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Exploring future dimensions and elements of contextual developments relevant for EU R&I policies

Author

Dana Wasserbacher

Jan 28, 2022

The online workshop on October 18–19, 2021, was the first in a series of interactive encounters involving foresight experts and practitioners from both EU services and the Member States. It focussed on exploring future dimensions and elements of contextual developments that may have important repercussions for EU R&I policies in general, and the 2nd Strategic Plan of Horizon Europe in particular. An overarching goal of the workshop, as well as the series of interactive meetings, was to provide initial impetus for a broad and in-depth discussion on the big picture and framework conditions for EU R&I policymaking.

Context Scenarios Workshop



The first day was dedicated to discussing scenario elements (see Figure 1) developed in a multi-level structure and prepared by the project team based on a review of existing scenarios from different institutions[1]. The first dimension divides dynamics that relate to progress in the EU project into positive (dynamic, resilient) and negative (declining, destabilised, feeble), while the second dimension locates them on a global scale in peaceful, antagonistic, or limited collaborative relationships.



The first task in the workshop focussed on enriching the presented scenario elements with additional STEEP factors on different levels (national, EU, global) and on identifying challenges and opportunities arising from the scenario elements for Europe. Furthermore, we discussed contextual factors that would matter most for EU R&I policies and potential changes of the respective actor’s landscape, as well as (new) actors that would be likely to take on significant roles when considering the identified challenges and opportunities. This in-depth discussion served to assess the disruptive potential of possible developments and to identify highly disruptive factors and factors with high uncertainty (see Figure 2).




The second day of the workshop started with a voting activity: participants cast their votes for the disruption cluster with the highest future relevance. The selected clusters entailed “Moving beyond the tipping point of climate change”, “Global Relations”, “(Getting closer to) Technological Singularity”, “War”, and “European Relations”. The disruptions subsumed in one of the five selected clusters were once more assessed within smaller breakout groups. The most relevant disruptions formed the core of a “futures wheel” through which we explored potential impact of the disruption in different societal domains (global and European perspectives, industry and market, society/communities/NGOs, education, research, innovation, first responders, media, health, values, and others, e.g., law and order) and over three different time horizons (0-5 years, 5-10 years, 10-20 years). At the end of the exercise, the factors that would drive the disruption under study were identified.


The overall results of the workshop were summarised and condensed into a series of future narratives that present the different visions and developments as well as their disruptive potential and implications for society and especially for EU R&I policy making. You will be able to read through and comment on the developed future narratives in the upcoming weeks here! We ask you for a little patience and in the meantime look forward to your ideas and discussing them further with you!


Lastly, click on the image below to explore the full Workshop Canvas:


Enjoy! Your Project Team from Futures4Europe.org




[1] E.g., the OECD (2021) Global Scenarios 2035, the JRC (2021) Scenarios on the global standing of the EU in 2040, the EEA (2020/21) Context and Solution Scenarios for a sustainable Europe in 2050 (unpublished), the EC (2021) Scenarios for Europe in the post Covid-19 world (unpublished), the EC (2021) SAFIRE Scenarios, the EC (2021) Perspectives on the future of open science Scenarios, the H2020 (2021) TRIGGER Scenarios for Global Governance, the H2020 (2021) NewHoRRIzon Environmental Scenarios 2038, EUA (2021) Pathways to the future Scenarios, or the RAND (2021) Future Scenarios to 2040 for the Research Council of Norway.



All views presented in this site are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of national and European Institutions nor engage those in any manner.

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