Posts Tagged ‘social trends’

EFP Brief No. 238: Research Agenda Dutch Mobility System, Energy System and Built Environment 2040

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Scenario forecasts for the Dutch mobility system, energy system and built environment in 2040 were performed to investigate which knowledge TNO should develop to support and stimulate future innovation in these fields. Three scenario studies were conducted to investigate the Dutch built environment, the Dutch energy system and the Dutch mobility system. The results serve to strengthen the TNO strategy statement.

Identifying Dutch Research Priorities for Future Mobility, Energy and Built Environment

Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. It’s activities are split into seven thematic domains; healthy living, industrial innovation, defence, safety and security, energy, transport and mobility, built environment and information society.

 TNO needs to update it’s strategy every four years to announce which societal issues it will address in their next strategy period and how it will apply the funds which are administered by the Dutch government. In order to formulate a strategy that is robust for future developments TNO used scenario planning in order to test its strategy against multiple possible future

Creating a Shared Vision

The objective of the scenario study is threefold:

1) to find what knowledge should be developed to deal with future challenges,

2) to test the TNO strategy against future scenario’s

3) to find the most important factors influencing the development of technologies in mobility, energy and the built environment and

4) to create a shared vision on future development amongst the participants.

Scenario Method

For the future forecast TNO applied a scenario method which is based on the original work of Kees van der Heijden for Shell (Heijden, 1996). For each of the three subjects a separate study was performed, consisting of a series of three workshops. Within these workshops the participants identified the main uncertainties in the future developments in the respective fields. Subsequently, these fields were clustered and scored for importance and level of uncertainty. Based on the two most important/uncertain uncertainties the participants developed four scenarios to describe the possible future outcomes.

In the scenario process an average of 25 TNO specialists per subject participated in the scenario development process. Selection of participants was based on coverage of all relevant expertise within the subject, furthermore participants were selected for their ability to overview developments in the entire field. Specialist were available on: key (emergent) technologies, finance, economy, policy, rules and regulations and international relations.

 

Clusters of Uncertainties

In the first workshop the participants were asked to name the most uncertain factors which would determine the future developments in energy, mobility and the built environment. The results were clustered into 6-15 clusters of uncertainties. Which clusters of uncertainties were most influential and uncertain was determined by popular vote and discussion.

For each subject the project the following major uncertainties were identified:

Mobility

Strong governmental control vs. market driven and an individual society vs. a collective society.

Energy

Governmental control vs. market driven and lack of international cooperation vs. strong international cooperation.

Built environment

An individual risk prone society vs. a collective risk averse society and spread low economic growth vs. concentrated high economic growth.

Within the projects the experts developed two or four scenarios in group discussions. These scenarios are based on the two uncertainties that are considered most uncertain/influential for the subject. In the following sections the results of the scenario studies for the three subjects will be discussed separately. First the scenarios are described, then aspects which are relevant for all different scenarios or vary between scenarios are discussed and finally a draft technological research agenda is compiled.

Mobility: Four Scenarios Discussing the Shades of Governmental Control and Societal Involvement

Scenario I: Driven by individualism, the government limits is effort to a small number of activities that protect the rights of its citizens. The government facilitates market activities by providing a stable environment for economic growth. The scenario shows high economic competition, with a European home-market.

Scenario II: The government is strict, yet righteous. The government uses her influence through laws and setting norms and standards that are based on firm societal support. – after all, these are made in the public interest. Laws and regulations are firmly maintained.

Scenario III: The government has a minor role, market forces are trusted upon to ensure innovation. This way people can vote with their wallets.

Scenario IV: The influence of the government on societal issues is limited. Society is too complex and interests too divers to find a common ground for governmental action. Collective values are shared by joining communities that share our values and warrant your interest.

 

Mobility in the Context of the Four Scenarios

The developments in the mobility system are very uncertain. All scenarios are equally conceivable. Therefore, a strategy should be developed that is able to cope with different future developments.

