Targeting STI Policy Interventions – Future Challenges for Foresight
The scope for Foresight studies to contribute to S&T strategy development, at different levels of governance, is growing. But little is known about the actual implementation of the results of Foresight studies, even though these aim to improve innovation capacities and national innovation systems. The design and initiation phase of Foresight studies include the setting of objectives and the identification of themes for the exercise. These activities need to be aligned to the broader perspective and mission of the initiator – and, importantly, to the tendering procedure for launching Foresight activities. At national (and international) level it would be valuable to establish networks and a central database collecting the experiences of these studies, to make them accessible and useful for future Foresight studies. The main focus of such efforts should be on the procedural dimension – learning from the Foresight processes and their organization. Currently Foresight studies are mainly used for detecting future social challenges, potential technological developments, and associated gaps and requirements for immediate, mid-term and long-term measures. Foresight studies also have the potential, we argue, to be used for the assessment of potential policy measure impacts and the identification of the next generation of innovation policy related measures. This new application of Foresight approaches is likely to arise in the near future.