Posts Tagged ‘Delphi’

EFP Brief No. 252: Egypt’s Water Security – Future Vision 2030 Using Delphi Method

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

This study was an activity within the framework of Egypt’s Vision 2030 project carried out by the Center for Future Studies in the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center. Using Delphi Method, the study aims at identifying, analyzing and foreseeing potentials of Egypt’s water security as ground to thinking of pilot solutions aimed at evading problems and crisis as well as developing a set of procedures whereby Egypt’s water security is attained.

Increasing Gap between Water Supply and Demand

The Nile stands as Egypt’s main source of water whereby it secures 80% of Egypt’s water yield per year-according to the 1959 Nile Agreement, Egypt’s fixed quota of Nile water comes to 55.5 billion m3/year. In Egypt, water security tops the national agenda whereby studies reveal that estimations of available water and water needs for different purposes are heading towards an increasing gap between water supply and demand, not only because of the anticipated increase of water demand, but also due to the impact of other factors on the available quantity of Nile water. The study at hand contributes to foreseeing the future of Egyptian water security, by analyzing the impact of varied factors influencing Egypt’s water security in terms of the political, economic, environmental, hydrological, legal and strategic aspects,  developing an integrated vision, and forming a new approach for further research in this area and providing comprehensive knowledge.

Combining Forecasting and Delphi

The study applied the “Delphi Technique” – an important qualitative tool of future studies – which relies on collective intelligence and scientific forecasts, by deriving knowledge from a group of experts, directing them to consensus on aspects of the issue at hand, and providing verifications for the relatively extreme positions. This technique was used to identify the main factors of uncertainty that will affect the future of Egypt’s water security, and to forecast potentials of these uncertainty factors, their different expected impacts, and proposed recommendations. A Delphi web site was developed allowing access to 25 experts in the areas of water, economic and political science.

The study also used forecasting (futures analysis) which does not seek foreseeing or planning the future, but rather conducts a set of conditional forecasts or scenarios assuming either the reality or desired ones. Hence, the research does not conclude to achieving any of the aforementioned scenarios but aims at allowing societal players to learn about the requirements of achieving one of the desired scenarios according to their relevant preference in order to work on giving it precedence over other alternative scenarios.

Main Factors Affecting Water Security

Based on the theoretical review of the issue of Egypt’s water security, the most important factors affecting Egypt’s water security were identified by applying Delphi Technique as follows:

  1. Relations between countries of the Nile basin towards either cooperation or struggle:

The regional hydrological system of the Nile basin lacks a comprehensive legal or institutional framework deemed acceptable by all Nile countries because of their conflicting outlook on the legitimacy of the existing agreements and international conventions – the 1929 and 1959 Agreements in specific. Accordingly, countries of the Nile sources divide the River Nile’s water according to the area of River Nile basin passing through the given country, and the contribution of each country to the river’s water yield. However, Egypt and Sudan refuse reviewing the distribution of water quotas in the Nile basin based on calls for justice and equity.

Additionally, some of the Nile basin source countries are calling for enforcing the principle of international water sale on the Nile basin system including that Egypt and Sudan, pay financial compensation in return for their water quotas if they wish to maintain them, while Egypt and Sudan refuse this principle on the ground that water is a socio-economic commodity that should not be subjected to market mechanisms.

On another level, countries of the Nile basin sources reject the condition of advance notification when developing water projects or taking water measures within their national borders, which is seen as necessary by Egypt and Sudan.

  1. Impact of external powers:

External powers, mainly USA and Israel play a crucial role in affecting international water interactions in the Nile basin, and carry out a motivating role for struggle. In this regard, Israel adopts two main strategies: “Quota based system” considering projects involving water that eventually aims that Israel receives fixed water quota from the Nile and “Seizure Strategy” which implies surrounding the Egyptian policy and using water as a pressure card against Egypt and Sudan. European countries, specially Italy, Holland and some Asian countries particularly Japan are playing a motivating role for water cooperation in the Nile basin putting down inclinations towards water related conflicts by providing financial and technical support for a number of water related projects in the Nile countries.

  1. The impact of the separation of South Sudan:

Opinions vary on the impact of south Sudan separation on Egypt’s water security. Some opinions perceive minimum negative impact resulting from the separation on the Egyptian water yield from the Nile and others are seriously concerned about the potential impacts.

  1. Shifts to irrigated agriculture and minimizing pressure on the blue water:

All countries of the Nile sources wish to follow Egypt’s footsteps in terms of cultivating spacious irrigated agricultural areas. However, this type of agriculture requires costly technical expertise. In this context, funding and technical assistance provided through investors, local, regional or international entities might have a hidden agenda for helping poor citizens of the Nile countries, destabilizing some countries and creating tension in a manner that impacts development plans.

  1. Change in the economic:

As a main feature of the Nile basin countries- except Egypt- extreme poverty reflects on the capabilities in terms of providing water related infrastructure. According to 2007 World Bank data, Burundi had the lowest GDP (US$0.97 billion) among Nile Basin countries, whereas annual GDP per capita growth rate was highest in Ethiopia and Sudan at 8.4% and 7.7% respectively. Egypt comes next with a growth rate of 5.2%. Nevertheless, GDP per capita share decreased in Burundi by 0.3% and in Eritrea by 2.3%.

  1. Water reservoirs or control utilities:

If dams are constructed to serve as reservoirs, it is necessary to ensure that the stored water affects Egypt’s water quota in the long term.

  1. Impact of climate change on water of Nile basin:

The most important climate changes affecting the Nile’s water are increasing temperatures which  will cause rising rates of evaporation, and changes in the rates, locations and seasons of water fall will cause the loss of quantities of rain that were to be used in agriculture and human consumption in the northern coast.

  1. Political stability of the Nile basin countries:

Continuous or aggravated forms and indicators of domestic instability in the Nile basin countries will push them to adopt struggle based foreign policies. It is projected that countries of the Nile basin sources will resort to adopting aggressive foreign policies towards both mouth and stream countries-Egypt and Sudan-every now and then. This is in an effort to divert the domestic public opinion away from internal problems and failures suffered in each country relatively.

Egyptian Water Security Scenarios

Given the aforementioned main factors affecting Egypt’s water security, the future of water in the Nile basin will likely be shaped according to three alternative scenarios as follows.

Business as Usual Scenario

The current situation of struggle relations between Egypt and the Nile Basin Countries, will continue but will not escalate to war because of political expertise,  and countries of the Nile basin maintain a reasonable margin of rationality with their neighbours. Furthermore, the domestic political, economic and social circumstances of the Nile basin countries will not permit potential escalation of conflicts.

According to the outcomes of Delphi survey, a change in the current situation of cooperation or struggle regarding water is unlikely (there were no sharp deviations regarding the potential full cooperation or struggles that may escalate to war over water), where 46%, 38% and 50% is the probability of increasing the normal yield of Nile water before 2030 via cooperation where Egypt develops projects in the Ethiopian Plateau, Equatorial Lakes Plateau and Bahr el Ghazal. But the probability of reaching an agreement on some of the conflict areas by amending the existing legal agreements of the Nile basin countries is 48%.

Also, lack of current sufficient funding will affect the ability of benefiting from green water and relieving the pressure off blue water in Nile Basin countries. And in light of the outcomes of Delphi survey, Egypt’s probability of developing projects -in cooperation with donor international organizations-aimed at assisting other countries in benefiting from green water is 49%, 52% and 53% respectively in the Ethiopian, Equatorial Plateaus and Bahr el Ghazal.

It is unlikely that the basin countries will experience an economic boom on the short term, since economic development requires stable political regimes and local, regional and international capital, capacity building, technical calibres and improvement of institutions and laws.

There is low probability of an impact from the separation of south Sudan on Egypt’s yield of the Nile water, as the new State will be bound by all past conventions related to the River Nile. Needless to mention, South Sudan is advantaged with abundant rain which spares it the need for this water. According to Delphi Survey, the probability of a relevant impact on Egypt’s Nile water supply is 45%.

It is likely that climate changes will continue without an impact on the normal yield of Nile water in Egypt, at least during the coming twenty years. According to a study by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2004, there is limited confidence regarding changes in amount and direction of rainfall on the future on the Nile basin countries. Based on the survey results, the probability that climate changes will move the rain belt far from the Ethiopian, Equatorial Lakes Plateaus or Baher Al Gazal are 40%, 35% and 44% respectively.

Optimistic Scenario (Regional Cooperation)

This is the scenario of optimization of available opportunities for developing shared water resources and building a regional water system capable of securing the needs of the region’s countries without undermining the fixed historical and legal rights of some of the countries.

This scenario involves the potential of expanding cooperation areas among Nile basin countries within the Nile Basin Initiative, which includes all ten Nile basin countries, provides an institutional framework for collective cooperation, receives governmental and political support, and pays great attention to projects and mechanisms aimed at building mutual trust among basin countries, as well as capacity building and training projects.

There is an increased possibility of establishing water related projects in collaboration with the basin countries via building and connecting dams on a unified electricity network in those countries, aimed at generating power for agriculture and industrial production purposes rather than storing water and assist in regulating water supply to Egypt. Survey results indicate that probability of completing Gongli Canal is 56%, in addition to the possibility of redirecting Congo River to benefit from its water is 60%.

Pessimistic Scenario (Conflict)

This scenario is based on the possibility that variables motivating struggle will lead to raising chances of conflict of national interests in the Nile basin countries to an extend of inter struggle. The struggle inclination might rise given the following variables:1) A strong and sharp inclination of the Nile basin sources countries towards enforcing the principle of “selling Nile water” to the two countries of the mouth and stream will cause an eruption of international water struggle and wars among the countries.2) Escalated role of the external motivating powers for Nile-Nile struggle based on the following considerations:

Israel will play a motivating role for water struggle in the Nile basin in addition to the indirect role of the USA, where it will work on besieging and pulling the parties of Egyptian policy, on the regional level, in a way that serves coining the American power on the political and strategic levels in preparation for an effective Israeli role.

Countries of the upper Nile basin will seek to constitute external coalitions aimed at changing the current situation; these are mainly Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Separation of south Sudan will be at the expense of projects dedicated to exploiting the wasted Nile water in the Egyptian and joint upper parts, such as the Gongli Canal project.

The political tensions in the Ethiopian Plateau will negatively affect the Egyptian water yield as well as failure to implement any proposed projects. According to the survey, the probability of the eruption of a civil war (due to ethnicity, religion, political or tribal affiliation) in the Ethiopian Plateau and bearing an impact on water projects and management is 53% and 57% respectively.

Based on the Delphi Survey outcomes, the probability of increased Nile basin countries’ demand for Blue water for agricultural, industrial, drinking, tourism, and fish wealth purposes by 2030 in the Ethiopian, Equatorial Plateaus and Bahr El Gazal Region are 60%, 61% and 59% respectively. As for the probability that those countries construct dams or other projects in the Ethiopian, Equatorial Plateaus and Bahr El Gazal Region-to meet the increased demand for water -that will eventual-ly affect Egypt’s Nile water quota by 2030 are 63%, 59% and 54% respectively.

Cooperation for Water Security

  1. Cooperation among the Nile Basin Countries

Regional cooperation should depend on balancing the distribution of benefits and duties in the context of a cooperative Win-Win Approach, which will eventually lead to optimizing the benefits among all Nile countries enabling a relevant improvement and development.

  1. Endorsing the Soft and Diplomatic Instruments

This ensures avoiding the struggle scenario, and can be supported by developing the mutual dependency mechanism between Egypt and Ethiopia via joint projects where Egypt provides the technical expertise in irrigation currently being provided by Israel.

  1. Enhancing Cooperation between Egypt and Sudan

The mutual dependency mechanism between Egypt and Sudan, in light of separation, can be achieved through establishing strong ties with both north and south via joint cooperation in agriculture, power production, health, education and industrial projects in addition to military. This entails developing railways, river naval lines and unified electricity networks, and that Egypt grants southern citizens all advantages equal to Sudanese citizens in terms of education, work, residence, and entry into Egypt, and redrafting the projects to exploit wasted water in the upper Nile in Bahr El Gabal, Bahr El Gazal, and Mashar Swamps situated in south Sudan.

