In order to shape the future, we have to make decisions today. Foresight processes aim to get an insight into desirable and feasible futures, aimed at enabling present-day decisions and mobilizing joint actions. It can be envisaged as a triangle combining “Thinking the Future”, “Debating the Future” and “Shaping the Future” (JRC-IPTS) and invites us to consider the future as something that we can create or shape, rather than as something already decided.

Policy makers use foresight techniques and conduct studies to explore different scenarios in a structured way to confront complex challenges and help create a better future. Foresight helps to

  • evaluate current policy priorities and potential new policy directions
  • see how the impact of possible policy decisions may combine with other developments
  • inform, support and link policy-making in and across a range of sectors
  • identify future directions, emerging technologies, new societal demands and challenges
  • anticipate future developments, disruptive events, risks and opportunities

Foresight can help R&I Partnerships to identify gaps and emerging opportunities in the landscape of R&I partnerships of European relevance. Joint foresight for a concerned partnership is used when the future development is uncertain and more information is needed for European Partnerships to address the challenge. The forward-looking activity aims for a structured analysis of future developments, builds a common strategic vision on how to address these, and identifies possible future common strategic research topics. European Partnerships can perform joint foresight for the concerned challenge or they can merge existing foresight studies to suit their needs.

The following resources (right column) provide valuable information for learning more about conducting foresight processes.


JPI Oceans Foresight Activities

JPI Oceans outlined a proposal for a programmatic foresight process, describing the structure, governance and procedures of a foresight exercise, providing a blueprint which JPI Oceans may apply to any given topic area. By applying this blueprint to the field of microplastics, CSA Oceans delineated how the process looks like in practice in the form of a CSA Oceans pilot foresight test run.

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The ForLearn is an Online Foresight Guide designed to provide a structured and comprehensive foresight data base oriented towards different kind of users. It gives practitioners, policy makers as well as beginners the means to understand, participate and practice foresight and supports.

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The EC Competence Centre on Foresight

The Competence Centre on Foresight supports EU policy making by providing strategic and future-oriented input, developing an anticipatory culture inside the European Commission, continuously experimenting and developing different methods and tools to make foresight practically useful for decision making processes. The Competence Centre provides access to a library of tools that helps to facilitate foresight in your organisation.

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