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Foresight and the future of science

January 18, 2018

Keynote at the 275th Anniversary Symposium of the 
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


Foresight has emerged as a key instrument for the development and implementation of research and innovation policy. Foresight is a systematic, participatory, prospective and policy-oriented process which, with the support of environmental/horizon scanning approaches, is aimed to actively engage key stakeholders into a wide range of activities anticipating, recommending and transforming (ART) technological, economic, environmental, political, social and ethical (TEEPSE) futures.

In Georghiou et al. (2008) Foresight is characterised by long-term orientation, use of a range of formal tools and techniques for long-term analyses, involvement of a wide pool of expertise and stakeholders and crossing disciplinary boundaries and professional compartments. Five non-exclusive generations of foresight have influenced practices over the last decades: 1st Generation (focused on dynamics of technology), 2nd Generation (focused on technology and markets), 3rd Generation (focused on technology and markets + social dimension), 4th Generation (focused on distributed role in the STI system) and 5th Generation (focused combined with other strategic fora).

Overall, there are top five rationales to argue the case for, and inform the design and use of, foresight: directing or prioritising investment in STI; building new networks & linkages around a common vision; extending the breadth of knowledge and visions of the future; bringing new actors into the strategic debate; and improving policy-making and strategy formation. This presentation illustrates through five cases (Irish Technology Futures; Media Weak Signals; VTT Lighthouses; CASI-F; and VERA case) how these rationales have shaped foresight and the future of science.

See PDF slides: Popper_2018_Keynote-on-Foresight-and-the-future-of-science