  1. Benefiting from Green Water

This entails that Egypt: cooperates with the international donor organizations for developing projects in the source countries, transfers agriculture technologies to all Nile basin countries by availing technically qualified irrigation and agriculture engineers, and developing rain harvest technologies and introducing selected seeds and chemical fertilizers.

  1. Creating a social, economic, political observatory

This should be in charge of monitoring changes immediately, analysing indicators and presenting relevant plans. In the event of any internal political tensions in the Nile basin countries, Egypt should adopt a neutral position, stimulate mediations in ethnic and border conflicts taking place in the Great Lakes and African Horn regions to evade the potential sensitivities that might emerge due to aligning with any of the conflicting parties.

  1. Egypt’s Role in Developing Economies

It is recommended that Egypt carries out development projects in Nile Basin countries and cooperates with international organizations in areas of improving health care, and eradicating Endemic diseases that affect public health and consequently productivity.

  1. Forecasting the Impact of Climate Changes

Developing a local model for forecasting the impact of climate change on the Nile basin water yield, in cooperation with the British Meteorology Office.

Authors: Dr. Nisreen Lahham   nisreenlahham@idsc.net.eg

Dr. Mohamed Saleh   msaleh@idsc.net.eg

Sahar Sayed Sabry    saharsayed@idsc.net.eg

Sponsors: Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC)
Type: National Technology Foresight Exercise based on desk research and expert opinion.
Organizer: Dr. Nisreen Lahham, Executive Manager, Center for Future Studies, www.future.idsc.net.eg
Duration: 2009 – 2010
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2030
Date of Brief: August 2011

Download EFP Brief No. 252_Egypt’s Water Security

Sources and References

Ayman Alsayed Abdul Wahhab (editor), “River Nile Basin: Cooperation opportunities and problems” (Cairo, Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, 2009).

Mohammad Salman Taye`a, Water Security in the Arab Gulf in a Changing World: between Prerequisites of National Interest and Addressing External Threats, Middle East papers, National Center for Middle East Studies, Vol. 38 October 2007.

Atlas of international agreements on fresh waters, UNEP, FAO, and Oregon University, 2002.

H.J.Brans (ed.), The Scarcity of Water: Emerging Legal and Policy Issues, London, The Hague, Boston, Kluwer International, International Environmental Law and Policy Issues, 1997, 21-39.

Theodore J. Gordon, The Delphi Method, future research methodology – V2.0, AC/UNU Millennium Project.

World Bank, World Development Indicators, Washington, 2007

 

EFP Brief No. 250: Mediating Different Stakeholder Levels in an “International Cooperation Foresight” Process

Friday, February 1st, 2013

The purpose of the New Indigo foresight process was firstly to identify the most important and most relevant drivers of current S&T cooperation between India and Europe. Its second aim was to engage relevant stakeholder groups in a structured discussion on what this cooperation should look like in 2020. Thirdly, long-term and short-term policy-recommendations for shaping this future have been developed.

Fostering Multilateral Research Cooperation between India and Europe

As one of the BRICS countries, India is among the biggest and most dynamic emerging economies worldwide, which increasingly excel in the area of science and technology (S&T). In her address to Parliament on 4 June 2009, India’s President declared the period from 2010 to 2020 as the “Decade of Innovation”. The main aim of the declaration is to develop an innovation eco-system to stimulate innovation and to produce solutions for societal needs, such as healthcare, energy, urban infrastructure, water and transportation. Although the gamut of innovation is vast and includes efforts in many sectors, the underlying emphasis is to boost advances in S&T. Focusing on the same time horizon, the European Union introduced the “Innovation Union”, a flagship programme of the Europe 2020 Strategy to be implemented from 2014 to 2020 to secure Europe’s competitiveness and face major societal challenges at a global level.

The European Commission and the European countries perceive India as an important future partner when it comes to S&T, as is evidenced by the fact that India was chosen to be the target country of the first pilot initiative of the Strategic Forum for International Science and Technology Cooperation (SFIC), an advisory body to the Council of the EU and the European Commission.

One of the EC funded instruments targeting S&T cooperation between India and Europe is the ERA-NET New INDIGO. The project fosters multilateral cooperation between the two regions by supporting the bi-regional policy dialogue, networking different stakeholders in the field of S&T cooperation, analysing current cooperation, identifying common priorities and implementing multilateral (networking and research) projects.

Following a participatory approach leading to policy-recommendations, the project conducted a one-year foresight study on the future of this cooperation between India and Europe. The consortium agreed to envisage a 2020 perspective, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy and the Decade of Innovation announced by the President of India in 2009.

The similarity of the political initiatives in both regions was the background against which a success scenario-based foresight study was conducted: a desirable scenario of what S&T cooperation should look like in 2020 was developed and respective instruments were identified that might be of help in turning the normative success scenario into reality.

From Bibliometric Research  to Delphi Analysis

The main methodologies used where Delphi analysis, scenario building, expert workshops and a bibliometric analysis. The methodological setup of the New Indigo foresight process is based on the idea that three main stakeholder groups are the most relevant for future EU-India S&T cooperation: policymakers, programme owners and scientists. The policymakers design the framework conditions within which S&T cooperation takes place and decide upon support structures. The programme owners/managers adopt an intermediary position between policymakers and scientists. They know both worlds, co-develop and implement dedicated programmes and, thus, are engaged in the actual implementation of S&T internationalisation policies. The scientists, finally, are the ones actually performing research cooperation. They are the ultimate target group and main beneficiary of all internationalisation policies.

The New Indigo foresight exercise started at the end of 2010 with preliminary desk analyses on drivers of S&T cooperation and EU-India co-publication trends. On this basis, evidence on the current status and thematic focus of S&T cooperation between India and Europe could be provided as an input to the foresight and wider policy processes. Furthermore, in a series of online consultations as well as expert workshops, factors (‘drivers’) have been identified that are likely to influence what future collaboration might look like in the year 2020. Figure 1 (p. 3) describes our implementation model that can roughly be divided into two phases: one before and one after the first draft of a success scenario. The scenario development phase spans from the preparatory analyses via driver identification by literature analysis, email consultations, online Delphi for driver identification and validation, and expert workshops leading to a draft success scenario. The second scenario validation phase involves consultations on the validity and viability of the success scenario for different stakeholder groups, backcasting activities trying to indicate paths towards the success scenario, as well as the development of instrument and policy recommendations.

Assessment of Stakeholder Groups

In order to gather data and opinions from the three core stakeholder groups as mentioned above as well as include and engage them in the process of thinking about future S&T cooperation between the two regions, we opted for a twofold data collection approach: In the case of policymakers and programme owners, we arranged for physical workshops in the framework of the New Indigo project and beyond. By contrast, we approached the scientists by means of an open email consultation followed by a Delphi survey.

The main reason behind these different ways of approaching the stakeholder groups is the fact that policymakers and programme owners concretely concerned with (and thus knowledgeable about) this form of cooperation are few in number. For these few, however, our preparatory analyses and project experience suggested that they have a good overview of the current state of programmes and future plans. Thus, it makes sense to try to investigate their expertise in more depth and engage them personally, not least because they have a major stake in designing the political framework conditions for the future they are reflecting upon in the foresight analysis.

As regards the programme owners, again, their number is limited, and several of them who are engaged in EU-India cooperation in their national contexts also act as policymakers (especially in the smaller EU member states and in India). It was this group of stakeholders that was most easily accessible via the New Indigo project as they formed part of the consortium as partners or members of the steering committee.

The scientists, however, are a much larger stakeholder group. We avoided to randomly approach large groups of Indian or European scientists and did not invite small groups to give us their individual and, given the large size of the population, unrepresentative views either. Instead, we considered it most reasonable to approach those scientists who already have cooperated. We decided to revert to co-publications as a proxy for cooperation experience, i.e. we looked for scientists from each of the regions who have already published with scientists from the respective other region and engaged them via an online consultation and Delphi survey.

The whole exercise dealt with the constraints proper to international S&T cooperation foresight (cf. Degelsegger, Gruber and Wagner 2011 in EFP Brief 201): increased complexity due to the bi-regional perspective combined with very limited time resources of and difficult access to policymakers. Moreover, members of this stakeholder group are, as said above, in a position not only to assess but to significantly shape the future we aim to look at, which again adds complexity to the process as few relevant variables can be considered totally external. Regarding the scientific community, it is not easy (due to time constraints on their side and negative experiences with policy consultation processes or simply disinterest) to attract those scientists to the foresight exercise who are excellent in their field, willing to cooperate and knowledgeable about science cooperation (and willing to adopt a meta-perspective on what they are doing).

Mediating Different Stakeholder Levels

As depicted in Figure 1 (p. 3), the different stakeholder groups were firstly assessed in parallel and the assessment results of one group then fed into the subsequent discussions in the other group(s): For example, drivers identified by scientists were categorised and prioritised by programme owners and policymakers. In a second Delphi round, the results of these discussions were again presented to the scientists for validation. This implementation method proved very fruitful regarding the participatory aspect of the foresight exercise: while, for example, some of the drivers identified by scientists seemed rather obvious to programme owners or policymakers, usually experts in the field of STI cooperation policy, discussions showed a growing understanding of the scientists’ problems and triggered some revised viewpoints. At the same time, the scientists, confronted with the success scenarios (based on programme-owner assessments of urgent and feasible drivers), came to harmonise and translate their expertise and experiences in a way that the latter could inform recommendations on policy instruments. With regard to the mediation of different stakeholder levels, one of the lessons learnt is that taking the time for a kind of ‘preparatory’ discussions is a necessity. Such discussions are yet not focused on a concrete set of drivers or scenarios but target the topic of cooperation rather openly. While such time may be perceived as wasted on side topics or general statements, it is actually necessary for the group members to align their thinking and experiences with each other and in view of the expected output of the meeting. Even later in the foresight process, participants (not all of whom had participated in the process from the start) had to be given time to start discussions “from zero”. The task of the workshop leader is to pull together and harness the discussions reasonably without frustrating individual input while building understanding for different levels within S&T cooperation.

250 New Indigo Foresight

Figure 1: Relation of different stakeholder levels within the foresight process

 

Another lesson learnt – which is actually well-known but became quite apparent in this particular international cooperation foresight – is the contradiction of the participatory (integrating all inputs to the extent possible) and the strategy building aspect of success scenario-based foresight: Involving a broad range of stakeholders makes it difficult to avoid a fairly general wish list of success indicators; at the same time, reasonable recommendations beyond commonplace solutions had to be developed. Again, it is upon the process designers and workshop leaders to guide discussions towards an agreed but still fairly concrete selection of instruments.

Outcomes and Impact

New Indigo has had the opportunity to present the results of its foresight study, particularly the short-term programme recommendations, not only in form of a deliverable to the European Commission, but in front of a high-level political stakeholders audience during the regular session of the India Pilot Initiative of the Strategic Forum for International S&T Cooperation (SFIC-IPI) in Vienna on 30 November 2011. The presentation was followed by comments and a discussion with the SFIC-IPI members and contributed to contextualising and complementing the short-term programme recommendations. Additional perspectives were considered in the discussions, for instance regarding the challenges the implementation of the programme recommendations faces in different national contexts, as well as regarding new forms of support to bi-regional collaboration (Networks/Virtual Centres of Excellence, part-time academic personnel exchange etc.). The most prominent outcome of the process is the integration of results into the draft EU-India Joint Strategic Agenda (currently in preparation, see: http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/index.cfm).

In addition, the results and outcomes, particularly the short-term recommendations, have been presented at the second EU-India S&T Cooperation Days in Vienna on 1 December 2011, a multi-stakeholder conference that gathered over 150 participants from India and Europe. The results are available to the public on the New Indigo website (www.newindigo.eu)

Funds for Mobility and Platforms for Joint Research

Finally, long- and short-term recommendations towards a 2020 horizon were deducted from the success scenario developed as part of the exercise. In its complete textual form, this success scenario reads as follows:

“By 2020, success in EU-India S&T Cooperation has been achieved by support to activities in each of the three areas of facilitating, funding and training.

