Foresight projects are in-depth studies looking at major issues 20-80 years in the future. Recent examples include Future of Computer Trading, Global Migration and Global Food and Farming Futures. Foresight uses the latest scientific evidence and futures analysis to tackle complex issues and provide strategic options for policy
The projects focus on three or four areas at a time. Foresight projects examine either an important public policy issue where science might be part of the solution, or a scientific topic where potential applications and technologies are yet to be realised. Criteria for selecting projects can be found here.
Each project team works closely with a network of scientific experts and stakeholders specifically brought together for the project’s lifetime. In-house teams, including individuals with relevant research experience, support and help to pull to together information. Each Foresight project reviews the relevant research literature: it also undertakes horizon scanning, taking into account social and economic trends.
A High-Level Stakeholder Group – chaired by a minister from sponsor department and comprising senior decision-makers and budget-holders from relevant departments, research councils and other organisations – oversees each project. The stakeholder group is responsible for agreeing an action plan once the report has been published. The Government's Chief Scientific Adviser directs each project with a group of leading experts from academia. Projects usually last between 18 months and two years.
A Foresight project does not set out to predict the future. But on the basis of a thorough understanding and analysis of the subject in its broadest perspective – and an awareness of different ways in which the future may develop – we can identify a range of possible outcomes.
The purpose of our futures work is to assist decision makers now to understand how the decisions they make today might affect the future. In this way, Foresight can help policy makers to reach more stable decisions that are more likely to survive the uncertainties of the future.
A list of published projects.
A list of current projects.
The Advisory Board for Foresight advises the Government Chief Scientific Adviser on future projects and a list of criteria for Foresight projects can be found here.