What is foresight?
FOR-LEARN Foresight Guide (JRC-IPTS): “Foresight is a future-oriented way of thinking that gathers anticipatory intelligence from a wide range of knowledge sources in a systematic way and links it to today’s decision making”
Luke Georghiu (1996): Technology foresight is “a systematic means of assessing those scientific and technological developments which could have a strong impact on industrial competitiveness, wealth creation and quality of life.”
Why foresight-enriched methodology for socio-economic impact assessment of research infrastructures?
Making political and investment decisions on constructing new or upgrading existing large-scale RIs is a subject of thorough feasibility and sustainability analyses as well as analysis of ex-ante impacts.
The main purpose of the Research Infrastructure Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Methodology (RIAM) is to serve as analytical framework and decision-making tool for justifying investments in new large-scale RIs with local, national and/or pan-European significance or in existing ones to expand their scope or to change the domain. The RIAM methodology is designed to cover as many aspects as possible in describing the contextual frame and the expected S-E impacts of the planned RI projects.
Foresight is a key policy making tool used to systematically assess socio-economic, technology and organizational developments and identify those driving forces and factors that could have strong impact on industrial competitiveness and social benefits brought in the region by a RI. Foresight implies for anticipatory intelligence. Beside the increased awareness on future development trends foresight provides, it implies primarily for shaping the long-term future and decreasing its level of uncertainty.
Within the RIFI project foresight is suggested as a complementary tool to the RIAM methodology for the following reasons:
- As participatory approach foresight could contribute to filling in gaps in statistic and narrative data (especially in the field of social and environmental impacts) by eliciting multidisciplinary expert knowledge.
- Foresight enhances the transparency, consensus building and commitment in the course of the analytical process by involving diverse stakeholder groups.
- Foresight is a value-driven process that can help highlight the strategic objectives of the RIs and the potential beneficiaries or stakeholder groups affected by the RI impacts.
- It provides future-oriented insight to the impact assessments by building desired and plausible/feasible future visions and development paths.
- Conducted in a systemic way foresight can facilitate the exploration of the hosting region and the RI and their interplay as a system and to elucidate the system’s evolution through the different stages of development of the RI.
- The participatory and multidisciplinary features of the foresight process are useful for bringing to a synthesis the diverse knowledge derived from the different modules of RIAM and providing a holistic global picture of the analyses.
- Foresight can translate complex and expert messages into societal language for better communication with policy-makers and different stakeholder groups
Further to its contribution to the RIAM analytical framework the foresight process could be applied for identification of the potential users of the RIAM methodology and the potential customers of the RIAM results – this may be considered as very significant in terms of identifying their interests and presenting the results in the appropriate formats.
The potential of foresight to support decision-making processes and for the utilization of RIAM itself is further elaborated in the foresight-enriched RIAM to be delivered by the end of the project.
- European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures
- European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures
- European Foresight, JRC-IPTS
- European Foresight Monitoring Network
- FOR-LEARN On-line Guide on Foresight
- UNIDO Technology Foresight Manual
- UNIDO Technology Foresight
- ForeIntegra Practical Guide for Integrating Foresight in Research Infrastructures Policy Formulation (PDF)
- Foresight initiative of the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research
- Research Infrastructures actions under the Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006): Evaluation of pertinence and impact, Evaluation study, 2009
- The Role of Research Infrastructures for a competitive Knowledge Economy, EC Workshop, 29-30 June 2009, Brussels