Research in Foresight
The European Community, through the European Commission and its Directorate-General for Research , has been funding several scientific projects covering research in Foresight.
Some of them are over, having been funded by the 4th Research Framework Programme and more especially by the Targeted Socio-Economic Research programme (TSER) .
The following TSER projects are particularly relevant for Foresight activities:
Formakin (Foresight as a Tool for the Management of
Knowledge Flows and Innovation)
The principal aim of this project was to explore how actors formulate scenarios on technological development, specifically those expressed through foresight processes that operate within and between distinct constituencies in different national contexts in order to identify the contribution foresight makes to managing innovation.
Europta (European Participatory Technology Assessment)
The overall aim of this project was to advance the understanding of the role of participatory technology assessment (PTA) by critically assessing the experiences to date of different European national participatory initiatives, to identify criteria for the practical implementation of participatory methods and to contribute to the development of participatory methods and practices in technology assessment.
ASTPP (Advanced Science and Technology Policy
The ASTPP network reviewed the use of a number of intelligence tools in innovation policymaking before going on to examine how they could be used in different combinations to enhance strategic intelligence inputs into policymaking. Critically, the network also examined the need for a system of "Distributed Intelligence" which could provide policymakers with access to strategic intelligence outputs produced in different locations for different reasons. Specifically, the report uses a number of stylised fictions to explore the design requirements of a "system architecture" for distributed intelligence.
The 5th Research Framework Programme has financed some more recent projects, in particular through the Improving the Human Research Potential and the Socio-Economic Knowledge Base (IHP) horizontal programme and its specific action STRATA .
(Design For Future Needs)
This project is to conduct research into the tools, techniques and methodologies used in design forecasting practice in different industry sectors and in different geographical areas of the EU. These techniques, used to anticipate the needs of the future population, will enhance planning and foresight initiatives in industry, the public sector and government policy throughout the EU.
The project consists of a study of current design forecasting practices, documentation of three case studies and definition of social, industrial and economic themes and trends.
The results will be a report and website which describe the value of design forecasting practices to foresight initiatives to enhance our ability to anticipate needs and generate innovative proposals that will contribute to our future quality of life. The final conference will recommend strategies for embedding design forecasting into policy planning and foresight initiatives.
eFORESEE (Exchange of Foresight Relevant Experiences for Small European and Enlargement Countries)
Building upon achievements of previous initiatives such as FOREN, FOMOFO, IOFCO, C+ and The Baltic STRING project, eFORESEE will conduct 6 new pilot foresight exercises in domains that have not been already covered, with a focus on the challenge of integrating accession countries into policy making processes of the European Union, both at the regional level and at the level of the ERA. Explicit attention will be given to the use of a 'Knowledge Management' approach to the design and implementation of the local foresight actions, as well as to the integration of local foresight 'experiences' into global research resources for policy makers in Europe.
Experts from the EU will participate in the pilot project planning workshops to contribute knowledge and experience from previous foresight activities in regions or specific sectors. Policy makers from the Accession States will be invited to participate to facilitate capacity building for foresight and policy development in Accession States. Three major international conferences, aimed at policy makers in Europe and the Accession countries, will be organised in Malta, Cyprus and Estonia, with a view to stimulating further research on issues of current interest. These will be publicised and promoted via existing European networks such as those of RITTS-RIS, Eurada, RETI and ERIS@.
Europolis (Scenarios for the Evaluation of the European
Science and Technology Policy)
The Europolis project aims at conceiving and discussing possible institutional scenarios for further evolution of Europe's Science and Technology policy, with respect to its content, major new orientations and initiatives for its evolution. It starts from the basic premise that Europe lacks an overall strategy in research and technology, taking into account the deep changes within the scientific enterprise and its environment. EU funded science and technology activities represent one third of research with is presently performed in various European frameworks (EC programmes, the European Space Agency, CERN, etc.).
The project will promote and bringing depth to a debate on Europe's science and technology policy, through analysis and scenarios which ill be discussed and cross-examined with policy-makers. In effect the project aims at providing a platform for discussions about S&T policy.
for Regional Development)
The aim of this thematic network is to bring together two communities, which due to their different focuses and trajectories have so far evolved relatively independently, and, therefore, have not used the considerable potential of close cooperation to the necessary extent: researchers, experts, policy and decision makers involved in the fields of foresight, technology assessment, strategic planning and of regional development and innovation policy.
The project aims to create a forum where the different groups can interchange experiences in the two fields, and bridge the existing gap between their respective communities. The network will consider and explore the peculiarities of the different regions and Member States in Europe. The final aim is to identify good practices, which could be used to guide and inform specific Foresight activities at regional level in different parts of Europe.
Four Motors Foresight Initiative)
The project aims to devise innovative regional foresight methods by developing them in a structured way as a trans-regional team, and in close cooperation with the Foren network (see above). These innovative methods will be used to implement a series of eight pilot foresight projects.
The project aims also to develop and disseminate good practice guidelines, learning the policy lessons from the pilots by implementing a monitoring and evaluation system and to act as the foundation for full scale foresight projects in the consortium regions.
ITSAFE (Integrating Technological and Social Aspects of
Foresight in Europe)
Foresight is increasingly used at regional, national and European levels as a strategic policy and planning tool. There is a clear need for a greater contribution to Foresight from the social sciences but so far their contributions been rather small. This Accompanying Measure will develop a strategic analysis of the evolution of Foresight-related initiatives throughout Europe, with a specific focus on the integration of social and scientific/technological aspects. This analysis will help to deliver more effective socio-economic contributions to Foresight-related RTDI policies in the context of the European Research Area and in the New Framework Research Programme. This project will emphasise the different perspectives of social and natural scientists/researchers, industry, public/societal groups and policy makers in contributing to Foresight in ICT, life sciences and environment & planning.
(Technology Assessment in Europe; Between Method and Impact)
TAMI creates a structured dialogue between Technology Assessment (TA) experts and decision-makers in Science and Technology (S&T) policy area on the issues of method and impact assessment in current European TA. Two teams drawn from major TA institutes throughout Europe will work together with decision-makers on a reference system of European S&T foresight processes that identifies best practices relative to policy needs. This will involve a thorough comparison amongst current TA-Methods and identification of impact assessment criteria for their evaluation.
The main aim is to improve the ability of TA to provide valuable policy advice and at the same time to maximise the effect of, and recognition given to, European S&T policy.