With regard to the facilitation of cooperation, researchers have funds and fora available to meet their Indian/European counterparts. A significant number of established multidisciplinary networks of groups and senior scientists form the core of ongoing cooperation. Research funding schemes offer dedicated project top-up funds for mobility. Barriers for short and long-term mobility such as burdensome visa procedures have been removed and, at the same time, brain circulation channels have been opened that also facilitate career development.

Common standards are in place together with a standardisation in the area of IPR, allowing for fair treatment of each partner in bi-regional consortia and avoiding additional administrative efforts for the coordinators of joint projects. Formalised institutional cooperation has increased, for instance in the form of agreements between standardisation agencies (standardisation, joint testing, measurement, data, samples, etc.). Evaluation of collaborative projects and ex-post evaluation of project outcomes is uniform and transparent.

As regards funding, the availability of dedicated public as well as philanthropic financial resources is significantly higher in 2020 than it was in 2010, coupled with an increased and explicit donor commitment. Regular bi-regional calls for proposals with real joint funding (as well as virtual common pot funding programmes complementing bilateral programmes), complemented by co-funding from the European Commission, are in place. Scientists benefit from exchange schemes in the frame of specific research infrastructure in both regions as well as from access to joint infrastructure. In order to allow scientists to quickly find information and access to EU-India S&T cooperation funding, a single entry point information hub (e.g. in form of a website) for all Indian-European research funding offers is available. The results of successful joint multi- and bilateral S&T cooperation are presented to an interested business community in dedicated showcasing conferences, facilitating academia-business-society linkages. Society is involved in designing cooperation policy, priorities and the goals of collaborative research, while science itself applies a transparent and rigorous peer review mechanism.

R&D activities of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are scanned both in India and Europe and showcased in both regions. Successful or potentially research-performing SMEs are routinely approached to be updated on possible public research partners.

Finally, dedicated funds are available (as part of wider S&T cooperation funding) for hiring outside PhDs who can support the creation of and stabilise long-term exchange between senior scientists. Two-way short-term mobility of postdocs, postdoc exchange schemes supporting young scientists to come back to their home institutions (and countries), and similar programmes are also facilitating brain circulation.

When it comes to training, a central virtual platform exists for preparing, accompanying and motivating multilateral joint research as well as for the development of joint degrees and the exchange of PhDs in sandwich programmes. Activities and results are presented in actual workshops once a year. These support structures trigger significant brain gain in combination with mobility schemes mentioned above, for instance when an Indian fellow spends two years of his/her PhD in Europe and the rest of the time in India or vice versa.

There are mechanisms in place for the development and quality control of joint PhD programmes. Joint programmes take advantage of online and virtual learning systems” (Blasy, C. et al., 2012: 31-32).

 

Authors: Cosima Blasy       blasy@zsi.at

Alexander Degelsegger degelsegger@zsi.at

Sponsors: New Indigo, co-financed by the European Commission (FP7 )
Type: International (S&T) Cooperation Foresight
Organizer: Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Alexander Degelsegger, degelsegger@zsi.at
Duration: 2010 – 2011
Budget: € 80,000
Time Horizon: 2020
Date of Brief: December 2012

Download EPF Brief No 250_New Indigo Foresight 2012

Sources and References

New Indigo Project website: www.newindigo.eu/foresight

Blasy, Cosima; Degelsegger, Alexander; Gruber, Florian; Lampert, Dietmar; Wagner, Isabella (2012): New Indigo International S&T Cooperation Foresight: A study of S&T cooperation future(s) between Europe and India. Project Deliverable 4.5 to the European Commission, online at http://www.newindigo.eu/foresight; last accessed on 13 October 2012.

Degelsegger, Alexander; Gruber; Florian (2010): S&T Cooperation Foresight Europe – Southeast Asia, in: Форсайт (Foresight), 4(3), 56-68.

ipts/Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (2007): Online Foresight Guide. Scenario Building, online at http://forlearn.jrc.ec.europa.eu/guide/3_scoping/meth_scenario.htm; last accessed on 13 October 2012.

UNIDO (2005): Technology Foresight Manual. Volume 1 – Organization and Methods, Vienna: UNIDO.

Technopolis Group et al. (2008): Drivers of International Collaboration in Research. Background Report 4, online at http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/drivers_sti_annex_4.pdf, last accessed on 24 July 2011.

Georghiou, Luke; Cassingena Harper, Jennifer; Keenan, Michael; Miles, Ian; Popper, Rafael (2008): The Handbook of Technology Foresight. Concept and Practice. Great Britain: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

EFP Brief No. 247: Delphi-based Foresight for a Strategic Research Agenda on the Future of European Manufacturing

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

This follow-up brief recapitulates the foresight exercise of the “Manufacturing Visions – Integrating Diverse Perspectives into Pan-European Foresight (ManVis)” project. Six years after the project was concluded, we look back with the purpose of extracting key lessons learned. We ask what the mid-term and long-term implications of this foresight exercise are, specifically how effectively the Delphi method was deployed to examine a wide spectrum of aspects underpinning the future trajectory of European manufacturing with a particular emphasis on the elaboration of scenarios that provide a broad basis for public discussion on the future of European manufacturing. This follow-up brief draws particularly on the lessons learnt from the organisers’ perspective.

Creating a Vision of the Future of European Manufacturing

The central purpose of the ManVis project was to inform a continuous process of policy development to enhance the competitiveness of the European manufacturing industries through a structured foresight exercise. In particular, the ManVis project was expected to contribute to completing the picture of the socio-economic dimensions that shape the technology dynamics in European manufacturing industries.

The policy relevance of the ManVis project was essentially linked to its role as one of the central strategic foresight studies in which the preparation of a more detailed Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), aimed at paving the way for the definition of research priorities to be implemented via the EU’s future RTD Framework Programmes, was anchored. The ManVis foresight was launched in response and complementary to the results obtained from previous foresight exercises and empirical surveys indicating that manufacturing in Europe needed to strengthen its innovation capacity in an environment where manufacturing is increasingly being relocated to locations outside Europe. Together with the FuTMaN (“Future of Manufacturing in Europe 2015-2020 – The Challenge for Sustainable Development”) project, the ManVis project was a central pillar of the Manufuture European Technology Platform, composed of high-ranking representatives of European industry and the scientific community, that was initiated in December 2004 with the explicit purpose of elaborating specific technology roadmaps, both horizontal and sectoral, to define the priorities for the first calls for proposals of EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

In sum, the ManVis project addressed the following questions:

(a) Which technologies will be relevant to European manufacturing?

(b) What role will European manufacturing play in a more competitive world?

(c) Is European manufacturing prepared to meet the challenges of knowledge-based manufacturing?

(d) Which visions and challenges emerge for European manufacturing?

The ManVis Foresight Approach:
Delphi and Demand-side Scenarios

Delphi is a long-established methodology to create consensus among a wide range of opinions as a basis for developing an informed view on visions and alternatives in the setting of priorities in controversial or complex fields of science and technology policy. The ManVis Delphi survey collected the views of more than 3,000 manufacturing experts in 22 European countries as well as those of stakeholders and overseas experts that were collected during workshops and through interviews.

The Delphi survey covered developments of all relevant aspects of manufacturing from technological dynamics to organisational concerns and issues related to sector-specific developments. In parallel to the survey, scenarios on the future development of the demand side of manufacturing were elaborated.

Flexible Automation Instead of Unmanned Factory

The following key messages on technological dynamics in European manufacturing were derived from the ManVis Delphi survey:

(a) Micro-electromechanical devices, smart materials and products using nano-coatings represent long-term developments of new types of products with the potential to disrupt markets.

(b) New manufacturing technology principles, such as bottom-up manufacturing technologies are only expected in the long run. Manufacturing technologies using biotechnologies to create and manipulate inorganic material and products, such as nano-manufacturing, should be on the long-term “radar” of RTD policy.

(c) Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) as well as flexible organisation and automation strategies combined in reconfigurable manufacturing systems supporting flexible business strategies are important topics on the short-term research agenda. However, as a particular aspect, the experts surveyed viewed the unmanned factory with skepticism. Instead, they forecast that humans working with flexible automation solutions will play an important role in creating flexibility.

(d) Only long-term automation visions comprise human-machine interfaces such as man-machine speech recognition, self-learning systems and co-bots.

From these key messages the following implications were derived for the role of manufacturing research in combining the long-term horizon in technology trajectories with the short-term needs of firms to innovate successfully: Basic manufacturing research needs to prepare for new challenges, whereas applied manufacturing research should focus on the adaptation and transformation of existing technologies and organisational processes. Considering the functions of manufacturing research, it has been suggested that these key messages on future technology dynamics be discussed using the concept of the combined science-technology cycle of innovation (see Figure 1).
bild1

Figure 1: Manufacturing-related technologies on the sci-ence-technology cycle for macro innovations (Source: ManVis Report No. 3, Delphi interpretation report)

Integrating Non-technological Aspects

The ManVis Delphi survey covered many aspects of knowledge-based manufacturing related to the working environment. In particular, organisational concerns as they are linked to new challenges of product development were examined. In one of the interviews conducted for this follow-up, however, one of the organisers of the foresight process highlighted that – although the ManVis project was considered a “creative pool” for the construction of the Manufuture platform – contributors to the platform were skeptical concerning several of the organisational challenges. This was explained by a lack of interest in issues of work organisation at the company level, in particular on part of the predominantly larger industrial firms represented on the platform (SMEs were not represented). In addition, the organisers stated that the ManVis foresight contributed greatly to the integration of non-technological aspects in the debate on the future drivers shaping technological dynamics and on the demand for skills and competencies.

Furthermore, the interviewee argued that the Delphi results had the intended wide-ranging impact because the survey did not focus on sector issues alone. Although this impact was important in consolidating the field of manufacturing research, the foresight results were not followed up by more in-depth indicator-based (e.g. patents) research with a greater focus on sectoral issues. This was, however, not considered a methodological constraint but rather a weakness in following up on the Delphi results.

In addition, the organisers mentioned two methodological aspects as particularly important in shaping the results of the Delphi survey:

(a) The organisers’ interventions during several workshops at the national level, held to prepare the Delphi survey, played a central role in condensing the themes and elaborating the Delphi statements. As in any Delphi survey, the heterogeneity of the participants assured the validity of the results. In particular, the responses to the survey highlighted the facilitator’s role in coordinating the pool of heterogeneous expertise coming from a great diversity of technological and non-technological fields during the initial workshop, at which a list of 100 statements on a wide range of manufacturing topics was generated, as very important for the final outcome of the Delphi process.

(b) With regard to the stability of the responses to obtain a consensus among the participating experts, the summary feedback of aggregated responses of the second round did not generate any significant new changes. Under efficiency considerations, it could therefore be argued that the survey administration could have used statistical methods to analyse the data from the first round to assess whether any subsequent rounds were needed and, if not, terminate data collection after the first round.

Direct and Indirect Achievements of the ManVis Foresight

The ManVis Delphi survey results provided a broad basis for public discussion on the future of manufacturing in Europe. In particular, by complementing previous foresight studies intended to improve the self-understanding of the European manufacturing industry, it constituted an important pillar in the development of a strategic manufacturing research agenda at the European level. Several of the issues that were highlighted by ManVis, such as the need to explore the implications of user-driven innovation for manufacturing systems, were taken up in FP6.

Beyond its intended effects, the ManVis foresight also had some important unintended effects such as making a central contribution to the definition of research needs of the new member states that joined the European Union during the 2004 enlargement. Another central achievement of the ManVis foresight process was also an unintended side effect, namely to involve these new member states in the development of a Strategic Research Agenda on manufacturing in Europe.