Future developments in transport are highly dependent on the available infrastructure, vehicle- and fuel developments and the effect transport has on the environment and society.

All scenarios point to mobility that is concentrated on roads. Congestion will be a lasting problem. External effects are tackled with technological solutions.

Biofuels, hydrogen and electricity will play a more important role in mobility.

 

Scenario Specific Findings

  • In some scenarios a European network of high-speed rail connections is developed.
  • Solutions to congestion are scenario specific: optimisation of infrastructure usage, transport services or smart logistics.
  • Also solution to externalities are scenario specific, ranging from efficient driving mechanisms to capture of pollutants.
  • Transport- and travel volume are scenario dependent and depend on price. This price may increase, because of internalisation of external cost and high fuel prices, or drop because of more fuel efficient techniques.
  • The degree to which biofuels, hydrogen and electricity will play a more important role in mobility is dependent on the role of the government.

For TNO’S future Technological Research Agenda these findings imply that further knowledge is needed about:

  • Energy efficient vehicles;
  • Alternative driving mechanisms;
  • ITS systems for:
    • Managing mobility issues
    • Managing traffic
      • Communication between vehicles for increased safety and traffic flow enhancement;
    • Impact assessment of infrastructure;
    • Robust infrastructure;
    • Reliability of infrastructure;

Energy: Two Scenarios Discussing the Shades of Governmental Control and International Cooperation

Scenario I: Countries form a collective to face the global challenges, such as climate change. The national government firmly takes the initiative for bringing (sustainable) change.

Scenario II: : International governments and organizations are suspicious of each other. Countries compete for available energy sources. The national government is reactive and aimed at facilitating change processes initiated by industries and NGO’s.

Energy in the Context of the Two Scenarios

The entire built environment will be transformed to become energy neutral. More energy production will take place locally with solar (pv and warmth), Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) and geothermic energy.

Fossil fuels will remain an important source of energy. Whereas, biofuels and hydrogen will only play a small role in the Dutch energy system.

Scenario specific findings

  • The degree to which societal costs are included in the price for fossil fuels is largely dependent on the degree of governmental control.
  • The choice for climate change mitigation or adaptation is largely dependent on the degree of governmental control and international cooperation.
  • The degree to which local energy systems are developed collectively or independently is largely dependent on the degree of governmental control.
  • The emergence of a international smart grid and large scale energy storage capacity is largely dependent on the degree of international cooperation.
  • The large scale deployment of carbon capture and storage is largely dependent on the degree of international cooperation.
  • The substitution of oil by coal of gas is largely dependent on the degree of governmental control

Accordingly, in the energy sector, TNO will need knowledge to boost their Technological Research Agenda. Knowledge is needed about:

  • ways to include new technology in existing products;
  • insulation;
  • separate transport systems for inside and outside cities;
  • preparing the electricity network for larger fluctuations in supply and demand;
  • large scale storage of electricity and warmth;
  • small scale storage of electricity and warmth;
  • how to deal with the interaction between local networks, national networks and international networks of electricity, gas, warmth and CO2;
  • implementation of renewable energy systems;
  • mass-production of renewable energy systems.

Built environment: Four Scenarios Discussing the Shades of Collectiveness and Economic Prosperity

Scenario I: It is a self-service economy. Small government has prevailed. The economy is in a recession, especially in cities, resulting in more regional economic activity.

Scenario II: People strive for individual gain, and are willing to take risks. The Netherlands is a flourishing and innovative country. The economic growth is concentrated around the Randstad and a limited number of other cities.

Scenario III: People are more dependent on each other because of the fragile economic situation.

Scenario IV: Economic prosperity leads to collective appreciation of wellbeing.

Built Environment in the Context of the Four Scenarios

End consumers will get more influence in the building process. Buildings will have to become more adaptable during the different phases of life and individual needs. Elderly people will become a more important target group.

