European Foresight (ex Foresight for the European Research Area)
Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Acronym: FOREU (ex FOR-ERA)
1. Application of Future-oriented Technology Analysis techniques to Policy fields
1.1 Application of foresight to specific policy fields
Application of foresight to specific policy fields, focussing on research and innovation, is one of the most important lines of activities of the action. The action contributes with its scientific expertise and practical experience of foresight to several multi-partner FP7 competitive projects where it supports, for example, identification of RTD priorities and RTD competencies in the Western Balkan countries (in collaboration with the JRC "Customer and Stakeholder Relations" unit), identification of future of areas for RTD cooperation at the international level, and application of anticipatory intelligence techniques (such as horizon scanning) in order to identify emerging issues that will have impact on the EU research and innovation policies.
In addition, the European Foresight action collaborates with other actions of the IPTS Knowledge for Growth (KfG) unit in order to increase the impact of the policy support they provide to client DGs. The action collaborates for example with the IPTS ERA-Policies action on application of foresight to joint programming of research at the European level. Collaboration has also started in 2008 with other IPTS or JRC actions at research proposal submission level, for example with the JRC Institute for Energy FENCAB and Bio-Energy actions and with the JRC-IPTS AGRITECH action. It is the aim of the action to further develop in 2009 such collaborations and transfer knowledge to other parts of the JRC.
The action may pursue in 2009 a small activity to raise awareness of the potential of foresight as a policy and decision making support tool among policy and decision makers in EU Candidate Countries and Potential Candidate Countries, as part of the JRC Enlargement and Integration Activities, performed in collaboration with UNIDO (UN Industrial Development Organisation) as in previous years.
1.2 Exploratory activities on application of Future-Oriented Technology Analysis to policy fields
With the aim to reinforce impact of foresight and Future-Oriented Technology Analysis on policy making, the action will explore the potential benefits of combining qualitative foresight with quantitative modelling approaches. For example, the action will explore whether and how the diversity of views resulting from the development of different scenarios can enrich the development and results of qualitative modelling, or how modelling results can support the development of alternative scenarios.
In a first instance, the action will explore and select one or two application fields where a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches has potential to provide additional insights to the policy makers. Examples of policy fields that may be suited for such an exploratory work are: energy (e.g. in the context of the SET-plan), structural funds, or funding of research by the Framework Programme. This exploratory work will be developed in collaboration with the other actions of the IPTS-KfG Unit.
2. FTA knowledge enhancement and dissemination
In order to enhance impact of foresight and related FTA instruments on policy making and to improve their academic foundations, the action organises the "International Seville Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA)", an event held every second year. The FTA conference has become a major point of reference for the FTA international community and is recognised as a worldwide forum to improve the governance of the field through the establishment of linkages across various institutions and approaches. Outcomes of the FTA conferences include high-quality scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals.
In order to consolidate, enhance and widely disseminate current knowledge on foresight concepts and practice, the action also maintains and further develops the widely used On-line Foresight Guide (http://forlearn.jrc.ec.europa.eu/guide/0_home/index.htm). The Guide is an element of DG Research's Foresight knowledge sharing platform.