Criteria for project selection
The Foresight Programme seeks to undertake projects that draw upon a range of disciplines and deal with key issues for the economy, society and the environment and where science and technology can offer valuable insights and solutions. By looking ahead further than is traditional, our projects help the Government to strike the right balance between long-term thinking and tackling issues that need immediate attention. We select topics for new Foresight projects against this background.
Foresight has operated a project-based approach since 2002. The Foresight Programme judges suggestions for new projects against a number of criteria. We look for projects that:
- Are future-oriented and based upon science and technology
- Involve cross-disciplinary science and technology, and policy issues that cut across departmental boundaries.
- Can produce results that can influence Government policy
- Will not duplicate work taking place elsewhere
- Has support in and commitment from key stakeholders
New projects depend on finding a lead sponsor in the Government department that is responsible for the area of policy that the project will investigate.
Projects come about in various ways. For example, ideas may arise from within the Foresight Programme itself, as a result of consultation with government departments or from discussions with the research community. The Foresight Advisory Board also feeds into the process.
When developing a new project Foresight we set out to give interested parties opportunities to contribute throughout the process. Our aim is to come up with proposals that we can put before ministers for their approval.
In the formulation of any new project, we want to ensure that it meets a series of criteria. Our goal is that any Foresight project must:
- look ahead at least 10 years, in areas where outcomes are uncertain – typically where there is likely to be rapid change, where current trends are uncertain or where different trends may converge;
- involve science and technology as the main drivers of change or sources of solutions;
- cover topics where the Government can have a significant influence on what happens;
- build from areas of active research without duplicating work carried on elsewhere;
- require an interdisciplinary approach to the science – including social science, and arts and humanities – and bring together groups from academia, business and government; and
- command the support of the groups most likely to be able to influence the future.
An important requirement for any Foresight project is that a government department has to find the idea so compelling, and with a good fit with its own policy discussions, that it is prepared to sponsor the work and that a government minister is willing to guide the project by chairing its High Level Stakeholder Group.