EFP workshop: policy options for surprising and emerging futures in Europe

Over the past few years we have witnessed a growing number of technological, economic, environmental, political, social and ethical surprises (‘wild cards’) with very high (often negative butnot always) impacts in Europe and the world. These ‘wild cards’often have associated ‘weak signals’ warning us about their potential occurrence. However, our blindness or reluctance to foresee radical changes in our lives often makes their manifestation look surprising.

Worldwide, there are several initiatives that aim to identify, collect and interpret emerging issues and potential surprises that could have an impact of the economy and society. Also in Europe the EC launched a number of blue-sky research initiatives aimed at identifying issues that should not be left out of the “policy radar” because they could have an impact on the European economy and society and could be important in shaping the European Research Area.

The European Foresight Platform (EFP) is organizing a workshop with the aim of discussing and prioritizing the most important emerging issues and surprises for Europe as well as to identify research questions and policy requirements to address these surprises. Moreover, the workshop will discuss in more detail how the European and national surprise monitoring and management systems can be used and how we take into account the specific nature of the various member states (risk assessment culture and practices, levels of vulnerability and resilience to certain surprises).

The EFP policy workshop will have seven interconnected blocks on potential policy IMPACTS of researching surprising and emerging issues:

  1. Introducing EFP and EU Blue Sky research on surprising and emerging issues
  2. Mapping surprising and emerging issues from EU-funded research
  3. Prioritising and discussing surprising and emerging issues
  4. Assessing potential implications of surprising and emerging issues
  5. Contextualising surprising and emerging issues into EU research and innovation policy
  6. Transferring know-how from national actors mapping surprising and emerging issues
  7. Supporting EU and national cooperation on surprising and emerging issues research

The audience of approximately 20 participants will be a mix of European policy makers, representatives of national risk registers, national security strategists, national policy makers, foresight and forward looking experts, and policy advisors. It will take place on 26th of October 2011 in Brussels.

You can apply for participation by sending an email with your name and contact details to Ms. Lily Korrel, TNO at lily.korrel @ tno.nl. For more information you can contact Ms. Annelieke van der Giessen at annelieke.vandergiessen @ tno.nl.

You can also discuss this workshop, or ask for more information on our forums.

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Author : Bas van Schoonhoven