Effective Dissemination of the Results under Budget Constraints

Since the financial budget for dissemination activities was cut significantly during the negotiation phase with the European Commission, the ManVis dissemination approach was under strain from the beginning of the project. Nevertheless, the project reported the results of the foresight to a wide audience of industry and governmental stakeholders at the Bled Conference in October 2005. This conference, which would not have been realised without the national resources of the Slovenian ManVis partner, provided a strong signal of interest in and relevance of identifying the manufacturing research needs in the new eastern member states.

Reaching the Policy Level

The ManVis key messages have been disseminated at the policy level to a wide set of stakeholders and actors of the European Commission, the member states, and industry. During the interviews for this follow-up brief, the communication with European policymakers was described as very good and the interaction with the EC as very supportive, in particular with regard to the central goal of feeding the results of the foresight exercise into key European initiatives such as the Manufuture European Technology Platform.

In sum, the outcomes of the Manvis project served to bring manufacturing experts with different national and professional backgrounds together to discuss the visions and the possible paths for securing the future of manufacturing in Europe. The results of the ManVis project have been fed into the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme.

Learning about the Manufacturing Research Needs of the New Member States

It was reported during one interview with the organisers of the foresight that a central achievement of the ManVis project was to involve the new member states in the development of a Strategic Manufacturing Research Agenda at this particular time. While the EC only had partial knowledge about key institutions and actors shaping policy development processes in areas related to manufacturing, it was an important indirect achievement of the ManVis foresight initiative to involve many experts and policy stakeholders from the new member states in defining and assessing the manufacturing research needs at the European level. In this sense, the networking effect, particularly during the Delphi preparation workshops, was highly appreciated by European policy stakeholders because they provided a unique opportunity to get acquainted and build strong relationships with key experts from these countries and to use the foresight initiative to define priorities for the first calls for proposals for the upcoming Seventh Framework Programme.

In this sense, the direct involvement of the new member states in the definition of research topics to be supported was stated as one of the most important, yet unplanned and indirect, contributions of the ManVis foresight process. The research topics thus identified are considered to have real industrial relevance and the potential to produce measurable impacts in terms of marketable products and services or more efficient manufacturing methods in the context of the catch-up process that these countries are undergoing.

Contributions to EU Enlargement

The ManVis foresight process made an important contribution to completing the picture of technology dynamics in manufacturing. At the particular time of realisation, i.e. in the aftermath of the 2004 EU enlargement, the Delphi survey not only set out several possible trajectories for developments of future manufacturing processes and policy scenarios, but it also helped to define the R&D position of 22 EU countries. In the context of the shifting comparative advantages due to the salary increases to be expected particularly in the new member states, the ManVis foresight provided an important platform to learn about manufacturing research priority topics and the adaptations needed at the level of companies and innovation systems. Beyond the identification of research needs, a concrete achievement of the ManVis foresight lies in the strong integration of key stakeholders from both public policy and industry of the new member states in the long-term planning of European research funding for manufacturing.

Authors: Dirk Johann             dirk.johann.fl@ait.ac.at

Elisabetta Marinelli   elisabetta.marinelli@ec.europa.eu

Sponsors: European Commission (Directorate General Research)
Type: International foresight activity (Specific Support Action) covering the enlarged European Union, focusing on the thematic area of manufacturing
Geographic coverage: Europe
Organizer: Fraunhofer ISI Karlsruhe, OPTI,  JRC-IPTS, Cambridge University, IVF Sweden and national correspondents in 22 European countries
Duration: 2003 – 2006
Budget: € 1,500,000
Time Horizon: 2020
Date of Brief: July 2012

Download EPF Brief No. 247_ManVis_Follow-up

Sources and References

Dreher, C. et al. (2005), ManVis Report No. 3 – Delphi Interpretation Report, Deliverable D15, Contract No. NMP2-CT-2003-507139-MANVIS

Dreher, C. et al. (2005), ManVis Report No. 6 – Manufacturing Visions – Policy Summary and Recommendations, Deliverable D17, Contract No NMP2-CT-2003-507139-MANVIS

European Commission (2006), Manufuture Strategic Research Agenda – Assuring the Future of Manufacturing in Europe – Report of the High-level Group, European Commission, Directorate-General for Research: Brussels

Jung-Erceg, P. K. Pandza, H. Armbruster, C. Dreher (2007), “Absorptive Capacity in European Manufacturing: A Delphi Study”, Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 107, 1, 37-51

Link to the original Foresight Brief No. 53 “European Manufacturing Visions – ManVis 2020”: http://www.foresight-platform.eu/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/EFMN-Brief-No.-53-European-Manufacturing-Visions-ManVis-2020.pdf

EPF Brief No. 243: Towards Gender-transformative Climate Change Adaptation Policies

Friday, December 21st, 2012

This climate policy research demonstrates that in India’s agriculture-dominated and gender-biased economy, the future of India’s adaptation strategy hinges on how well gender is integrated into agriculture-related policies and programmes. India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, which lays out India’s strategy for mitigation and adaptation, recognises that women suffer more from climate change impacts than men. However, it fails to recognise that women are also integral to climate solutions. The research concludes with a set of policy recommendations for policy-makers and other actors.

Why Should India Focus on Gender-Responsive Adaptation?

There is growing scientific and anecdotal evidence in India that climate vagaries are affecting the life and work of its people, especially the 72% of its populations that lives off climate-sensitive agriculture and related activities. An overwhelming 60% of India’s agriculture is rain-fed and prone to recurring natural disasters like floods, droughts and cyclones which, according to climate scientists, will become more frequent, intense and unpredictable. These rain fed areas are also home to majority of the poor and marginalised farmers. India’s 11th Five-year Plan (2007-2012) notes the increasing ‘feminisation’ of Indian agriculture and a dominance of women workers in livestock rearing and collection of minor products from forests.

While India is the world’s 5th largest greenhouse gasses emitter and the 6th largest carbon emitter, these constitute just 4% and 3% of the global emissions respectively; also, India’s per capita emissions are 70% below the world’s average. Following a low-carbon growth strategy is important, and India has already embarked upon one, but there is far less policy focus on adaptation. As the Stern Review (2006) notes: ‘adaptation policy is crucial for dealing with the unavoidable impacts of climate but it has been underemphasised in many countries. Adaptation is the only response available for the impacts that will occur over the next several decades before mitigation measures can have an effect.’

Overcoming Gender-specific Disparities

Without an effective adaptation policy, India cannot achieve its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) or its MDG-based National Development Goals as set out by the Indian Planning Commission. Climate change impacts often threaten to erode or inhibit development gains. Women are typically responsible for providing their household with climate-sensitive resources like water, food crops, fodder and firewood; they are also less likely to have the education, opportunities, authority and productive resources to adapt to climate change impacts. Without gender-specific disparities being addressed by adaptation policies, climate change will add another layer of gender inequality, especially in the farming sector.

The fourth assessment report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes that gender differences affect the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of women and men. After decades of gender-blind climate negotiation texts under the UN Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC), women and gender concerns were mentioned in the December 2010 Conference of Parties (COP 16) Cancun text.

Understanding Gender-specific Impacts of Climate Change

Using a gender lens, the research (a) analysed adaptation policies and programmes as laid out in the NAPCC and (b) gathered evidence from four disaster-prone rain fed agro-climatic zones in four states (India consists of 28 states and 7 Union Territories) for evidence-based policy recommendations. The four agro-climatic zones were:

  • The Himalayan eco-system in Himachal Pradesh (HP).
  • The flood plains of Eastern Uttar Pradesh (UP).
  • The Sunderbans coastal area in West Bengal (WB).
  • The drought region of Andhra Pradesh (AP).

The research objectives were:

  • Understanding some of the socio-economic impacts of climate change at the local level where gender-specific disparities are most intense.
  • Identifying some of the gender-responsive policy gaps in the national adaptation missions and in specific state-level climate change plans, and suggesting possible corrections.
  • Identifying some areas where women and men can both participate in, influence and benefit from scientific work on adaptation
  • Assessing how gender-responsive the work of grassroots NGOs working on adaptation is and how this can be up-scaled in a gender-responsive manner by the Central and State government’s climate-related policies and plans.

The research employed a range of tools and techniques. These included:

  • Literature Review
  • Participatory collection of field-data by four grassroots NGOs, each in one of the above agro-climatic zones.
  • Consultations with gender/climate experts
  • Policy analysis
  • A Delphi exercise

How Women and Men are Impacted Differently by Climate Change

There is little evidence to show the different impacts of climate change on men and women. The need to identify and study these differences is critical for making gender-responsive adaptation policies and programmes.

This research gathered data from the four agro-climatic zones and used a gender lens to show how the same climate change impact affected women and men differently. The research revealed that men’s primary way to adapt was to migrate from farms which meant that women were left behind to both till the unproductive land and to continue their care roles. This put an additional burden on women because they had to till the unproductive land or labour in other fields, while continuing to shoulder their care-giver responsibilities with no support from the spouse. The table below captures this gender difference from the four zones.

Gendered Impacts of Climate Change
Climate Change Impacts on women Impacts on Men
Lower food production Least to eat; sleep on an empty stomach

Need to take on additional work as wage labour which also led to more feminisation of agricultural labour (WB, UP, AP)

They get first priority to available food in the family
More natural disasters – cyclones, floods, water-logging and droughts; infrequent rains; intense rains Longer distances to walk to get water and fuel-wood

Loss of fodder and livestock

Drought/infrequent spells of rains – harder ground to do agricultural work on

Intense rains – more weeds and weeding is a woman’s job

Distress migration
Higher summer temperatures; longer summers Lower milk production among animals

More tiring work in fields even in April (HP)

Longer waking hours to work in the field early morning and late evening to beat the heat (AP, HP, UP)

Lesser tasks in the field.

Distress migration

Effect on regeneration of species and upward shift of the forest tree-line Medicinal herbs and fodder unavailable in forests now (HP) No effect
Social impacts

 

 

Higher indebtedness – women go to take loans and have the responsibility to pay off loans!

Increased male migration results in more women and child trafficking and HIV/AIDS spread

Greater poverty and frustration among men leads to increase in domestic abuse/violence

Distress migration

 

Adaptation Interventions Involve Women more but also Affect them Differently

Most grassroots development organisation working on farm-based livelihoods with rural men and women have willy-nilly adopted techniques that help small and marginalised farmers adapt to climate vagaries. Adaptation can be understood to be ‘development-plus;’ or development measures that take into account climate-proofing; or climate change adaptation interventions that help in also achieving development gains. According to a World Resources Institute study (2007), ‘adaptation uses the same toolbox as development measures, is more integrated than development interventions and factors in the dimension of ‘additionality’ on account of climate variability.’

Most NGOs this research study examined have similar approaches to integrating adaptation measures into farming practices. They build on traditional knowledge, adopt a diversified livelihoods basket, and add value through applied scientific and technological interventions. All this is done by first mobilising groups of farmers – both men and women but more women farmers. The reason for making women active players is because NGOs acknowledge that women farmers are more responsive than men farmers and achieve greater success. So women, more than men, are the main mobilizers of peer groups, recipients of knowledge and skills and risk-takers. Yet, these roles are hardly acknowledged by NGOs in documents, meetings and advocacy initiatives.

Working with women also does not usually translate into women owning more productive assets or accessing more government schemes or participating more in government or community-level decision-making bodies. While women do reap some benefits and are also more empowered than earlier in some respects, many adaptive interventions put more time and labour burden on women as compared to men. The table below illustrates a few of the differential impacts of on-the-ground adaptation interventions on men and women and some of the policy gaps that need to be addressed.

Gender Analysis of Adaptation Interventions
Adaptive Interventions Gender Analysis Policy & Programme Imperatives
Organic/low chemical input agriculture with diversified products Improved food security for both women and men

Women put in more labour and time to prepare bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticide

Higher fodder and fuel-wood yields for women

Less information/ knowledge/ inputs accessed by women

Less participation in decision-making bodies

Incentives to promote availability of bio-inputs

Incentives to promote joint farm land titles to spouses and leasing public land to women farmers groups.

Development of women-friendly technology to reduce drudgery

Availability of local weather-related information to women farmers.

