Posts Tagged ‘youth’

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. 154: Looking Forward in the ICT and Media Industry – Technological and Market Developments

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

The project was an activity within the framework contract between the European Parliament and ETAG, the European Technology Assessment Group, to carry out TA studies on behalf of the Parliament’s STOA Panel in view of the growing importance of a European science and technology policy. The purpose of this particular project was to identify current and expected technological and market developments in the field of ICT with an impact on the media industry and to indicate regulatory challenges and requirements stemming from the anticipated changes. The main target group are the Members of the European Parliament; the wider addressee is the interested public.

EFMN Brief No. 154_ICT and Media Industry

EFP Brief No. 129: Rural Areas: One of the Most Important Challenges for Europe

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

This brief presents an overview of major trends and policy options for rural areas. A number of social, technological, economic, environmental and political trends as well as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will be highlighted, followed by ten major policy options in view of two traditional and conflicting objectives: rural socio-economic development and countryside protection.

EFMN Brief No. 129_Rural_Areas

EFP Brief No. 81: Aufbruch Musik – German Music 2020

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The music sector in Germany is going through major changes. Global technological and societal trends combined with major cuts in public spending for the cultural sector need to be faced. Right now these upcoming changes seem to be met by agitated melancholia instead of orchestrating these changes to a desired state of the future where music is established as an energy source for societal and personal development. The time to refer to the glorious German music transition rectifying public spending for ‘high quality’ music seems to be coming to an end. The border between different music lines has become more and more blurred.

EFMN Brief No. 81 – Aufbruch Musik – German Music 2020

EFP Brief No. 63: South African Benchmark 2020

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The overall goal of this foresight study is the identification of global technological trends, which will influence the competitiveness and future development of South African industries over the next 15 years. The study specifically focuses on innovation areas that hold the potential to reduce industrial dependency on foreign technology. Broad-based recommendations are formulated, intending to support the formulation of policies, strategies and programmes aimed at growing South Africa’s technology and innovation base.

EFMN Brief No. 63 – South African Benchmark 2020

EFP Brief No. 62: Technology and Innovation in Romania 2015

Friday, May 20th, 2011

In Romania, the variety of actors involved in foresight activities has determined a mixture of objectives and rationales. The implementation of a foresight pilot exercise in Romania was itself an objective in order to have ‘process’ benefits such as building foresight capacities, networking, developing a culture of democratic, social dialogue, etc. In addition, although substantiating better RTDI policies in order to increase economic competitiveness in the light of the Lisbon objective is a primary concern, the foresight pilot exercise in Romania was designed for identifying and addressing weaknesses regarding the communication between the relevant stakeholders.

EFMN Brief No. 62 – Technology and Innovation in Romania 2015

EFP Brief No. 52: Austrian Tourism 2015

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

In 2004 tourism in Austria contributed 6.4 % of the nations GDP equivalent to €15.26B. This number however fails to capture the complexity of this economic sector. Just as for any sector a strategic plan is needed to focus efforts on the needs, risks and opportunities for the future. For these reasons the Austrian Tourist Agency initiated a series of scenario workshops and processes to explore plausible future developments.

EFMN Brief No. 52 – Austrian Tourism 2015

EFP Brief No. 51: The Millennium Project 2050

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

The Millennium Project organizes futures research to improve thinking about the future and make that thinking available through a variety of media for consideration by policy-makers and for use in advanced training and public education. The goal is to accumulate wisdom about possible futures. High profile results of the project include the elaboration of Millennium Development Goals.

EFMN Brief No. 51 – The Millennium Project 2050

EFP Brief No. 43: Youth Foresight Germany 2020

Friday, May 6th, 2011

‘Jugend denkt Zukunft’ was setup to make this vision come true and translated directly into English it means ‘young people are thinking about their future’. This single issue foresight exercise is designed to involve young adults in the process of economic development. Together with companies, students between the age of 15 and 18 develop new products and services for the world of tomorrow. The main pillar of this program is the nature of co-operation between companies and schools. Further support comes from politics and science. Together they are strong partners for re-creating a culture of innovation.

EFMN Brief No. 43 – Youth Foresight Germany 2020

EFP Brief No. 41: Imagineering Ireland: Future Scenarios for 2030

Friday, May 6th, 2011

In contemporary society, it is well recognised that public policy, corporate strategy and individual choice, and the way in which they are conducted, is becoming increasingly complex. Consequently, in the context of this rapid change and heightened uncertainty, a better and more versatile understanding of the future and the powerful forces influencing its evolution, is required to assist in policy formulation and decision making at every level across all sectors. In 2005, the Futures Academy, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, produced a document Imagineering Ireland – Future Scenarios for 2030 to demonstrate how scenario development can be used in Ireland to explore the opportunities and threats that lie ahead for the nation over the next few decades.

EFMN Brief No. 41 – Imagineering Ireland – Future Scenarios for 2030