iKNOW's 2009 Scanning Space

iKNOW's 2009 Scanning Space

iKNOW is a new horizon scanning and blue sky research project launched by the European Commission. iKNOW aims to advance knowledge and tools related to events and developments (e.g. wild cards & weak signals) potentially shaping and shaking the future of science, technology and innovation (STI).

The iKNOW Consortium consists of a team of eight partners with high-level expertise in foresight, technology transfer and STI policy support and significant IT experience. iKNOW puts forward novel ‘horizon scanning 2.0’ approaches which, on the one hand, promote participatory and bottom-up scanning supported by web 2.0 technologies, and, on the other hand, improve information collection, filtering, communication and exploitation.  

The project is primarily sponsored by the European Commission Directorate General for Research, as part of its Blue Sky initiatives, which are designed to create more proactive European research policy that will be capable of anticipating emerging issues, wild cards and weak signals (WI-WE). Wild Cards are situations/events with perceived low probability of occurrence but potentially high impact if they were to occur. Weak Signals are unclear observables warning us about the probability of future events (including Wild Cards). They implore us to consider alternative interpretations of an issue’s evolution to gauge its potential impact. 

iKNOW intends to become a cornerstone for ongoing and future horizon scanning, foresight and forward-looking activities in Europe – advancing knowledge, tools and capacities for the analysis and use of WI-WE approaches.  

In particular, iKNOW has developed conceptual and methodological frameworks to identify, classify, cluster and analyse wild cards and weak signals and assess their implications for, and potential impacts on, Europe and the world. To do so, the iKNOW project has developed well-defined scanning strategies, such as the inward-looking top-down (ILTD), which is carried out by the iKNOW Consortium and involves the scanning of over 2,000 EU-funded research projects; and the outward-looking bottom-up (OLBU), which required the creation of the iKNOW Community (including policy-makers, decision-makers, researchers and foresight practitioners) to scan a wide range of knowledge sources (e.g. journal articles, blogs, news, etc.).  

For further information about the iKNOW project visit

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