Increased use of traditional saline/ drought/ flood resistant seeds and local livestock varieties More food security for both women and men

Gives women fodder/ fuel-wood

Enables women to store and exchange seed, not buy from seed markets

Opportunity for women to reclaim traditional knowledge

Promote farm-to-lab, in addition to the current lab-to-farm approach

Make local varieties available

Popularize seed banks, grain banks and fodder banks

Recruit women and men farmer trainers in extension work

Rain-water harvesting Benefits women more because it ensures improved food security and availability of water for livestock and homes Promote water harvesting structures for kitchen gardens, roof rainwater harvesting and for small farms;

Revive traditional ponds and wells.

Empowerment of Women

Women need to be at the core of planning and implementation of adaptation interventions. This includes collection of gender-disaggregated data at all levels, gender-based monitoring and evaluation and gender-budgeting. The four-C framework given below sums up the main policy recommendations.

  • Counting women in at planning, designing, implementing, resourcing and evaluating stages of all programmes and schemes. Currently, there is a huge deficit on gender-disaggregated data for policy making.
  • Converging programmes and schemes at the planning and design stage through multi-sectoral and multi-ministerial bodies and at the implementation stage through local government agencies and local elected bodies. A specific need is to mandate gender-responsive ‘Local Action Plans on Adaptation,’ (or LAPAs) integrated with the Village Development Plans made by local elected bodies.
  • Capacity building and empowering women and men at the level of local elected bodies, local government agencies, within scientific institutions working on adaptation and within relevant NGOs and community-based organizations. Gender-responsive decision-making institutions are basic building blocks for egalitarian adaptation policies.
  • Collaborating with key stakeholders – adaptation science researchers, government agencies and departments, local elected bodies, user groups, civil society groups and legislators – to build resilience among the most vulnerable people through participatory innovation, utilization of traditional and local knowledge, adding value through scientific and technological interventions and converging all resources.

Within this framework, the research identifies policy-level recommendations for specific actors – legislators, government planning bodies, government officers, local elected bodies, adaptation research scientists, civil society organizations and community-based groups.

These policy recommendations form a blueprint of what India’s approach and policies must be in the coming decades to ensure that both men and women are able to reap the benefits of a climate-resilient path to development.

Authors: Aditi Kapoor, Alternative Futures    email address: aditikapoor2@gmail.com  
Sponsors: Heinrich Böll Foundation, Germany and Christian Aid, U.K.  
Type: National foresight and policy advocacy research  
Organizer: Alternative Futures (Rakesh Kapoor) afmailbox@gmail.com  
Duration: 08/2010 – 05/2011 Budget: 20,000 € Time Horizon: 2030-2050 Date of Brief: July 2012

Download EPF Brief No. 243_Gender-transformative Climate Change Adaptation.

 

Sources and References

Ministry of Environment and Forests (November 2010), Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA) Report 2, Government of India, New Delhi

Stern, N. (2006). The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Adger, W. N., et al. (2007). Assessment of adaptation practices, options, constraints and capacity. In Parry, M. L., et al. (Eds). Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,   Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 717-743.

Agarwal, Bina. (1994). A Field of One’s Own: Gender and land rights in South Asia. Cambridge University Press, New York.

——- (2010). Gender and Green Governance: The political economy of women’s presence within and beyond community forestry. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

Dankelman, I. (2002). Climate Change: Learning from gender analysis and women’s experience of organising for sustainable development. Gender and Development 10(2), 21–29.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (2003). Gender: Key to Sustainability and Food Security; Gender and Development Plan of Action (2002-07).

Government of India. (2008). Eleventh Five Year Plan Vol I-III (2007-2012). Planning Commission. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

IWRAW Asia Pacific. (2009). Occasional Papers Series No. 14, Equity or Equality for Women? Understanding CEDAW’s Equality Principles, International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific, Malaysia.

Krishna, Sumi, ed. (2004). Livelihood and Gender: Equity in Community Resource Management. Centre for Women’s Development Studies. Sage Publications, New Delhi.

EFP Brief No. 239: Corporate Foresight – A Delphi Study

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The purpose of this paper is to provide new impetus to the design of strategy and innovation processes in companies. Its intention is to contribute to the discussion of methods of future studies and thereby to increase the practical relevance of future research in businesses. To this end, the specific requirements that these methods have to meet in order to be applicable in companies are presented and recommendations given both for companies and the profession of future research.

 

Looking into the Future: Methods of Future Studies

In every business, there is the need to gain insight into future trends to be able to respond to forthcoming challenges, but it is impossible to identify such trends without attempting to look into the future. As fantastic as it may seem, the application of the methods of future studies actually makes this look into the future possible. However, the use of the methods is often perceived as incompatible with the current workflow. Therefore, this study is primarily concerned with the question of how the methods of future studies can be best applied in business environments.

 

Making Strategy Processes More Profitable

The paper intends to give impetus to the discussion about methods both in the discipline of future studies and in businesses considering the specifics of future studies when applied to the business context. The main goal is to set the stage for improvements of the methodological quality of future studies when applied to businesses and to increase the relevance of future studies to businesses. It aims to supplement the discussion of methods in future research and thereby increase the practical relevance of future research in business. These requirements can serve decision-makers in companies and research to plan and evaluate the methods used to make strategy processes more profitable and efficient.

 

Methodological Background of Delphi

The methodology of this study consisted of a literature analysis, an empirical study and the deduction of theoretical and practical implications. The first step to answer the research questions was to examine the theoretical and conceptual background by means of a literature review. Subsequently, an empirical survey in the form of a preliminary and a main study was carried out. The preliminary study consisted of 15 expert interviews. Then a Delphi study was conducted in two rounds. The results of the empirical survey served to derive the requirements that the methods of future studies would have to meet in companies. Recommendations, both for the discipline of future studies and for companies, on how the methods can be modified so as to meet those requirements were described. The research project was based on the mixed-methods approach with an emphasis on qualitative research. In the preliminary and the main study, different qualitative methods were used. In the main study, quantitative data and qualitative data were triangulated.

 

Participants of the Study

A total of 204 experts were invited to participate in the study. Of those invitees, 58 took part in the first round of the consultation and 35 in the second round; 32 participants completed the entire survey. The experts chosen to participate in the survey were required to have wide experience in the use of methods of future studies in businesses. The goal was to involve experts with diverse professional backgrounds. Some experts had an academic background in areas of future studies and innovation management, some came from strategy and innovation departments of both SMEs and global corporations, and others from a background in management consulting and research and development departments.

Problems and Requirements in Applying Methods

The empirical results show that there are specific challenges in applying the methods of future studies in businesses. The methodological design and the implementation of the methods often prove to be difficult. Among the reasons for these problems are lack of knowledge, processes that take too long, limited human and financial resources as well as difficulties in communicating the results. The identification of these problem areas made it possible to derive a set of requirements that the methods of future studies have to meet so as to be applicable to businesses: they have to be easily learnable, transparent, motivational and easily communicable. Further, measurability, the capability to tie in with other methods, the scalability of the method and possibilities for collaboration are important.

Learnability, Transparency and Transferability

The methods have to be learnable with reasonable effort at different skill levels because there is often a lack of methodological knowledge in business settings and a knowledge gap between different hierarchical levels. The results of this study also show that there is not only a lack of knowledge about the necessary methodological steps but also uncertainty about the potential insight to be gained by applying the methods. Therefore, both the concepts of the methods applied and the ways in which they can be implemented have to be transparent. It is further necessary that the methods can be transferred both to and from other fields of application. This need arises from the ever-expanding range of methods, from limited human resources and from the diverse intentions that can motivate the use of the methods.

Motivational Potential, Communicability and Evaluation

The empirical data point to difficulties in motivating the people involved. Since it is crucial to produce and maintain motivation, the methods should satisfy the criteria of being motivational. The communicability of methods is also central in the corporate context. The study shows that there is scepticism about the discipline of future studies and its methods that needs to be addressed. Successful communication can also help to avoid false expectations, which otherwise are often perceived as serious obstacles. Another requirement is the measurability of the process and the outcome. The need arises because many experts believe that it is impossible to verify the outcome of the methods based on “hard data”. The results of the study show that many experts for this reason emphasise the value of the process itself.

Scalability, Flexibility and Collaboration

The empirical data show that the period for the implementation and evaluation of the methods is often perceived as being too long. This suggests that there is a need for temporal scalability. The length of the implementation period, and thus the costs, must be adaptable to the actual situation of the companies. Further, the methods should allow for joint implementation since knowledge from within the company has to be extracted and made explicit. The study reveals hurdles in this process; the involvement of all stakeholders is perceived to be difficult. An essential point of concern is the complexity of the research object, which requires that the chosen methods can be combined. The empirical evidence suggests that stakeholder participation is already used by many, but the potential is not yet exhausted in some places.

 

Overcoming Hurdles through a Joint Process of Methods Development

The study revealed a number of problem areas in the use of the methods. These problems can only be solved through a joint effort on part of the profession of future research and the companies. Focusing on methods only may prevent us from perceiving the limitations but also the opportunities in applying them in certain settings or situations. Therefore, the use of the methods can only be improved if we consider the specific requirements of the companies in question. On the other hand, looking at the operational procedures in a company only may in turn prevent the emergence of new perspectives. Concentration on daily routines may lead to ignorance of the world outside the company and therefore to missing new opportunities.

A joint process of developing and adapting methodology could result in devising methods capable of transferring and integrating knowledge and research results about the future instead of creating an abstract “methodology of future research”. The study allowed to derive suggestions for a potentially successful joint working process.

 

How Can the Hurdles Be Overcome?

The members of the profession need both strong methodological and excellent teaching skills to facilitate the learning of the methods. The methods of future research should be taught in different contexts: in higher education as well as in vocational training and further education programs at various skill levels. Companies should identify the knowledge gaps of their employees in order to address these specifically. In order to achieve transparency, it is necessary to disclose the processes involved and the criteria used for choosing a particular method. To satisfy this requirement in a company, it is possible to focus on internal transparency so that internal company knowledge does not have to be exposed to outsiders.

Practitioners of future studies need to be proficient in interdisciplinary and interface skills to promote the transfer of methods both from and to other fields of application. In addition, an intensive exchange between future studies, related disciplines and companies is very important. Expert knowledge about motivation is needed to motivate those involved in the use of future studies methods. Both the profession of future studies and the companies have to recognise the importance of motivation for the methodological process. Further, companies should enhance social and career-enhancing incentives to motivate employees involved in foresight processes.

The basis for the successful communication of the methods is a high level of expertise and communication skills of the practitioners of future studies. This includes both verbal communication itself and communication about communication formats. In addition, the professional management of expectations and individual communication concepts are important in dealing with stakeholders in the company.

Knowledge about evaluation concepts as used in the profession of future studies is necessary to be able to assess and measure the outcome. Reviewing the steps taken should be a natural part of every project. To be able to do so, businesses need to make structural adjustments such as define responsibilities and plan a budget for foresight processes. To make sure that methods can tie in with each other, it is necessary to be open to experimentation, extend the combination of methods and also to evaluate systematically.

For the profession of future studies this means that methodological approaches have to be extended with a focus on both internal and external methods of triangulation to create meaningful combinations of methods. In order to make sure that the methods can be implemented collaboratively, existing methodological concepts have to be expanded. Possibilities to collaborate
should be integrated in methods that have been unsuitable for collaboration so far.

Solid knowledge of project management is essential to be able to assure the temporal scalability of the methods. Therefore, practitioners of future studies need to be able to acquire such knowledge during their training. The profession should also actively participate in the discussion of how to adapt the time scale of the methods. A key aspect to improve the handling of methods could be the application of appropriate software solutions.

 

Limits and Areas in Need of Further Research

Whether such a thing as methods of future studies even exists is an issue that is still discussed controversially within the discipline of future studies. The lack of a scientific consensus both on the methodological canon and the classification of methods is responsible for the fact that this study could only provide a limited view on the application of methods of future studies in companies. It is impossible to presume that all participants of the preliminary and the main study would share a common understanding of the term “methods of future research”. Therefore, the range of existing methods is only inadequately presented and quantified.

