The overarching objective of BOHEMIA (Beyond the Horizon: Foresight in Support of the Preparation of the European Union’s Future Policy in Research and Innovation) is to identify priorities and themes for Future European R&I policy and to provide a description of the issues that should be addressed by R&I policy and funding. The time horizon considered in the project is 2040. By this time, the results of research and innovation activities funded by the next European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation are expected to reach a very substantial impact in practice. Project BOHEMIA involves three main phases:

  • Explore possible alternative futures setting the societal, economic and political conditions and boundaries for EU R&I policy;
  • Assess the possible future evolution of socio-economic as well as of scientific and technological challenges, needs and opportunities;
  • Recommend potential priority areas and policy approaches for addressing them.

The project starts with the analysis of a wide range of foresight and strategic intelligence sources, addressing different types of future developments: emerging technological trends and societal challenges, innovation opportunities, new R&I practices, and wider contextual developments.

This information is synthesized into a set of scenarios that aim to sketch possible future settings and boundary conditions for the development of future R&I policy and funding. BOHEMIA develops pairs of scenarios for seven domains: global political and socio-economic context, climate and energy, environment and ecosystem resources and services, health, security and resilience, accelerating innovation, and ‘a world of cities’.

The approach of developing pairs of context scenarios was chosen in order to capture the variability of the future in a simple manner, by distinguishing for each pair between a “perseverance scenario” and a “transition scenario”. Transition scenarios entail major structural and institutional changes in the seven domains explored. They define the requirements and opportunities for future R&I, but also point to important implications for other policy areas and strategies of stakeholders. As for the perseverance scenarios, the fundamental structural and institutional conditions prevail more or less as they are today.

  • The resulting report, Future scenarios for research & innovation policies in Europe, is available here.

Further on, Bohemia invites experts across Europe and the globe to engage to assess future technologies, societal issues, and R&I practices through a Delphi survey.  The latter draws on a unique and innovative methodology (“Dynamic Argumentative Delphi” – DAD) that enables not only the assessment of Delphi statements, but also supporting or questioning the statements by proposing and evaluating arguments.

  • The resulting study, Data from a Delphi survey in support of future European Union policies in research and innovation, is available here.

Finally, BOHEMIA aims to build on the scenarios and the results of the Delphi in order to derive policy recommendations. The Delphi results supply the foundation for the formulation of more targeted scenarios, which provide orientation for possible thematic directions in future R&I policy. The targeted scenarios are validated and refined in a workshop with the EC Foresight Correspondents’ Network, and subsequently subjected to a final online consultation. The latter aims to deliver an overall assessment of the perceived relevance of the targeted scenarios for European R&I policy, and an amended and ranked list of R&I items perceived as potential priorities within each of the targeted scenarios.
The project team:

The project draws on a team of highly experienced foresight and R&I policy experts, who have been involved in several key foresight and R&I policy projects at national and European level. AIT has a long-standing track record in matters of foresight and its use in the context of R&I policy at regional, national, European and international levels, also covering a broad range of sectoral domains. ISIS has a strong track record in scenario development, addressing domains such as energy, transport and cities, as well as global developments. Institutul de Prospectiva has substantial expertise in developing and implementing Delphi-survey instruments; and extensive experience with the use of online tools in the context of policy research and public participation. Finally, Fraunhofer-ISI has excellent expertise in Delphi and other foresight methods, but can also draw on a broad range of thematic competencies for policy analysis and development.

Project partners

  • Austrian Institute of Technology
  • Institutul de Prospectiva
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI
  • ISINNOVA, the Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems

Social Business Initiative (SBI) Follow-Up: Co-operation between Social Economy Enterprises and Traditional Enterprises

The Social Business Initiative adopted by the European Commission in 2011 aims to create a favourable environment for the development of social business in Europe, and of the social economy at large. Following the Council of the European Union’s conclusions on promoting social economy as a key driver of economic and social development, co-operations between traditional and social economy enterprises became recognised as means of scaling up social economy enterprises and the place of social innovation and entrepreneurship within the economy.

In this context, the European Commission, through the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), has contracted a consortium with organizations from 10 countries to execute a study that will serve as means for starting the implementation of these Council Conclusions. This study is an important tool to promote entrepreneurship and access to markets for social enterprises and thus, stimulating jobs and growth.

The projects main steps are to:

  • Produce an in-depth analysis of the cooperation between traditional and social enterprises;
  • Define a set of recommendations for different decision makers;
  • Discuss, revise and validate the proposed recommendations with different stakeholders;

The analysis starts with the mapping of the common tendencies, schemes, external and internal difficulties and best practises, including domestic regulations’ favouring, hindering or preventing cooperation between social economy enterprises. On the basis of the analysis performed, there will be conclusions and recommendations provided on how to foster the cooperation between social enterprises and traditional enterprises in the EU.

These recommendations will be discussed in a final conference in Brussels, by representatives of Member States and local authorities, private stakeholders and academics, aiming to raise awareness of the situation and discussing a possible action plan.

The outcomes of the “Social Business Initiative (SBI) Follow-Up: Co-operation between Social Economy Enterprises and Traditional Enterprises” will be used by the European Commission and possibly, Member States and local authorities, in order to develop public policies for the development of social economy enterprises, based on their cooperation with traditional profit-oriented enterprises.

Project partners

  • Technopolis
  • Austrian Institute of Technology AIT
  • i-propeller
  • Lama Development and Cooperation Agency
  • Technology Partners
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Institutul de Prospectiva

RIBRI – Radical Innovation Breakthrough Inquirer

Horizon scanning for radical innovation breakthroughs

The goal of this project is to identify 100 technological innovation opportunities for Europe and the world by confronting 100+ emerging Radical Innovation Breakthroughs (RIBs) with 20-25 Global Value Networks (GVNs).

The main phases of the project are:

  • To collect and systematise up-to-date information, from sources world-wide, on key future radical (technological and societal) innovation breakthroughs;
  • To evaluate the potential of these key breakthroughs as emerging trends or game-changers and their strategic importance for Europe, taking into account their scientific basis and technical feasibility, their relevance for existing economic structures in Europe and strategic potential and risks in relation to potential future global challenges and future global value networks, within Europe as well as outside it;
  • To identify Europe’s strengths and weaknesses in reaping the benefits of the 100 most significant breakthroughs.
  • To produce a report suitable for use by policy-makers describing the 100 most significant radical innovation breakthroughs, underpinned by a structured analysis and data set with descriptions of all breakthroughs identified that are potentially feasible in the next 5 to 20 years, and comparing the 100 most significant breakthroughs to European strengths and weaknesses in research, science and technology.

In addition, however, the project aims at two more far-reaching aims directed at underpinning a European future orientation in a more general way:

  • To initiate a community of actors committed to engage into a Pan-European dialogue on radical innovation breakthroughs that may form the nucleus of wider future oriented debate in Europe and thereby strengthen European futures orientation and resilience.
  • To pave the way for an ongoing exploration of radical innovation breakthroughs combining human judgement and automated analysis in a fruitful way.

Project partners:

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI 
  • Institutul de Prospectiva
  • Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku, Finland