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The Industrial Research Institute commissioned the IRI2038 foresight project to research how developments in technology, business processes, regulations and other spheres will impact the art and science of research and technology management over the next 25 years. This project will develop provocative yet plausible views of the next 25 years’ events, developments and other change forces impacting research and technology management and how IRI can best respond to these alternate futures.

Foresight project Intelligent Infrastructure Systems

The IIS project was launched at the Institution of Electrical Engineers on 26th January 2006.

The aim of the project was to explore how science and technology may be applied over the next fifty years to the design and implementation of intelligent infrastructure systems that are robust, sustainable and safe. 

Introductory seminar on strategic intelligence and foresight approaches. Concepts, methods, and practical applications

The session is in French language and is led by Hugues de Jouvenel, chief editor of the Futuribles journal, international expert in futures studies and strategic planning.


Journey into 2050

David Brin is a scientist, best-selling author and tech-futurist. His novels include Earth, The Postman (filmed in 1997) and Hugo Award winners Startide Rising and The Uplift War. A leading commentator and speaker on modern trends, his nonfiction book The Transparent Society won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association. Brin's newest novel EXISTENCE explores the ultimate question: billions of planets are ripe for life. So where is Everybody? David's main thread: how will we shape the days and years ahead - and how will tomorrow shape us? 
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Video abstract: 
  • Video 1 discusses the role of Science Fiction novels in exploring the future, imagining its possibilities and their plausibility
  • Video 2 talks about how technologies can make the difference in the future, provided that we use our pre-frontal lobes to explore their challenges and opportunities.
  • Video 3 highlights the important role that the internet and similar agile and free systems and mindsets will have in the future
  • Video 4 looks at how policies and technologies can help us to face future challenges, focusing in particular on the issue of privacy, secrecy and security
  • Video 5 presents David's views on the significance of Futurium and similar participatory approaches, also in terms of what they imply for a possible future vision of Europe. 

To watch or listen to this interview, please click on the videos or the podcasts on the right of this page. A synthesis report is also available for download below.

Leading Picture: 
Name Interviewee: 
David Brin
In this interview, scientist, best-selling author and tech-futurist David Brin takes us on a journey into 2050 from the perspective of Science Fiction, highlighting how this literary genre can help to explore the possibilities of the future and make us aware of its possible risks. He describes exciting worlds where technologies offer us information, opportunities and light – as long as we are also aware of and have the power to protect ourselves from the possible downfalls. He encourages us to be curious about the future, so as to be ready for the fast-approaching changes that it will bring.
Interview Record: 
YouTUBE Screenshot: 


The project devised a simple but novel methodology for identifying possible future trends in infectious diseases in animals and humans in China, of priority concern to the Chinese authorities. It used a model of disease drivers (social, economic, biological or environmental factors that affect disease outcomes, by changing the behaviour of diseases, sources or pathways) devised for the Foresight Programme in the United Kingdom.

Future technology analysis for biosecurity and emerging infectious diseases in Asia-Pacific

This paper presents a future-oriented technology analysis (FTA) project on the control and management of emerging infectious diseases (EID) in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation region. It combines several FTA methods. Technologies that are potentially effective in biosecurity and M combating EID were first identified by bibliometric analysis, online survey and scenario planning. Roadmaps of these technologies were then built. Workshops to conduct the foresight process were held in the region. Four scenarios and six technology roadmaps for the region were developed.

International Strategy and Foresight Report on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Atoms and molecules are the essential building blocks of all things. The manner in which things are “constructed” with these building blocks is vitally important to their properties and how they interact. Nanotechnology refers to the manipulation or selfassembly of individual atoms, molecules, or molecular clusters into structures to create materials and devices with new or vastly different properties. Nanotechnology can develop new ways to manufacture things.

Foresight Study ICT R & D Trends in India

The Foresight Study ‘ICT R&D Trends in India’ aims to provide insights that will help enhance the on-going research partnership in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) R&D between India and European Union member states. It identifies the technology priorities areas common to India and EU member states such that their collaborations be accelerated.

Related trends

Now for the Long Term

As the world slowly emerges from the devastating Financial Crisis, it is time to reflect on the lessons of this turbulent period and think afresh about how to prevent future crises. The Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations focuses on the increasing short-termism of modern politics and our collective inability to break the gridlock which undermines attempts to address the biggest challenges that will shape our future.

Connecting the Futurium to research

DG CONNECT has developed the Futurium to experiment with new policy-making models based on scientific evidence and stakeholder participation. Futurium combines the informal character of social networks with the methodological approach of foresights to enable everyone to co-create futures and policy ideas that matter to them.



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