April 2010

The World in 2025 - can challenges become opportunities?

In fifteen years the EU will have a different position on the world stage, according to new research by the European Foresight Expert Group. Compared to Asia, its population and trade will lessen but there will be an increase in the proportion of Europeans aged over 65 years. To face these challenges the research suggests that the EU should adopt a new socio-ecological model. This would re-define our patterns of consumption and production, consider the changing dynamics between rural and urban areas and incorporate the shifting balance between generations....more

June 2010

Promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive cities

European research into urbanisation is at the forefront of efforts to promote sustainable urban development: sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms. A new report, 'World and European Sustainable Cities: Insights from EU Research', published by the European Commission draws together the findings of research on urban issues, such as meeting the needs and service demands of urban populations, migration and settlement patterns, and new forms of poverty and exclusion that European policy makers will need to address if we are to shift toward a more sustainable culture by 2020.....more

October 2010

Innovation futures in Europe: Visions, scenarios and implications

For policy makers, the future is a subject of enduring fascination - impossible to predict, yet necessary to anticipate. Using the powers of empirical observation and sophisticated modelling techniques, we have become pretty good at calculating how societies will develop within a limited set of measurable parameters. Some desirable human activities, however, remain notoriously difficult to measure and anticipate accurately. Among the most important of these is innovation, which in recent years has achieved the status of a holy grail in economic policy making circles. No one, of course, expects to get definitive answers on how innovation will proceed in the future, but the research consortium INFU has been working hard to provide us with some credible scenarios......more

January 2011

Citizen input could make future EU research more relevant

The concerns and needs of society should be taken into account when deciding on future science and technology issues/policies, if Europe is to become the most advanced knowledge society in the world. Research agendas that are more relevant to society could strengthen the European economy in an era of global competition......more

April 2011

Future European innovation policy: Results of a foresight exercise

Findings from an innovative research project, FARHORIZON, warn policy makers to steer clear of creating an innovation policy silo and recommend taking a less conventional approach to research and innovation policy. This, they argue, would help Europe mobilise its research assets to achieve long-term policy goals in areas as diverse as adaptation of agriculture to climate change, and teaching and learning in an ICT revolutionised society......more

September 2011

Alternative future relationships between security and defence policy, and the European Research Area

Recognising the far-reaching implications of the EU’s emerging defence and security dimension1, the Research and Innovation Directorate of the European Commission funded SANDERA, a ‘blue sky’ foresight research project exploring the relationship between European security and defence policy, on the one hand, and research policy on the other. A carefully planned and executed foresight exercise, the project yielded a set of detailed scenarios suggesting how the relationship might evolve between now and 2030. The scenarios offer valuable orientation to forward-thinking practitioners in both policy domains......more

November 2011

Harnessing IT to enhance foresight activities

Research plays an essential role in addressing the complex socio-economic challenges facing Europe today. But it also performs a forward-looking role, helping us anticipate (and perhaps avoid) problems that could occur in the future. The EU-sponsored research project iKNOW (Interconnecting Knowledge) has been exploring the potential of networked information technologies to support this foresight activity. The results suggest that exploitation of internet-based information platforms can substantially enhance the efficiency of forward-looking activities in general......more

March 2012

AUGUR: Routes to financial recovery in Europe

The major global financial crisis, into which Europe plummeted in 2008, showed the existing framework of banking regulation to be vulnerable. The AUGUR research project explored possible scenarios for Europe’s economic, social, political and environmental position in 2030, and produced a set of recommendations to policy makers on how to tackle the deficiencies in the banking sector. The key is greater cooperation at the international level and ‘macroprudential regulation’......more

June 2012

MEDPRO - Arab Springs spark rethink of EU Policy

In 2010-2011, the Arab Springs marked a dramatic turning point in the histories of many Middle Eastern and North African countries, beginning a transition from repressive autocratic rule to democracy. Cooperation in the region could now go in a number of directions, according to the MEDPRO research project, but the EU needs to update its relations with the region and leave behind its ‘business as usual’ approach of the last few decades......more