Scenario specific findings

Dense urban environments and intensive land use are themes which are important in the two scenarios with a concentration of economic activity in the Randstad area. In order to tackle the aspects identified in the scenarios, TNO will need knowledge with regard to the Technological Research Agenda on:

  • ways to increase flexibility in the use of buildings;
  • conceptual building methods;
  • re-use of building materials;
  • social-, construction-, traffic- and fire safety;
  • ways to become climate proof;
  • closure of material cycles (urban mining);
  • virtual building;
  • technologies for local energy generation and storage;
  • the effects of climate change;
  • intensive land use.

TNO Strategy Update Every Four Years

In order to formulate a strategy that is robust for future developments TNO used scenario planning in order to test its strategy against multiple possible future. TNO needs to update it’s strategy every four years to announce which societal issues it will address in their next strategy period and how it will apply the funds which are administered by the Dutch government.

 

Authors: Dr. J. van der Vlies      jaap.vandervlies@tno.nl

Drs. G.G.C. Mulder      guus.mulder@tno.nl

Sponsors: Dr. H.M.E. Miedema
Type: National foresight exercise, single issue
Organizer: Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO
Duration: Feb-Sept 2009 Budget: 35 kEuro Time Horizon: 2040 Date of Brief: March 2011  

 

Download EFP Brief No. 238_Dutch Research Agenda.

Sources and References

Heijden (1996), Scenarios – The art of strategic conversation, second edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2005, West Sussex.

EFP Brief No. 168: Forward-looking Activities in Support of ERA Vision 2020

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

As a part of the Ljubljana Process of governance of ERA, which was launched by the EU Commission and Council in May 2008, a common 2020 vision for the European Research Area was adopted on 2 December 2008. This vision stipulates that: “[…] by 2020, all actors should fully benefit from the free circulation of researchers, knowledge and technology.”1 Forward looking activities are indis-pensable for promoting the policy process of the ERA vision 2020 in order to speak with one voice, to jointly promote consistency between their R&D cooperation activities, and to develop joint initiatives that give Europe leadership in addressing global challenges and reaching sustainable development goals.

ERA Vision 2020

The 2020 Vision for the European Research Area (ERA) was developed in partnership by all member states and the European Commission and in consultation with associated countries. When adopting the 2020 Vision, the Council of the European Union invited member states and the European Commission to communicate it widely to stakeholders and society at large and to quickly focus policies and actions to make it a reality.

1               European Research Area Vision 2020 – http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/2020_era_vision_en.html

2 http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/2020_era_vision_en.htm

By 2020, all players are supposed to fully benefit from the Fifth Freedom3 across the ERA, which refers to the free circulation of researchers, knowledge and technology. The ERA is intended to provide attractive conditions and effective and efficient governance for carrying out research and investing in R&D intensive sectors in Europe. It seeks to create significant added value by fostering scientific competition throughout Europe whilst ensuring the appropriate level of cooperation and coordination. It is envisaged to be responsive to the needs and ambitions of citizens and to effectively contribute to the sustainable development and competitiveness of Europe.

3 The Fifth Freedom is derived from European Union law where the Four Freedoms is a common term for a set of treaty provisions, secondary legislation and court decisions, protecting the ability of goods, capital, services, people and labour to move freely within the internal market of the European Union. More precisely, they are the free movement of goods, the free movement of capital, the free movement of services and the free movement of persons.

The ERA Vision 2020 is predicated on the insight that good European governance must be based upon strategic forward thinking. This involves defining major societal challenges, underpinning the selection of themes in joint programming and helping to prioritise and focus research, thus laying the groundwork for future-oriented strategic thinking. The ex-ante analysis of societal trends in the world and the European Union on the basis of scenarios and identifying potential breakthroughs (“wild cards”) are all elements that allow decision-makers to highlight their choices under a new perspective.