The sample of this study is subject to restrictions: the fact that the participating experts were selected with a focus on their experience in strategy and foresight processes may potentially distort the picture. The reality of those companies that do not deal with strategy at all is not represented in this study either; hence the need for further research. The companies’ reasons for having only little contact with future studies or no contact at all have to be understood. This would be an addition to the results of the present study and might reflect even better on the individual perspectives of different protagonists.

Download EFP Brief No. 239_Corporate Foresight – A Delphi Study.

 

Sources and References

Ambacher, N. (2012): “Corporate Foresight – A Delphi study on the use of methods of future research, taking into account the needs of industry and research”, Master’s thesis at the Free University of Berlin, Berlin

For more information about the study and its results, please visit the project website: www.delphibefragung.de

EFP Brief No. 229: Taiwan Agricultural Technology Foresight 2025

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

This was the first time that Taiwan conducted a large-scale expert opinion survey using the Delphi approach. The goal was to identify research topics relevant to shaping the future of agriculture in Taiwan. Applying roadmapping, the project presented policy suggestions at the end of 2011. The suggestions have been incorporated into the Taiwanese govern-ment’s Council of Agriculture (COA) research agenda as evidenced by COA’s call-for-projects announcement.

The Role of Agriculture in Taiwan

Taiwan was one of the leading countries in subtropical agriculture several decades ago, but now agriculture has lost its importance in job creation, domestic production and international trade. However, agriculture is still at the root of the economy and has many functions beyond production – it provides the food we eat, conserves the environment we live in, and is a force for social stability.

Taiwan, with nominal GDP $427 billion US dollars and GDP (PPP) per capita $35 thousand US dollars in 2010, is known for its manufacturing capabilities today, but it used to be exporting a lot of agricultural products and technologies to many countries long time ago. Since 1959, more than 100 agricultural missions have been dispatched to more than 60 countries, among which about half missions are currently at work in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific.

In fact, Taiwan’s total land area is about 36,000 square kilometers, most of which is mountainous or sloped. Therefore, agriculture is practiced mainly in the plains, which comprise 29 percent of the country. As a subtropical island characterized by high temperatures and heavy rainfall, Taiwan offers bio-diversities for agriculture, but also lends itself to the breeding of insects and disease. Particularly, there are frequently typhoons causing natural disasters in the summer and autumn every year.

There have been significant changes in Taiwan’s agricultural exports over the years however. Years ago, Taiwan exported sugar cane, rice, and canned mushrooms or asparagus. Now Taiwan’s main exports are aquaculture products (e.g. tuna, eel, tilapia), leather and feathers, and its main agricultural imports include corn, soybeans, wine, tobacco, cotton, lumber, beef and wheat. In 1953, the average value of agricultural production increased 7.3 percent annually and exports increased at a rate of 9.3 percent, but beginning in 1970, agricultural exports fell behind agricultural imports. In 2010, imports were USD 12.8 billion and exports were USD 4 billion. The production value based on agriculture is estimated approximately 11.2 percent of GDP, while primary production accounts for only 1.5 percent of GDP in Taiwan.

The Revitalization of Agriculture in Taiwan

In order to revitalize the agriculture sector to meet the challenges of trade liberalization, globalization, the knowledge- based economy and particularly, climate change, the Taiwanese Government’s Council of Agriculture (COA) commissioned a project- Taiwan Agricultural Technology Foresight 2025 – to the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER). This four-year project (2008–2011), with an annual budget of USD 350 000, conducted foresight-related activities including demand surveys, trend and policy analyses, horizon scanning, visioning, essay contests, training workshops, two-round Delphi surveys, road mapping and development of policy suggestions (short-, mid- and long-term development plans and priorities) (see Figure 1).

The project aimed to identify R&D priorities to meet the long-term objectives for agriculture in Taiwan such as to improve farmers’ productivity and livelihoods, to develop resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly ways to do farming, and to ensure food safety by instituting a traceability system, which were embedded in a vision of making a better living in Taiwan in terms of industrial development, environmental protection and life quality respectively.

Environmentally-Freindly Farming for Taiwan’s Future

In 2008, TIER set up a task force with six researchers and two assistants to learn the foresight techniques, mainly from Japan. It built up a data-base of social needs, technological trends, research resources, critical issues and agricultural policies nationwide and worldwide.

Under the support and approval of COA, the project set up the Planning Committee, including government officers, agricultural experts, senior research fellows, social scientists and an economist. The Planning Committee decided that the project’s target year was 2025, and that the purpose of the foresight was to identify R&D priorities to meet the long-term objectives for agriculture in Taiwan such as to improve farmers’ productivity and livelihoods, to develop resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly ways to do farming, and to ensure food safety by instituting a traceability system, which were embedded in a vision of making a better living in Taiwan in terms of industrial development, environmental protection and life quality respectively.

Visioning for Research Topics

In order to link the foresight and policy, the project set up the Strategy Formation Committee, with ten subcommittees corresponding to the ten research areas of COA, each of which was comprised of agricultural experts and senior scientists. The members of the Strategy Formation Committee were nominated by the Planning Committee and then approved by COA. The duty of the Strategy Formation Committee was to depict 2025 visioning in each research area and to figure out the research topics to meet the needs for shaping the future agriculture in Taiwan identified by the Planning Committee.

In 2009, the Strategy Formation Committee proposed more than 100 research topics for the project. The TIER task force tried to consolidate some of them and organize them in a uniform format. Then, the Planning Committee identified the final 74 research topics and the related key questions for the Delphi questionnaire.

In 2010, the TIER task force built up an on-line survey platform and carried out two rounds of Delphi survey. There were 675 experts and scientists on the list of the first round, 546 of which participated in Delphi survey (response rate of 80 percent), and 512 of which questionnaire were effective. Then there were 546 experts and scientists on the list of the second round, 413 of which participated in Delphi survey (response rate of 76 percent), and 407 of which questionnaire were effective.

Based on the survey responses to 74 research topics, the project compiled the indices of industrial development, environmental protection, life quality, national priority and government support respectively to measure the research topics in different aspects. The standard deviations of all indices at the second round became smaller than those at the first round, so it implies that the Delphi survey of the project did converge for reaching consensus.

The survey shows that the government should support those research topics with higher ratings in environmental protection as well as in life quality particularly due to agricultural multi-function (externality). It is, however, slightly correlated between industrial development and government support to be needed for those research topics because some of them could be developed by the private sector. These research topics have been incorporated into COA’s research agenda as evidenced by COA’s R&D system call-for-projects announcement.

Attracting the Young Generation

Besides, in order to attract the young generation to think about the future of agriculture, the project invited young people to participate in the Taiwan Agricultural Technology Foresight 2025 contest (see Figure 2).

Foresight for Policy and as Policy

This was the first time that Taiwan conducted a large-scale expert opinion survey using the Delphi approach, in order to identify the research topics to meet the needs for shaping the future agriculture in Taiwan. The project made policy suggestions by road mapping at the end of 2011, and these have been incorporated into COA’s research agenda as evidenced by COA’s R&D system call-for-projects announcement.

The major contribution of the project has been the government’s support for the research topics of ‘national priority’ in terms of industrial development, environmental protection and life quality, with equal weights embedded in the vision of making a better living in Taiwan. The project is expected to improve farmers’ productivity and livelihoods, particularly for smallholders; to develop resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly ways to do farming in Taiwan’s limited land area; to reinforce the links between production and consumption of agricultural products by implementing a traceability system.

Authors: Julie C. L. Sun           juliesun@tier.org.tw

 

Sponsors: Council of Agriculture, Taiwan

 

Type: National foresight exercise
Organizer: Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, Julie C. L. Sun      juliesun@tier.org.tw
Duration: 2008–2011 Budget: 1 Mill USD Time Horizon: 2025 Date of Brief: July 2012  

Download: EFP Brief No. 229_Taiwan Agricultural Technology Foresight 2025.

References

The website of Taiwan Agricultural Technology Foresight 2025, http://agritech-foresight.coa.gov.tw

COA R&D project management system, http://project.coa.gov.tw

EFP Brief No. 221: Priority Setting for Research on Information Society Technologies

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

This follow-up brief recapitulates the foresight exercise of the “Foresight on Information Society Technologies in the European Research Area (FISTERA)” project. Six years after the project was concluded, we look back with the purpose of extracting key lessons learned and ask what the mid-term to long-term implications of this foresight exercise are, in particular how effective the FISTERA project was in feeding the findings derived from the foresight exercise into a process of strategic priority-setting in information society technologies at the European level.

Creating a Common Vision for Our Information Society

The central purpose of the FISTERA project was to contribute to creating a common vision and approach by 2010 for developing an enlarged Europe towards an information society. As a thematic network, FISTERA’s aim was to provide a European platform involving a wide range of national and European policymakers that, through a structured foresight process, could inform the setting of priorities by providing support for targeted R&D funding in specific areas of information society technologies (IST) and thus contributing to future IST policy and research in Europe.

FISTERA was based on a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches. “As part of the bottom-up approach, FISTERA focused on the analytical dimensions, making use of its findings to set functional, S&T and socio-economically driven priorities. The top-down approach concentrated on the normative, process-oriented dimension to identify and prioritise policy options, building on what FISTERA calls the ‘success scenario’ for the European information society.” (Compaño, R. et al., 2006: 7).

The findings of the FISTERA foresight exercise intended to contribute to the evolution of policy thinking regarding the prospects of IST as part of the Lisbon objective. In sum, its overall aim was

(a) to compare the results of national foresight exercises and exchange visions for the future;

(b) to provide a new forum for consensus building on future visions for IST;

(c) to contribute to constructing the European Research Area through benchmarking, community building and providing a dynamic European platform on foresight;

(d) to provide inputs to the ongoing process of identifying key areas for research on which to concentrate public as well as private funding.

 

Delphi Highlighted Education and Learning

The FISTERA foresight process was based on three components: (a) a technology mapping (i.e. a study of the main technological trajectories in IST), (b) a Delphi study and (c) the development of scenarios. Through the implementation of a Delphi study, FISTERA gathered inputs from a wide variety of stakeholders concerning which areas of IST applications they thought most likely to yield benefits in terms of the goals defined by the Lisbon agenda.

The most outstanding result of the Delphi study was the strong focus on one particular application area, namely education and learning. Based on the findings of the Delphi study, FISTERA elaborated multiple scenarios in order to explore the plausibility of a set of diverse futures. For this purpose, various trends and countertrends and the ways they will likely interact in the future were studied. Four scenarios were proposed that brought together the S&T developments and fields of social application as a basis for dissemination activities. FISTERA was based on a ‘success scenario’ approach to examine the policy priorities required to produce the conditions for a desirable future in which the EU’s Lisbon objectives would be met as far as possible. The scenario-building exercise was aimed at providing options for a long-term development of IST for the economy and society.

On the other side, FISTERA tried to match the socio-economic needs with future technological trends and the consequences of potential IST applications. Therefore, a technology mapping was carried out that provided a perspective on the technological trajectories of IST. Due to the systemic nature of information and communication technologies (ICT), however, it was not possible to monitor the whole range of IST trends and provide prospective assumptions concerning the application and use of single technologies in the future. Instead, the focus was placed on clusters of technologies with similar functions while, at the same time, these clusters included competing and complementary technologies. The forward looking assessment of the evolution of these clusters was used to identify ‘technology trajectories’.

Identification of ‘Technology Trajectories’ in IST

The identification of a ‘technology trajectory’ followed a number of steps. First, a trajectory had to be defined. Then, information about individual ICT contributing to this particular technology trajectory needed to be collected, and this information had to be linked to the expected evolution of the trajectories. In a third step, the individual technologies were linked to possible applications and services.

The overall aim of this procedure was to identify particular technologies with the potential to influence the future development path of other technologies. In order to identify emerging patterns of relationships between technologies, a specific algorithm was used that analysed the strength and pattern of the link of a particular technology with other technologies as a function of time. Through this method, FISTERA was able to identify patterns of ‘technology attractors’ as well as trends of ‘technology disruptions’ and relate them to time horizons.

