be engaged as national correspondents from those countries covered. National RTD status reports will be produced and will be used as the basis for developing a range of plausible, yet contrasting, scenarios for future RTD cooperation between Europe and the regions under study. A mixture of online and face-to-face workshops will be used to develop and validate the scenarios, as well as to identify and scope future policy measures.

Professions with a science and technology dimension in Europe 2015: implications for education and training policies (RAND Europe - NL)

The objective of the study ( Start/end of contract: 1/12/04 -1/12/05 ) is to contribute to a better informed policy-making process with the help of an advanced form of Foresight. The study will propose how Foresight can be best conducted at national and European levels and formulate guidelines for utilising Foresight in the (European) policy making process. The study foresees to evaluate a design case on "sustainable mobility" in order to evaluate and test the proposed guidelines. Draft guidelines have been developed on the basis of a review of recent major Foresight exercises which had both a European and a sustainable development component. The study will also propose a check list for identifying and using science and technology priorities relevant for achieving the objective of sustainable development in the context of Foresight exercises. The changed science/policy relationship over the last decades will be taken into account in order to allow Foresight exercises to be well-embedded in the contemporary policy context.

In addition to these 9 studies, other activities were also designed to promote EU wide Foresight approaches, such as the setting up of several expert groups in the period 2002-2004: on the one hand on the future of higher education/research relations ("Measures to improve Higher Education/Research Relations in order to strengthen the strategic basis of the ERA") and the role of higher education and research for the ERA ("Higher Education and Research for the ERA: Current Trends and Challenges for the near Future"), on the other on "Converging Technologies" ("Foresighting the New Technology Wave" expert group, see Newsletter issue 5, at newsletter.htm ), with the aim to analyse the convergence of nano-bio-info- technologies and cognitive and social sciences and its consequences for future European research. A new expert group on "Key technologies for Europe 2020" has been set at the end of 2004 in order to synthesize available Foresight studies in Europe and identify emerging science and technology opportunities (see below "New expert group on "Key technologies for Europe 2020").

Finally, Foresight initiatives and studies with a European perspective are being constantly monitored in order to identify common issues emerging from national exercises thus allowing early networking and exchanges and to exploit the knowledge gained for informing EU policy making.

New expert group on "Key technologies for Europe 2020"

An expert group on "Key technologies for Europe 2020" was set up in December 2004 with the purpose to synthesise the analytical and Foresight work that exists at national and European levels in relation to the following areas of science and technology: Biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technologies, communication technologies, transport technologies, energy technologies, environmental research, social sciences and humanities, manufacturing and materials technologies, health research, agricultural research, cognitive sciences, safety technologies, complexity research and systemic, service research. The main objective is to produce a set of reports presenting longer term perspectives for research in these fields. The group will have to evaluate the potential of the scientific and technological emergent fields of research in the 15 areas while stressing the possible impact on competitiveness and the possibilities of exploiting the synergies between the technologies. A final conference will be held on 19-20 September 2005 to confront the results, analyses and proposals by widening the debate in a mixed group of experts and decision-makers.