Foresight is a systematic, participatory, future-intelligence-gathering and medium-to-long-term vision-building process aimed at present-day decisions and mobilising joint actions. Research and innovation policies are based on (implicit or explicit) visions of the future of science, technology and society.
To underpin the establishment of the European Research Area (ERA) there is a need for open coordination of these visions and hence cooperation on Foresight.
One of the European Commission's main Foresight activities under the Sixth Framework Programme is to establish a European Foresight Knowledge Sharing Platform (KSP). The KSP aims to provide support and enhance the interconnections between Foresight programmes, initiatives and institutions in close co-operation with all relevant actors in Europe and, when necessary, orienting them towards common issues, at inter-regional, trans-national or European level.
The KSP is today a major European Union undertaking which is being implemented by DG Research. One of its core activities is to support mutual learning among Foresight managers, practitioners, users and stakeholders in Europe (FOR-LEARN). The FOR-LEARN project is run by DG JRC-IPTS on a mandate from the European Commission DG RTD. It covers the entire range of activities related to the promotion and the structuring of a European science and technology Foresight area.
The three main functions of the KSP are:
- To mobilise Foresight as intelligence for EU policy, mainly research and innovation policy;
- To foster exchanges of experiences between Member States and regions; and
- To consolidate and better structure the Foresight knowledge base.
- More about the Forlearn project [ ~250kb]
The FOR-LEARN activity is being carried out in the context of the KSP.
FOR-LEARN takes on a more concrete form through practical steps towards the development of the KSP. FOR-LEARN is specifically intended to support the "mutual learning" process of knowledge sharing by Foresight Managers, practitioners, users and stakeholders of policy-making organisations in Europe. By contributing to the codification, assessment and dissemination of the existing Foresight knowledge and know-how FOR-LEARN aims make practical knowledge on how to carry out Foresight more accessible.
Its lines of action include:
- An analysis of the existing literature to identify critical points within a Foresight exercise.
- Interviews with experienced Foresight practitioners and academics to identify gaps in current Foresight knowledge
- Collecting queries from Foresight practitioners to get a clearer picture of current needs for information especially among Foresight novices
- Based on our analysis we are developing an Online Foresight Guide together with a group of Foresight experts from the ESTO network. This guide aims to inform Foresight practitioners as well as users about various issues related to Foresight.
- Organising a series of mutual learning workshops to address issues where a special need to improve the knowledge has been identified.