Foresight, Innovation & Challenge-Driven 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.
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.
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.
Practice projects that CSTI is affiliated with under this theme include:
- Electron microscopy (EM) – this project is being led by a steering group assembled from the EM community, and aims to establish the potential timing of technical developments and survey various science and industrial application spaces in which these technologies might be applied.
- Additive manufacturing (AM) – the UK National Strategy for Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing being developed by a steering group of academics and other government funded researchers, which include the 3DP-RDM/CTM/Institute for Manufacturing, the University of Nottingham, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (part of Innovate UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult).
- Smart infrastructure and buildings/construction (SIB/C) – this strategy and standards development project is being driven by the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), an EPSRC Innovation and Knowledge Centre at the University of Cambridge, the Construction Leadership Council, and KPMG.
For more information please contact Dr Charles Featherston