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Cooperation in Europe
A European Area of Science and Technology Foresight in the making

A working document has been prepared (and will be regularly updated) in order to inform foresight experts and research institutes dealing with foresight as well as sponsors in the public and private domain on funding opportunities offered by the specific programmes implementing the Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006).

Achieving the aim of using the full potential of Foresight for consistent policy development in Europe requires different types of activities: exploiting the resources available more effectively, and forming a common knowledge base on Foresight results, methods and competencies in Europe.

As first steps the following have been identified:

  • to develop a coherent supportive framework at the European level to ensure systematic use and optimum benefit of Foresight,

  • to identify and mobilise all relevant actors (at whatever governance level), to enable EU-wide networking and capacity building.

The theme is taken up in several European Commission documents, which underline the importance of Science and Technology Foresight for the European Research Area, and in the Commission proposals for the next EU Framework Programme.

Towards a European Research Area
COM(2000)6 (January 2000)
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"greater coherence of foresight exercises and socio-economic intelligence at national and European levels" (Annex 1, §7.1)
Science, society and the citizen in Europe
SEC(2000)1973 (November 2000)
"The supranational scale of many of the problems and the need to develop technological policies at European level, along with the scope for achieving economies of scale, call for platforms for disseminating the results of the national exercises and an exchange of experience, joint foresight exercises on certain common-interest topics, and the development of technical tools (indicators, statistics, socio-economic models) on a European scale." (§2.3)
Proposal for specific programmes implementing the Framework Programme 2002-2006
COM(2001)279 final (May 2001)
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"The activities relating to foresight will include in particular the development of thematic dialogue platforms and a knowledge base for users and producers of prospective analyses, the exploitation of good practices with regard to methodology, as well as the preparation of medium and long term scenarios for science and technology in Europe." (Annex I, §2.2)
The international dimension of the European Research Area
COM(2001)346 final (June 2001)
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"The technology watch activities already in place in Member States as well as in the Commission through the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies of JRC will be complemented and expanded by activities designed to:
· collect, share, and carry out the strategic analysis of, information obtained on scientific, technological and market trends, as well as private sector innovation approaches and methods, paying special attention to multinational companies;
· identify strategic opportunities for worldwide scientific and technological cooperation either on a European initiative or with European involvement;
· strengthen the distribution of technology watch information to the operators concerned: European structures (Eureka, etc.), undertakings (including SMEs), universities and research establishments." (§3.2.4)