This brief presents the findings of a research project aimed at understanding the influence of policy-oriented foresight on public policy in Flanders. A foresight identifying six strategic clusters for technology and innovation policy in Flanders is analysed. The results of this analysis show that the foresight-oriented technology assessment (FTA) did have a significant impact on the policy process, but the greater effect might prove to be in its role as a reference point for future FTAs, which will then give shape to long-term technology and innovation policy in Flanders.
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Knowledge and innovation are the key factors in ensuring Flanders’ future prosperity and welfare. The government, companies and knowledge institutions must join forces to create focus and critical mass in strategic areas that strengthen Flanders’ competitive position and offer potentially substantial social benefits. Foresight studies are an excellent means of linking science and technology with innovation in industry and society while at the same time creating a decision-supporting framework for regional innovation policy and its relationship with regional economic developments.
Iris Futures (IF) is a study of prospective activities and futures thinking in Brussels conducted at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in the framework of ‘Prospective Research for Brussels’. The point is not knowing or predicting the future of Brussels but to create an overview of existing prospective activities in Brussels as well as of different attitudes towards the future in Brussels.
The food sector is one of the most important industrial sectors in Flanders. The aim of this foresight exercise was to identify and map future scientific and technological developments in the food sector from a socio-economical perspective and to identify future needs for industry working in the sector. The outcome of the study directly feeds into the strategic policy making process of the Flemish Government. At company level the aim is to provide managers, R&D managers and researchers with a ‘window of opportunity’ through which to ‘benchmark’ their own company strategy.
The chemical sector in Flanders-Belgium is among the largest in Europe and the petrochemical centre around the port of Antwerp is the second largest in the world. This foresight study intends to contribute to maintaining and even strengthening the competitiveness of this sector in the future. The approach was to:
- Identify and map future scientific and technological developments in the chemical sector from a socio-economical perspective,
- Offer companies in the chemical sector in particular their R&D managers, a window-of-opportunity through which to gain a longterm perspective on the industry and anticipate their future needs in terms of RTD capacity.