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Issue 11, 2nd quarter 2006

Foresighting Europe Newsletter

Forthcoming Foresight events

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FOR-LEARN query system now online


You can contact the Science and Technology Foresight Unit :

Shared visions, common research futures


Knowledge is defined today as a learning and cognitive capacity. There is a fundamental distinction between information and knowledge, information consisting of data which, unlike knowledge, cannot generate new information on its own. Current literature presents several typologies of knowledge, based on its source or format, whether it is "implicit" or "explicit", or on the distinction between knowledge that is "embrained", "encultured" or "embedded". This extension of the concept of knowledge is revealing a number of contemporary phenomena: firstly, the field of actors involved in producing knowledge is expanding; and, secondly, research activities themselves are being redefined. Reconceptualising knowledge could take us even further: it might enable "research" (the generic form of knowledge production) to have new economic and social impacts.

The future of key actors in the European Research Area

In order to achieve a knowledge-intensive economy, we must rethink societal development and renew the frameworks put forward by the social and economic sciences. By redefining knowledge, we could allow research - the generic form of knowledge production - to have new economic and social impacts.

Prospective studies of the Foresight S&T Knowledge Sharing Platform

In order to promote EU-wide Foresight approaches, prospective studies on key issues for EU research and innovation were implemented within the framework of the "European Science and Technology Foresight Knowledge Sharing Platform". An overview of three of them is presented here.

Scenarios for future scientific and technological developments in developing countries 2005-2015

The specific focus of SCOPE 2015 has been on RTDI cooperation with countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Maghreb and Mashreq (MEDA), and Latin America (LA). All four regions are important strategic partners for the EU and for a variety of different reasons, including trade, investment, the protection of habitats and the global environment, international security and migration. RTDI can make important contributions to all of these policy areas.

Emerging science and technology priorities in public research policies in the EU, the US and Japan

The study provides a comparative overview of emerging scientific and technological developments in Europe and its main competitors - the United States and Japan - with an analysis of the socio-economic context in which they arise. By providing recommendations for public support to emerging science and technology priorities, the study aims to contribute to the development of the EU's research and innovation policies.

Using Foresight to improve the science-policy relationship

This project formulated practical guidelines to optimise the policy contribution of Foresight at European level. As a first major application of these guidelines, the study attempted to design a European Foresight on European RTD policy in the area of transport, integrating the goal of sustainable development. This emphasis on RTD policy and sustainable development is central to Europe's vision of the future.

Forthcoming Foresight events

European forum on nanosciences: a converging approach across disciplines, 19-20 October 2006, Brussels

The field of nanosciences is now advancing rapidly thanks to the strong synergy among disciplines, with increased connections with biotechnology and biomedicine, information technology and computing science, as well as with cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience. The "European Forum on Nanosciences" aims to explore the wide range of new possibilities, underlining the international and interdisciplinary character of this field.

A new report "European research outlook 2006" is being prepared by DG Research and is expected to be issued by the end of the year

Emerging economies such as China and India will reshape the world economy over the coming decades. An expanding global economy and rising population will challenge our planet in terms of the environment, and will also increase the demand for energy, food and water. In addition, the expanding global economic and cultural divide increases the threat of political instability, conflicts and terrorism. These changes will affect an ageing Europe in future years; research and technology will be part of the response to these challenges.


The For-Learn query system is now online together with the Foresight guide

Despite all the experience gathered within the framework of Foresight over the last twenty years, newcomers sometimes still find it difficult to access the available knowledge. The online Foresight guide is a dynamic tool that makes information on Foresight more comprehensible and accessible to a wider public. It is aimed at practitioners of Foresight, as well as at all policy-makers and administrators willing to launch a Foresight activity. It provides users with clear guidelines on the various stages and necessary steps to design and carry out a Foresight exercise and first level support to practitioners. Another tool labelled the "query system" is now online and continuously offers individually targeted support to people who use Foresight by answering individual queries or refer them to other sources and contacts.


A list of recent publications.


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