Critical (or Key) Technology Study

Online Foresight Guide

Critical and key technology studies aim to produce a forecast of how a technology will evolve based based on interviews with experts in the field. Although usually applied to technologies, the underlying principles can also be used to define key actions or priorities.

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The critical or key technologies method is one of the methods used in technology forecasting. It aims to highlight short-term (usually 3-10 years) priorities for research and development policy for policy-makers.

It is a matter of debate whether this method is part of the Foresight toolbox. The criticisms often levelled at it are that critical technology studies are often not participatory, that little attention is usually paid to social issues and that it usually endorses a strictly normative approach (i.e. it does not consider alternative futures).

Example studies: