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European Union

Horizon Scanning

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Abstract in English: 
The study takes a model of Horizon Scanning approaches defined by the SESTI consortium (Scanning for Emerging Science and Technology Issues), then reviews five approaches to Horizon Scanning from Singapore, Australia, Mateafore, iKnow and Sigmascan against this model, and finally makes suggestions about the implications for an EC Horizon Scanning framework. The key recommendations to EFFLA on HS tools and databases in the EC DG R&I context are:
a) Hub – characteristics and location
There is a tension between the “quality” of the scanning – in the sense of originality, depth etc – and its integration with the policy agenda. Horizon Scanning should be the responsibility of a “Node” of dedicated staff within DG Research & Innovation. These staff would be required both to access a wide range of sources in a neutral manner, and remain sufficiently connected to the sense-making and other stages of the Foresight process to be influential.
Although there will a formalised structure of information gathering, it is important that the “Node” also engages with experts and policy-makers informally and frequently. The node must not become an organisational silo.
b) Relation to Strategic Foresight Processes
Careful consideration should be given to what communication “products” are produced. There is a need to balance information overload with pertinent and timely inputs. “Products” should range from very brief daily email news feeds that people can sign up for, through to major set-piece conferences.
c) Role and characteristics of HUMINT
We can expect an increasing use of semi-automated tools within the HS process, as they permit a wider scope of information search and a degree of avoidance of expert bias. But throughout the study, interviewees have been consistent that deciding what signals will emerge from the noise has to come through debate and conflict. Ideally, the overall HS process should include both manual and semi-autom
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Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Abstract in English: 
Europe 2020 Strategy “Promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” places research and innovation at its core.1 The Strategy aims to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The Strategy, which proposes increased spending on R&D to 3% of total European GDP by 2020, is positioned as a key tool in implementing the Innovation Union2 -- a flagship initiative which provides a comprehensive set of actions for improved research and innovation performance through a seamless approach. Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation3 is a key tool in implementing EU Innovation Flagship. Horizon 2020 brings together key funding streams for research within the European Union with a Budget of €90.4 billion (current prices) to establish a single specific programme for implementation with a single set of Rules for Participation and Dissemination. Horizon 2020 emphasises the links between research and innovation, proposing to fund activities throughout the innovation cycle. As such, Horizon 2020 will foster public-private partnerships, emphasise involvement of SMEs throughout the R&D and innovation activities, make available risk finance for early stage projects and commercialisation of new technologies, and provide for improved intellectual property management within EU. Horizon 2020 has identified three major focal areas for funding, namely, “Excellent Science”, “Industrial Leadership” and Actions to address “Societal Challenges”. Section Two of this paper briefly describes these three focal areas with more detailed description of the proposed activities within “Health, Demographic Change and
Wellbeing” theme within the Societal Challenges area. The paper then discusses in Section Three the key contextual challenges face by the European member states, followed in Section Four by a brief overview of EU health system responses to these challenges, with gaps that need addressing. Section Five of this paper proposes a number of areas for consideration for funding within Horizon 2020 activities, and briefly compares these with the priority actions identified within Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing theme. A sub set of the proposed areas is identified as early candidates for funding, with a brief rationale for the proposition.
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