Skip to main content

The futures project

Objective

Specific Objectives in 2002:

To develop a blueprint for a Futures 2020 project;
To develop a viable concept and programme of activities for a EU - wide Network of Excellence in the area of strategic prospectives;
To bring to a successful completion all activities scheduled to finish in or by
2002 (FOREN, IOFCO, EU Presidency Conference).
Planned Deliverables in 2002:

Specific deliverables to DGs:

FOREN: Final Report and Practical Guide to Regional Foresight (DG RTD)

FUTMAN: first interim report (DG RTD)

Contributions to two ETAN-STRATA Working Groups on Foresight (DG RTD)

As a result of the research:

Futures-Enlargement Project - Technology, Knowledge and Learning Final Panel Report

EU Spanish Presidency Conference Proceedings

Feasability Study for a continuous Technology Mapping activity (with costing, structure, methodology)

Summary of deliverables made by: 31/12/2001

- Publication of the "ISTAG Scenarios for Ambient Intelligence 2010", (February);

- Publication of article on "S & T indicators in the new economy: the 'soft technology' gap" by J. Gavigan, E. Cahill and J. Rojo on "Statistics on Science and Technology in Europe", (Data 1985-1999), EC - Eurostat, Theme 9 Science and Technology, (March);

- Publication of article on "Panorama de la prospectiva en Europa", by James Gavigan and Fabiana Scapolo, on the Boletín OPTI (nº 8);
- Observatorio de Prospectiva Tecnológica Industrial, "Prospectiva para una Europa sostenible y competitiva", (April);
- Article on "Foresight and the Long-Term View for Regional Development" by James P. Gavigan and Fabiana Scapolo, published in "The IPTS Report", Vol. 56, (July);
- Article on "Connecting the Unconnected: the Role of ICTs for Development in Rural and Remote Regions" by Mario Zappacosta, published in "The IPTS Report", Vol. 56, (July);
- Publication on "Balance of nature? Sustainable societies in the digital economy." by Ken Ducatel in "Foresight" periodical, Vol 3 No 2, (August);L- Publication of a Special issue of refereed journal "Foresight", Vol. 3, Nº 4, edited by the Futures Team, which includes 7 articles authored by IPTS staff, (September);
- Publication of the study on "The mobility of academic researchers: academic careers and recruitment in ICT and Biotechnology", requested by the ITRE Committee of the European Parliament, (Sept/October?);
- Finalisation and publication of Societal Bill special issue of "Futures" (forthcoming, November?);
- Publication of a Special issue nº 59 of "The IPTS Report" on "Foresight and Regional Development", (November).

Output Indicators and Impact

Publications - the target is average of 2 refereed publications per research staff

Workshops / Seminars / Conferences - active participation at an average of 2 major conferences.
Summary of the project

The Futures Project is the IPTS flagship in the area of strategic prospectives and is the main point of contact for the joint work programme with DG RTD / K.
This project will move into a new two/three year cycle of work in 2002. The main aim is to examine the policy challenges of the post-enlargement European Union. The initial phase (6 months) will involve exploratory workshops and consensus building exercises with a broad constituency of stakeholders internal to the JRC, external experts and clients, mainly from Commission services, European policy making and policy planning circuits at EU, Member State and other public and private governance levels. It will aim to refine and develop the main research questions for the project. The main phase of the project (18 months) will start in the final quarter of 2002 following a period during which the main project architecture is developed. In parallel, background studies and working groups will be launched to provide forward analyses of main contextual variables (demographics, economic position, infrastructural setting).

During 2002 the project will also act as the point of focus for an exercise to anticipate DGs requirements for support from the JRC on science-based regulations in the next five years, as well as a platform for a stronger contribution by IPTS in the JRC's effort to support the ERA (by developing a networking and mobility/training strategy in the field of foresight studies).

In 2002 several of the activities will build on work which has been developing over the past few years. These include:
- FUTMAN (the future of manufacturing), jointly undertaken with TSD Unit, funded by DG Research, and
- Technology Mapping (ESTO) - replacing the former Techno-economic Analysis Report (jointly undertaken with ICT Unit) both of which originate from the Futures Technology Map report (2000).

Other activities also constitute further development or completion of work which has been evolving for some years including:
- FOREN (foresight for regional development);
- Co-organisation of the EU Spanish Presidency Foresight Conference (May 2002);
- IOFCO - ESTO project comparing four industrially oriented national foresight programmes;
- Technology, Knowledge and Learning - a contribution to the Enlargement Futures project;
- Scientific Ethics in candidate countries - a contribution to the Enlargement Futures project.

However, some new activities have been added to help lay the groundwork for a major strategic prospective activity to start next year under the new framework programme. These include:
- Foresight competence mapping (an ESTO project) requested by DG RTD / K under the joint work programme;
- Prospective School (A training activity in Prospective under ESTO)
- Strategic Futures Network of Excellence feasibility study;
- Preparation of a new Futures Project: Futures 2020

Of these, the latter two are closely related in that the Futures 2020 project could become a main activity of a Strategic Futures Network of Excellence.

Other activities also underway through 2001 which form part of the Futures Project include contributions to two ETAN-STRATA expert groups one dealing with Foresight in the European Research Area, and another with Regional Foresight.

See also the related EU enlargement process pre-accession (pa) project.

Rationale

The rationale underlying the Futures Project in 2002 is composed of a number of different elements.

First of all IPTS-Futures must become pivotal in the EU foresight / strategic prospective system. IPTS Futures output has earned the necessary credentials and recognition both with peers and the policy user community to justify this aspiration. But it also means that major effort is required to maintain and strengthen the position that has been attained.

Secondly, the tenability of IPTS Futures position in the EU foresight system is critically dependent on relationships with actors and sponsors of strategic prospective in Member States. Our activities in 2001 take us in the direction of developing both broader and deeper Networks with the organisations and individuals in Member States who exercise key functions on the national scene.

Thirdly, the mobilisation of its networks of national organisations to generate strategic prospective work at a trans-national scale in a way which adds value to national work will have to be a defining feature of IPTS-Futures led activities. Related to this will be the obligation to concern itself with issues and themes which transcend national boundaries, or which come quickly or unexpectedly to the top of the political agenda in a way which a co-ordinated EU-wide response is the most efficient - e.g. questions of public-perception of risk.

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research

Coordinator

Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Address

Seville
Spain