Some of the ‘technology attractors’ identified through this method were the following: (a) Batteries that are expected to have a profound influence on the evolutionary progress in many fields of IST. (b) Progress in bandwidth, understood as the transmission capacity at access level (rather than the network capacity on backbones), which will likely stimulate the advance in both optical, optoelectronics and electronics. (c) The growth of storage that will likely drive the creation and development of completely new industries. (d) Embedded systems that have been identified as the most crucial field for the future evolution of the overall market. (e) Information semantics that will act as an attractor technology with a profound influence on changes in the field of information value since it results from the merging of storage, computation and communication. (f) Developments in radio propagation that are expected to work as another attractor through the stimulation of new businesses and new applications. (g) Micro kernels and ad hoc protocols that are expected to have a stimulating effect on the evolution of communications infrastructures and the creation of new business opportunities at the edge of network structures.

With the help of the ‘technology trajectories’ concept, some of the technologies have been identified as being ‘disruptive’, meaning that their impact would be conducive to profound changes in technological systems as we know them today. The ‘disruptive’ potential of technologies may for example result from (a) the convergence between a number of diverse technological trajectories, (b) the shift from products to services, (c) the disappearance of the personal computer, (d) ubiquitous seamless communication, (e) changing traffic patterns, (f) unlimited bandwidth, (g) disposable products and (h) the shift from content to packaging.

 

FISTERA Inspired National Foresights on IST

By and large, the FISTERA foresight contributed important inputs to the debate about priority-setting in IST research in Europe and thus provided important impulses to the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Three levels of contributions have been identified (Compaño et al., 2005: 38):

(a) FISTERA generated valuable input that helped to identify and make transparent why some fields in IST research are more appropriate as priorities for the European Research Area than others.

(b) FISTERA helped to identify functional requirements that need to be met to translate these priorities into reality in the context of the European Research Area.

(c) FISTERA helped to identify the building blocks for consistent priority-setting. In this sense, the foresight process fulfilled an important function in legitimising public policy intervention in the field of IST research in Europe.

Although FISTERA did not embark on a comprehensive analysis of specific policy interventions to stimulate research in particular priority areas, the identification of promising technological trajectories in the field of IST was an important step towards investigating the future European positioning within these trajectories. FISTERA also prompted complementary action at the level of the member states by giving impulse to several follow-up foresight initiatives at the national level. For example, Austria (Foresight on Information Society in Austria – FISTA), and Hungary (Information Society Technology Perspectives – IT3) used the FISTERA approach to develop national IST foresights. We can therefore conclude that FISTERA not only contributed to establishing foresight for forward looking IST priority-setting at the European level but that it also inspired foresight practitioners at the national level.

However, with regard to the translation of the findings from the FISTERA foresight into priority-setting at the European level, there are also some lessons to be learned that might improve the efficiency of future foresights aimed at inspiring priority-setting processes at different levels.

The Methodological Framework

Regarding the methodological framework of the FISTERA foresight process, the following points were indicated during the follow-up interviews, which were carried out with individuals directly involved in the design and implementation of the FISTERA foresight:

(a) The implementation of the FISTERA foresight process was based on inter-disciplinary teamwork. The sub-optimal integration of the different skills and perspectives towards the broad area of IST was due to a lack of a coherent joint framework able to accommodate these interdisciplinary differences. Future projects should have a stronger focus on embedding inter-disciplinary foresight teams in a more coherent framework for collaboration.

(b) The insufficient integration of the technology-centred and the socio-economically-centred contributions were a methodological weak point of the FISTERA foresight. This might have created a bias towards promoting certain emerging technological paradigms and may have operated at the expense of devoting more attention to certain societal challenges that should not be neglected in priority-setting in practice.

(c) The interviewees indicated that since scenario development was very much on the macro level, priority-setting (in particular with a view to individual technological fields) was very difficult. Therefore, a better linking of the components of the foresight process to each other (in particular the technology mapping and scenario development) might improve future foresight initiatives in this field and help formulate more targeted priorities.

(d) It was further mentioned that the identification of thematic priorities was very difficult to translate into priority-setting in practice because technologies were clustered and no specific areas were focused upon.

Dissemination through Road Shows

The dissemination of the results of the FISTERA project was facilitated through various communication channels. The organisation of national road shows and communication papers contributed greatly to the broad dissemination of the project results to a variety of audiences. Although a book (Compaño et al., 2005) was published, according to a member of the FISTERA consortium, the transfer of the findings to high-level academic audiences remained behind its actual potential.

Reaching the Policy Level

Although FISTERA did not embark on a comprehensive analysis of particular policy interventions to support research in specific areas of priority in the field of IST, the interviews emphasised that the results of the foresight process provided important impulses to sharpen the perception of EU policymakers. According to one interviewee directly involved in FISTERA, an important accomplishment of the foresight was that it opened a debate on ICT in Europe towards a more multidisciplinary view and thus contributed to improving the framework conditions for a European dialogue about the future of ICT and ICT policy formulation (Pascu et al., 2006). Another interviewee who had knowledge of the internal decision-making processes within the EU Directorate General Information Society and Media (DG INFSO) stated that the results of the FISTERA foresight informed several initiatives that figured prominently in the work programme (for example Assisted Ambient Living).

Furthermore, it appears that FISTERA reached the policy level through direct interaction with the European Commission and its core advisory groups in the field of IST. There is no doubt that FISTERA had an impact on institutions that were directly or indirectly involved in European ICT policy formulation (Pascu et al., 2006). According to one interviewee, FISTERA’s impact was tangible on the policy level as reflected in the work of the IST Advisory Group (ISTAG), which is the most influential industry-oriented expert group advising DG INFSO on the IST programme. Furthermore, the same interviewee indicated that all decision-makers on IST issues in Brussels were exposed to the FISTERA results. In some sense, the FISTERA results also “paved the way” for subsequent projects, such as the PREDICT (Prospective Insights on R&D in ICT), which are still running today and provide inputs for policymaking at DG INFSO.

FISTERA results also proved to be relevant to several European think tanks.

However, foresight exercises are most successful whenever decision-makers go beyond the mere role of receivers of end products, such as reports on future scenarios, and become an integral part of the foresight process. In this sense, one interviewee stated that FISTERA failed to develop into an operational network for the interaction among different communities that hold stakes in the formulation of European IST policy development.

Priority Setting for IST Research through Foresight Practice

The FISTERA foresight marked an important milestone in counteracting forward looking perceptions based on technological determinism in the field of IST, which fail to provide an adequate perspective of technological futures. The timing for the establishment of a pan-European platform was favourable as foresight tools for priority-setting are proliferating, although it was stated during the interviews that FISTERA stayed far behind its set goal to establish a pan-European community concerned with IST futures. Nevertheless, FISTERA’s contribution to creating a European vision for IST has been an important first step towards establishing a discussion platform for IST foresight from a European perspective. Nonetheless, continued efforts to communicate the evolving European vision with ongoing priority-setting efforts in IST at the national level will be necessary. In this sense, it remains to be seen how the technology trajectories that have been identified by using the concept of “technology trajectories” will relate to forward-looking priority-setting exercises both at the national and at non-European levels. In light of the ERA’s increasing multilateral cooperation initiatives in particular, European priorities need to be related to the priorities of other regions of the world.

Inspiring Future Directions of Forward Looking Priority-setting

Based on the findings of the FISTERA foresight process, possible priorities for European IST research were identified. Foresight, however, can do no more than inspire the priority-setting process. It can help legitimise policy interventions in emerging fields, but it cannot anticipate concrete technologies that should be the recipients of targeted funding activities, and it should not generate expectations among policymakers that it can do so.

Authors: Dirk Johann                                   dirk.johann.fl@ait.ac.at
Sponsors: European Commission DG Information Society
Type: International foresight activity covering the enlarged European Union, focusing on the thematic area of Information Society Technologies
Organizer: The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS), Telecom Italia Lab, The University of Manchester, The Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS – Research Centre), Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Gopa Cartermill
Geographic coverage: Europe
Duration: 2002 – 2005
Budget: € 1,500,000
Time Horizon: 2020
Date of Brief: June 2012

Download: EFP Brief No. 221_FISTERA_Follow-up

Sources and References

Compaño, R., C. Pascu, M. Weber (eds.) (2005), Challenges and Opportunities for IST Research in Europe, Bucharest: The Publishing House of the Romanian Academy.

Compaño, R., C. Pascu, J. C. Burgelman, M. Rader, R. Saracco, G. Spinelli, B. Dachs, M. Weber, S. Mahroum, R. Popper, L. Green, I. Miles (2006), Foresight on Information Society Technologies in the European Research Area (FISTERA) – Key Findings, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

 

Pascu, C., J. C. Burgelman, L. Nyiri, R. Compaño (2006), Foresight on Information Society Technologies: Lessons Learnt for Policy Intelligence Building in Europe, Second International Seville Seminar on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis: Impact of FTA Approaches on Policy and Decision-Making, Seville, 28-29 September 2006.

Weber, Matthias (2006), “FISTERA – Foresight on Information Society Technologies in the European Research Area 2020”. EFMN Foresight Brief No. 9. Online at http://www.foresight-platform.eu/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/EFMN-Brief-No.-9-FISTERA.pdf.

 

EFP Brief No. 201: Towards Professionalising ‘International S&T Cooperation Foresight’: Epistemological and Methodological Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The purpose of the SEA-EU-NET foresight process is to open up and structure the discussion on the potential future cooperation(s) between the EU and Southeast Asia in the field of S&T. We assess potential “futures” of organising S&T relations between the EU and Southeast Asia in 2020 and discuss their current implications and geopolitical consequences.

Combining Asian and European Research Dialogues

The SEA-EU-NET project started in 2008 with the mandate to facilitate the bi-regional EU-ASEAN science and technology dialogue and to expand scientific collaboration between Europe and Southeast Asia in a more strategic and coherent way. Among many other things, SEA-EU-NET participated in the official EC-ASEAN COST (Committee on Science and Technology) meetings in Manila and Bali and presented project outcomes and recommendations. Complementary to the official EC-ASEAN dialogue, the SEA-EU-NET project organised stakeholder conferences in 2008 in Paris/France, 2009 in Bogor/Indonesia and 2010 in Budapest/Hungary, which served as platforms to discuss opportunities and pitfalls for stronger S&T collaboration between the two regions. The next stakeholder conference is scheduled to take place in Hanoi/Vietnam in November 2011.

These meetings involved a large group of policy makers, scientists and science administrators. The close links between the official EC-ASEAN dialogue and the SEA-EU-NET project stakeholder dialogue has led to an enhanced level of S&T cooperation between the two regions.

The SEA-EU-NET S&T International Cooperation Foresight

The SEA-EU-NET foresight exercise was launched during the Bogor/Indonesia 2nd SEA-EU-NET Stakeholder Conference in 2009 and has been designed to fit into and support these interlinked policy dialogues aimed at further increasing S&T cooperation levels. With this foresight exercise, the project aims at supporting the building of and commitment to shared visions of the future of S&T cooperation.

Given the current stage of science and technology cooperation between ASEAN and EU, the process was mostly expert-driven. Regarding a specific and very central stakeholder group, however, it was participatory: All scientists with recent cooperation experience (ASEAN-EU co-publications since 2005 have been used as a proxy for cooperation) have been invited to participate.

The format of “International Cooperation Foresight” (ICF) should be discussed separately from national technology foresight activities. Theoretical and methodological backgrounds have been provided by the work of the members of the former Policy Research in Engineering, Science and Technology Institute (PREST) and current Manchester Institute of Innovation Research as well as by the UNIDO Foresight Manual.

Our experience with the exercise has shown that ICF needs to take into account a large number of “soft” drivers of future scenarios and related forecasts, basically all of which can be influenced to some extent by one of the two major stakeholder groups (S&T and other policy makers; scientists). For instance, ICF needs to take into consideration the financial resources available for cooperation (a driver directly influenced by S&T policy making) and trust among the research communities of the cooperating countries/regions (a driver reflecting the scientists’ attitudes).