Forward-looking Activities to Promote ERA

The European Commission, following up on its commitment to help member states better coordinate their research efforts, organised a conference session on forward-looking activities in October 2009 that underpinned the ERA vision 2020.4

Experts, representatives of the public sector and directors of DG Research attempted to identify the needs in this field. The participants discussed how a continuous process of forward-looking and horizon scanning activities for ERA could be organised in the future, how to ensure that this approach would lead to a better support and further integration of national research policies in ERA, and what could be the drivers to determine potential “grand challenges” and joint programming priorities.

Three-dimensional Strategy

During the session, Anneli Pauili, the deputy Director-General of DG Research, reflected on the main principle guiding forward-looking activities promoted by the EC, which is to combine three dimensions in these activities: ensuring that the abundance of information provided by experts is taken into consideration, involvement of stakeholders (researchers, companies, NGOs and public organisations), and involvement of relevant politicians to increase the likelihood of results being considered in policy-making.

Added Value through Joint Programming

At European level, there exist various networks, tools and systems to follow up on forward-looking activities. Consensus is growing that European research policy needs to be based on more systematic, continuous, forward-looking and pan-European activities. It is particularly important that member states and associated countries combine their research efforts through “joint programming”, which must not be content with simply finding the lowest common denominator but should rather strive to merge different perspectives and multiple visions of the future. Here is the clear link with the Lund declaration5 that stipulates, “The identification of major challenges must involve the relevant stakeholders, including European institutions, business, public sector, NGOs and the scientific community, and foresee the interaction with international partners.”6

4              http://ec.europa.eu/research/conferences/2009/era2009 /programme/programme_22-10_en.htm

5 The Lund Declaration (SE), adopted on 9 July 2009 at the “New Worlds – New Solutions” conference, stipulates that the EU must identify the major challenges for which public and private research need to develop sustainable solutions.

Forward-looking Activities Support Innovation Policies

In recent years, forward-looking activities have been used intensively to support impact assessment for climate action policies, and there have been unprecedented levels of employing such activities in day-to-day policy-making in many countries and in the EC. Within research and innovation policies, forward-looking activities have a corrective role (addressing deficiencies and systemic failures and policy lock-ins), a disruptive role (encouraging an emphasis on crisis or breakthrough events that can completely change the current status quo), a creative role (stimulating the conditions whereby new networks and structures can evolve and grow) and a more embedded role as an instrument of articulating, structuring and delivering research and innovation policy.

6 Interview with Anneli Pauili, the deputy Director-General of DG Research, Special Issue – Research EU – November 2009, http://ec.europa.eu/research/research-eu/era/article_era40_en.html

Barriers to Networking

The major barriers to networking in the related fields and thus to the integration of national approaches of forward-looking activities are the uncertainty surrounding sufficient funding, the unnecessary rivalry among modelling teams for access to funds and the frequent lack of sufficient size, variety and multi-disciplinarity of modelling teams.

New Wave of Interest in Foresight

The context of crisis and challenges has led to a new wave of interest in foresight, as alternative solutions and promising ways of moving forward are sought. Foresight has now become a pervasive activity at the institutional level to inform programme planning and to support structural change. Its role in EU Framework Programmes (FP) and ERA needs to be grounded in a greater involvement of stakeholders and users to encourage them to take ownership of the exercises. On the supply side, there is a need to maintain and extend the foresight community through support for research and community building activities and to help carry the results beyond their initial audience.

Common Understanding of the Potential of Forward-looking Activities

The ERA Conference 2009 resulted in a common understanding that forward-looking activities can be used in defining the future research activities, the annual work programmes, joint programming and international cooperation. In order to further shape the ERA vision 2020, forward-looking activities will have to

  • help reinforce the governance culture by integrating the long-term perspective and giving more space to cross-cutting issues,
  • help improve the quality and impact of European, national and regional research policies by comparing findings and methods and, consequently, by contributing to improved policy design and implementation at the European, national and regional level,
  • support model development, human capital of modellers and long-lasting capacity and network of models, modellers and databases on a transnational basis.

To be successful, forward-looking activities need the commitment and involvement of the initiator.

