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Emerging Technologies and Opportunities for International Science and Technology Foresight

This background paper focuses on the potential role that international science and technology ‘foresight-type’ activities might play in informing decision-making processes about innovation, development and emerging technologies. Two, predominantly national-level, foresight type activities are discussed, ‘technology foresight’ and ‘technology assessment’. Experiences with these approaches are quite diverse but over time there has been a discernible shift in many countries away from reductive and expert-based exercises to more plural processes in which wider sets of assumptions have been articulated about problems, desired futures and the social purposes of technology. Foresight-type activities have only occasionally been conducted at the international level but this paper argues that there may be scope for conceiving of international foresight activities as a mechanism for articulating and framing development ‘needs’, and for bringing these to bear on innovation actors. This would, however require considerable attention to how foresighttype activities are designed and conducted, and the complexities of dealing with a very large array of global actors and perspectives.


Publication status

  • Published


STEPS Centre, Brighton





Department affiliated with

  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications


STEPS Working Paper 30, available at:

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