Thus, for international S&T cooperation foresight involving high-level policy making and research communities, most parts of the external context are in fact contingent variables internal to the process. Parts of what might be external variables in a technology foresight for an enterprise (e.g., the existence of certain policies or regulatory obstacles or the availability of natural resources) are internal variables for the ICF process (policies and regulations can be shaped by the policy-making stakeholders; decisions can be made to protect natural resources or make them available; etc.). This fact has to be taken into account when designing the foresight methodology.

These considerations also partly motivated our decision to look at a ten year perspective, i.e. the 2020 future of S&T Cooperation between ASEAN and the EU. While the horizon of the Europe 2020 strategy also played a role, we have looked for a time horizon that can be considered without having to take into account possible major system changes, which would again add complexity.

Scenario Building, Delphi Surveys and Backcasting

This foresight exercise applied a combination of (singular success) scenario building, Delphi surveys and backcasting. Concretely, the stakeholder discussions regarding the 2020 future S&T cooperation were kicked off in a success scenario oriented driver identification workshop. High-level policy makers from Southeast Asia and Europe were asked to identify ‘drivers’ and ‘shapers’ of a future basic success scenario of bi-regional S&T cooperation based on drivers presented in the literature and to comment on and rate the relevance of the various drivers identified. We discriminated the regional focus of the answers: participants could rate the perceived relevance for either Southeast Asia or Europe. Given the interactive atmosphere in the workshop, this combining of scenario building with backcasting elements proved to be a successful strategy.

We continued the driver identification with the second major stakeholder group, namely the scientists, selecting those who had recent ASEAN-EU co-publication experience. With the help of an open e-mail consultation asking respondents for the factors that they believe might influence what future S&T cooperation between the two regions might look like, the individual responses of about 1,200 scientists were collected, analysed and synthesised into a set of around 40 drivers. The drivers then were validated in a two-stage Delphi survey, presented as directional variables (pointing towards increasing cooperation)and formulated as concrete recommendations in the original wording of the scientists (which we correctly believed would make it easier for their peers to follow their reasoning). We distinguished between answers given from a Southeast Asian perspective and a European perspective (irrespective of the current region of residence).

In the second Delphi round, approximately 560 scientists checked the average relevance ratings given in the first round, further commented on them and partially corrected their previous answers. This led to a series of concrete recommendations for instruments to enhance S&T cooperation and was followed by thorough desk research to identify interdependencies among the most relevant drivers.

The results up to this point have been published and made available to the European Commission, the policy and scientific community as well as the wider public as a SEA-EU-NET report (www.sea-eu.net/object/doc­ument/2469.html.

The next step was to feed the results back to the target groups, especially the policy makers in both regions. While there were no project resources for an additional workshop with European policy makers, we were able to arrange a half-day session during a major SEA-EU-NET event in Chiang Mai/Thailand in May 2011 that attracted around 20 policy makers from 8 of the 10 ASEAN member countries, which we consider a big success.

Rather than generating additional output, the goal of the workshop was to feed back the evidence produced by the SEA-EU-NET foresight and to further inspire a joint process of creating common visions of the future.

Two relevant preparatory steps realised by the foresight team were (1) a more refined 2020 success scenario of ASEAN-EU S&T cooperation that presented a desirable future in the form of a newspaper article narrative (looking back from 2020 towards 2011 outlining what has gone well in this decade) and (2) linking the SEA-EU-NET cooperation foresight with relevant regional foresight processes, namely the future ‘paradigm shifts’ identified in the ‘Krabi Initiative’ on the future of science and technology in ASEAN.

The link between both foresight processes was achieved by proposing the following two questions to the participants: How can future ASEAN-EU S&T cooperation support the Krabi Initiative paradigm shifts, and what would succession of S&T cooperation mean in this context? These overriding questions were discussed in five knowledge café panels (one for each of the five paradigm shifts in the Krabi initiative). The outcome of the discussions is currently being used by the SEA-EU-NET foresight team to refine the draft success scenario.

In a final step, the foresight report mentioned above will be amended and will form a central chapter in an upcoming SEA-EU-NET book publication to be presented to the S&T cooperation policy making and scientific community, inter alia at the next SEA-EU-NET Stakeholder Conference in November 2011 in Hanoi/Vietnam.

Successful Pilot Community Building and Open Dialogue among Stakeholders

One indicator to assess the success of the exercise is the number of stakeholder participants in the process. In terms of the members of the scientific community who we were able to engage in the process, it clearly was a success: 280 qualitative answers were collected during the open e-mail consultation. Around 1,200 scientists participated in the first Delphi survey round. This corresponds to approximately 12-14% of the invitees. About 560 scientists participated throughout the whole process and also finished the second Delphi survey round.

Regarding the participation of policy makers, we faced two limitations: our resources for conducting a face-to-face drivers workshop but also the limited pool of policy makers knowledgeable in EU-SEA S&T relations. We consider it a success that 16 participants (7 Southeast Asian and 9 European) policy and programme makers actively participated in the first driver assessment scenario workshop in November 2009 and around 20 Southeast Asian policy makers in the second success scenario workshop in May 2011.

Regarding the impact on the policy of the European Commission, as the client of the exercise, it is too early for a final assessment. We have submitted the foresight report to our project officer in February 2011. Apart from the internal discussions that might be triggered by the report (but are not visible to us), we will look for open dialogue with the EC, for instance during the upcoming SEA-EU-NET events, the most prominent one being the next SEA-EU-NET Stakeholder Conference in Hanoi/Vietnam in November 2011 where EC representatives will also participate. The impact on policy cannot be evaluated yet.

First results of the foresight exercise, most notably the results of the scientist consultations, have been presented to a wide audience of policy and programme makers and researchers during the SEA-EU-NET stakeholder conference in Budapest/Hungary in November 2010. The foresight report has been shared with the around 1,200 participants from science in the process.

Methodological reflections based on this exercise have been published in the Russian Journal “Foresight” of the Moscow Higher School of Economics. Depending on future project resources, the process can be continued in the future. Recommendations coming out of this international S&T cooperation foresight study can be found below. The recommendations have been formulated very recently. It is too early to discuss possible realisations of the recommendations.

Dialogue between Policy Makers and Scientists

This foresight exercise has the mandate and has been designed accordingly to produce policy recommendations. They can be found in an abbreviated form below.

As this foresight exercise aimed at structuring and stimulating policy dialogue on future S&T cooperation between Southeast Asia and Europe, the recommendations feed into this dialogue. While it is too early to evaluate the outcome of the exercise, it will hardly be feasible to link the possible implementation in the future of measures growing out of these recommendations to the influence of the foresight process, even more so as the recommendations emanate (bottom-up) from the stakeholder communities engaged in the policy dialogue or the related scientific practice.

Another outcome might be a closer consultation practice between bi-regional S&T policy making and the scientists actually engaged in cooperation. Among possible, unintended results might be a situation where S&T policy makers recognise, in the follow-up of these discussions, that the future of S&T collaboration lies in a bilateral rather than a bi-regional setting.

We believe that the foresight exercise has benefited the participants in that it has helped them in structuring their own and their peers’ thinking about the future of S&T cooperation between Europe and Southeast Asia. This can prove relevant to policy makers when they design future policies and to scientists when they think about engaging in international cooperation. We will collect feedback on the exercise among the two major stakeholder groups, i.e. the policy makers and the scientists. With regard to the scientists, we have shared the foresight report with them recently (April 2011) and informed them about our steps for disseminating the results.

Recommendations: Enhancing Shared Responsibilities

The key recommendations for policy makers coming out of SEA-EU-NET’s international S&T cooperation foresight study can be summarized as follows:

  • Further discuss the report among the stakeholders involved in the process of policy development.
  • Keep scientists engaged in the dialogue on and planning of S&T cooperation.
  • Foster coherence between STI policy and other policy areas.
  • Consider internal diversity of both regions and their needs.

The following list gives a brief overview of the recommendations formulated by the consulted stakeholder communities:

  • The most important motivations for scientists to cooperate are a) the goal of applying state-of-the-art science to a topic of mutual interest and relevance, b) the feeling of contributing to the development of a country and c) to solving global challenges, d) gaining access to a field, expertise and equipment, and finally, e) friendship and f) reputation.
  • S&T cooperation should be sustained on a long-term basis.
  • Find a balance between a) flexibly defined bottom-up approaches and the dedicated funding of S&T cooperation with a thematic focus and b) supporting cooperation in basic and applied research.
  • Personal contacts are more relevant than institutional agreements. Therefore, supporting mobility and networking is crucial.
  • Enhance equilibrated mobility in both directions, from Europe to Southeast Asia and vice versa.
  • Existing human and network resources should be harnessed creatively. Established scientific conferences could convene in Southeast Asia; retired scientists could be offered part-time positions; senior scientists could engage in cooperation and exchange within sabbatical schemes.
  • PhD student exchange should be supported to a higher degree.
  • Southeast Asian diaspora academics in Europe as possible facilitators of S&T cooperation.
  • Return and reintegration support schemes.
  • Reward schemes for successful cooperation.
  • Quality metrics for assessing the success of international S&T cooperation projects.
  • Regional training networks, joint research centres and other joint research infrastructure.
  • Bridging institutions offering administrative, research management and partnering support.
  • Simplification of administrative burdens like visa issues, material exchange and field access clearance procedures.
  • Open access to literature and sample databases.
  • Regional availability of joint research results.
Authors: Alexander Degelsegger                  degelsegger@zsi.at

Florian Gruber                                gruber@zsi.at

Isabella Wagner                              wagner@zsi.at

Sponsors: SEA-EU-NET, co-financed by the European Commission (FP7; grant agreement number 212334)
Type: International (S&T) Cooperation Foresight
Organizer: Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Alexander Degelsegger, degelsegger@zsi.at
Duration: Nov09 – Feb11 Budget: ~ 50,000 € Time Horizon: 2020 Date of Brief: July 2011  

 

Download EFP Brief No. 201_SEA-EU-Net Foresight

Sources and References

SEA-EU-NET Project website: www.sea-eu.net

Degelsegger, Alexander & Gruber, Florian (2011): Scientific cooperation between Southeast Asia and Europe in 2020. Driving factors as assessed by scientists and policy-makers, SEA-EU-NET Deliverable 4.2 to the European Commission, online at http://www.sea-eu.net/object/document/2469.html, last accessed: 24 July 2011.

Gruber, Florian & Degelsegger, Alexander (2010): S&T Cooperation Foresight Europe – Southeast Asia, in: Форсайт (Foresight), 4(3), 56-68.

ipts/Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (2007): Online Foresight Guide. Scenario Building, online at: http://forlearn.jrc.ec.europa.eu/guide/3_scoping/meth_scenario.htm; last accessed: 24 July 2011.

Miles, Ian (2005): Scenario Planning, in: UNIDO Technology Foresight Manual. Volume 1 – Organization and Methods, 168-193.

Popper, Rafael (2008): Foresight Methodology, in: Georghiou et al. (eds.): The Handbook of Technology Foresight. Concepts and Practice, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Schoemaker, Paul J.H. (1995): Scenario Planning: A Tool for Strategic Thinking, in: Sloan Management Review, 36(2).

Slocum, Nikki (2003): Participatory Methods Toolkit. A Practitioner’s Manual, Brussels: viWTA/UNU-CRIS/King Baudouin Foundation, p. 75.

Technopolis Group et al. (2008): Drivers of International Collaboration in Research. Background Report 4, online at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/drivers_sti_annex_4.pdf, last access: 24 July 2011.

UNIDO (2005): Technology Foresight Manual. Volume 1 – Organization and Methods, Vienna: UNIDO.

Vincent-Lancrin, Stéphan (2009): What is Changing in Academic Research? Trends and Prospects, in: OECD (ed.): Higher Education to 2030. Volume 2. Globalisation, OECD: Paris, p. 173