Improving Foresight in Research and Policy

Better Networking and Sharing of Resources

For the future of the European Research Area (institutional, organisational, methodological, etc.), networking and sharing of resources (data, mathematical methods, policy advice experience and skills) are very important, provided that the network has some degree of variety and stability over time.

Better coherence – which does not mean harmonisation or standardisation – among forward-looking exercises at various levels, better access to each other’s knowledge, sharing and networking would support future decision-making. European forward-looking activities should not be limited to the aggregation of national forward-looking activities but should be set up as a truly European project, preferably putting together interoperable visions that can be exploited by decision-makers.

Interoperable Visions: European Technology Platforms

The forward looking approaches of some European Technology Platforms are good examples for such interoperable visions. The European Technology Platforms provide a framework for stakeholders, led by industry, to define research and development priorities, timeframes and action plans on a number of strategically important issues where achieving Europe’s future growth, competitiveness and sustainability objectives is dependent upon major research and technological advances in the medium to long-term. They play a key role in ensuring an adequate focus of research funding on areas with a high degree of industrial relevance, by covering the whole economic value chain and by mobilising public authorities at national and regional levels. As such, they are proving to be powerful actors in the development of European research policy, in particular in orienting the FP7 programs (including the “Cooperation Programme”) to better meet the needs of industry.

The following are some examples of technology platforms with a forward-looking approach for 2030 and beyond:

  • European Biofuels TP (EBTP)
  • European Construction TP (ECTP),
  • European Steel TP (ESTEP)
  • Forest-based sector TP (FTP)
  • European Photovoltaic TP
  • European TP on Sustainable Mineral Resources (ETP SMR)
  • Sustainable Nuclear Energy TP (SNE-TP)
  • European Wind Energy TP (TPWind)
  • Water Supply and Sanitation European TP (WSSTP)

Maintain Continuous Process

A continuous process of integrated forward-looking activities should be organized (joint programming), comprising cooperation between policy-making EU Directorate-Generals and ERA in order to make sure that forward-looking analytical capacity is established, well networked and disposes funding to ensure high quality and state-of-the-art methods. It is important thereby to ensure continuity and stability to modelling teams.

Optimise Integration of Foresight
in Governance Processes

A lot of work has been done at the European level in the “research” component of forward-looking activities but a lot has still to be done in the “policy” component of those activities; that is, “foresight” done by researchers and experts should be better integrated into the policy-oriented foresight process where policy-makers and stakeholders (including citizens) should participate.

Forward-looking methods have to be combined and integrated as much as possible in the “policy cycle”, taking stock of appropriate structures for defining research agendas, such as the European Technology Platforms and Social Platforms. Policy-makers, stakeholders (ministries, universities, industries, research centres and civil society organizations) should participate and work together. Both bottom-up (researchers, experts) and top-down (policy-makers) involvements are needed. Endogenous technology dynamics including their complex interactions with society, economy and energy have to be applied.

Authors: Anette Braun                 braun_a@vdi.de

Axel Zweck                               zweck@vdi.de

  Sponsors: Pierre Valette, European Commission – DG Research – Directorate L – Science, Economy and Society Unit L2 – Research in the Economic, Social Sciences and Humanities – Prospective
Type: European/international
Organizer: European Commission – DG Research – European Research Area
Duration: 2008 Budget: N/A Time Horizon: 2020 Date of Brief: Dec. 2009

 

Download EFP Brief No. 168_ERA Vision 2020

Sources and References

European Research Area Vision 2020:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/2020_era_vision_en.html, http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/pdf/2020-vision-for-era_en.pdf

ERA 2009 Conference:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/conferences/2009/era2009/programme/programme_22-10_en.htm

Interview with Anneli Pauili, the deputy Director-General of DG Research, Special Issue – Research EU – 11/ 2009, http://ec.europa.eu/research/research-eu/era/article_era40_en.html

Tiit Jurimae, The experience of European Technology Platforms (ETPs) as a vision-building process, 2009, http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/pdf/event01/ev01-17-tiit-jurimae_en.pdf