Foresight, Innovation & Challenge-Driven Agendas

This theme explores the evolving role that foresight is playing in public policy development, particularly in policies targeted at technological innovation and challenge-driven government agendas.


This theme aims to advance understanding on how foresight both informs and supports the development of science, technology and innovation (STI) policy. Foresight gathers evidence and anticipatory intelligence that help to shape policy development. However, through the process of gathering this evidence and developing anticipatory intelligence, and through its complex relationship with government policy platforms (e.g. policy strategies) foresight plays a greater role in supporting technology development than only providing information.


Research activities in this theme explore the practices, process, and techniques involved in conducting foresight exercises, how these exercises can conceptualise their target domains, and the tools that can be used to support the exercise. It also looks at novel processes for gathering evidence and configuring this into anticipatory intelligence. Projects in the theme also investigate public technology strategies - strategies developed to support emerging technologies and that focus on public good and quasi-public good technologies. In particular, the theme focuses on how these leverage foresight exercises, how these structure their technological domains, and the practices, process, and techniques involved in developing the strategy.


A key goal of this research is to bridge the gap between theory and practice in foresight. It aims to provide practical advice for foresight exercises and for technology strategy development activities. Finally, it aims to provide tools and practical guidance for government personnel as well as researchers on how to collect and collate evidence, synthesise and analyse it to create anticipatory intelligence, and, in both cases, communicate it.




The theme has two core programmes.


Foresight for STI policies and strategies

Exploring and advancing the practices, processes, and techniques used in foresight analyses, with particular attention to exercises motivated by global/national, social, and sectoral challenges; and the technology strategies developed to address them.


Pathways to manufacturing: anticipating future challenges in R&D industrialisation

Identifying the risks involved in scaling-up a technology for application in industry with the goal of creating a framework that can be used to identify and assess the major obstacles to a technology’s development. This practical tool can be used by university researchers to anticipate scale-up and industrialisation risks and civil servants and agency personnel when developing programmes, for example to assess research funding proposals.



Related projects

Practice projects that CSTI is affiliated with under this theme include:

For more information please contact Dr Charles Featherston

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