Anticipating disruptions and building scenarios to underpin EU R&I policies: Foresight for the 2nd Strategic Plan of Horizon Europe

Attila Havas (Vortragende:r), Matthias Weber, Kerstin Cuhls, Nikos Kastrinos

Publikation: Beitrag in Buch oder TagungsbandVortrag mit Beitrag in TagungsbandBegutachtung


The Strategic Plans of Horizon Europe explicate how the R&I initiatives funded by the Framework Programme are expected to contribute to the achievement of major EU policy goals as captured for now by the key strategic orientations of the 1st Strategic Plan of HE. However, already during the implementation of the 1st Strategic Plan, the EU is confronted with novel developments that may hamper achieving the initial ambitions of the 1st Strategic Plan, and which should be re-considered when devising the 2nd Strategic Plan. These novel developments can arise from the global and EU context of EU R&I policies, as well as from RTDI activities. Of particular interest are those developments that may bring with them potentially disruptive changes (e.g., new social confrontations or advances in general AI) – both threatening and promising ones. They will indicate areas in need of particular attention in EU R&I policies, pointing beyond those already identified in the 1st Strategic Plan, and possibly also questioning some of them. In other words, devising a sequence of Strategic Plans is a means to make the Framework Programme more adaptive and account explicitly for newly emerging developments, with foresight methods applied to ensure that a long-term perspective is taken.
Our project opens a new page in making use of foresight for underpinning the development and adaptation of large-scale policy initiatives in the EU policy context. We argue that it supports forward-looking thinking and anticipatory capacity building in public sector organisations by introducing new foresight infrastructures, building inter-organisational networks, and mobilising futures literacy and domain expertise around selected themes to underpin the definition and adaptation of policy strategies and actions.
We explore possible future changes in these contexts for EU R&I policies to identify those areas of change that might have disruptive impacts on the EU’s ability to achieve its overarching policy goals.
We have considered the pros and cons of various scenario approaches, namely the types of scenario architectures used in the reviewed reports; other options used in further prospective analyses; as well as three more generic methodological approaches we experimented with in the first part of the project: multi-level scenarios; disruptions as ‘starting points’ (their likely impacts explored in different contexts); and narratives (short, focussed descriptions of certain developments, as opposed to scenarios offering a more comprehensive picture of a given future). We have identified methodological differences and elaborated on the particularities of context scenarios as opposed to other types of scenarios, and their added value for selecting and framing policy issues.
With this first, context-oriented component we have tested the robustness of suggested emerging, and potentially disruptive, developments that may be possibly included in the 2nd Strategic Plan.
The second component has deepened our understanding of disruptive developments in selected areas or research and innovation using horizon scanning and scenario development techniques. With these methods we have identified candidate areas for inclusion in the 2nd Strategic Plan.
Drawing on these two components, a visionary outlook and possible suggestions for the 2nd Strategic Plan have been derived in interaction with the different communities of practice tied to the project.

TitelEU-Spri 2023, Research with Impact
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 14 Juni 2023
VeranstaltungEU SPRI conference 2023 - University of Sussex Business School, Brighton, Großbritannien/Vereinigtes Königreich
Dauer: 14 Juni 202316 Juni 2023


KonferenzEU SPRI conference 2023
Land/GebietGroßbritannien/Vereinigtes Königreich

Research Field

  • Societal Futures


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