Read our new paper: “Transhumanist revolutions”

Mass media from around the world is constantly heralding new scientific and technological breakthroughs that bring upon the promise of healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives: partially restoring the sight of blind people with the aid of artificial retinas, restoring partial movement of previously non-responsive limbs by linking a paralyzed person’s brain to a computer chip, artificial bones, skin, blood, along with more controversial endeavors: editing the human genome through gene-splitting techniques, stem cells primed to promote regeneration, cryogenics and many, many others. The transhumanist movement regards breakthroughs like these as springboards not only to healing people, but to changing and improving humanity. Thanks to scientific developments in converging technologies such as biotechnology, neurotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology, humanity may be on the cusp of an enhancement revolution. 

Our new paper proposes 12 scenarios informed by transhumanism, portraying futures in which the human condition – our bodies, functions, and lives – and the features of societies are fundamentally transformed by technology. We propose these narratives as exploratory scenarios, describing futures where both positive and negative consequences are palpable. They are not normative, outlining a vision of the future deemed desirable. We invite readers to regard them as devices for imagining the future and debating the future. 

You can read more on the context and download the full paper here

Read our new paper: “Data as representation”

What is data? How is data relevant for human and natural ecosystems? The answers depend on the perspective – in a recent paper we propose three scenarios, going from techno-optimism, to equal species recognition, to the philosophy of biocentrism.

In brief, the scenarios are:

  • To the maxx – in which the technological trends of the early 2020s (pattern recognition through AI, greener and FAIR data, digital twins etc.) have reached maximal expansion. In this scenario, science supplies data and algorithms for decision-making, but scientific techno-optimism is confronted with the challenge of understanding and of justifying decisions.
  • Radical responsibility – in which a social technology (equal recognition through a system of rights) is extended to virtually all beings, human and nonhuman. Here, science is enlisted in support of bringing in the perspectives of different species but is confronted with the challenge of integrating these perspectives into broad models accepted by all.
  • We, the life – in which the driving force is a new level of consciousness gained by a growing number of biocentric scientists. Humanity relies on them to inspire ethically grounded worldviews, influencing the design of socio-techno-environmental systems.

Access the full paper here.

Science, technology, and innovation (STI) for ecosystem performance

Human performance has long been a dominant pursuit and driver of progress in science and technology. As notions of performance are still guiding STI research, discussions on its nature are relevant and shape STI directions. Human needs and performance are inextricably linked to challenges related to the health of the planet. Considering that, a debate is warranted to shift the attention from human performance to a more inclusive performance of flourishing ecosystems. 

In this context, the vision of the project “S&T&I FOR 2050. Science, Technology and Innovation for Ecosystem Performance – Accelerating Sustainability Transitions” is driven by the desire for STI efforts to place ecosystem performance on par with human performance. This broadens the focus of STI to encompass multiple conceptualisations of human-nature relations and to contribute to sustainability transitions.

The project’s overarching goal is to identify and map future scientific and technological developments, which can radically improve ecosystem performance. In doing so, it provides reflections on the 2nd strategic plan of Horizon Europe (HE), in its broad direction to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

Institutul de Prospectiva brought a number of contributions to this project:

  • carried out a two-round Dynamic Argumentative Delphi survey, between December 2021 and February 2022. The survey engaged over 600 experts globally in enriching, assessing and prioritizing STI directions in terms of their potential to contribute to the capability of planetary ecosystems to flourish from now to 2050. The full report of the survey is available here.
    • a synthetic report highlighting: the most promising STI directions, considering their potential to contribute to the capability of planetary ecosystems to flourish from now to 2050; and the potential significant harms that STI could inflict on the capability of planetary ecosystems to flourish from now to 2050. The synthetic report is available here.
  • elaborated the case study “Data as representation, which proposes three scenarios on the way data is understood and used in relation to the human and natural ecosystems by 2050. The final aim is to suggest the implications for the way R&I is organized and its challenges in each scenario. The case study is available here.
  • elaborated the case study “Soil to Soul, which proposes three scenarios exploring human-soils relations. As sense-making devices, these scenarios discuss how different ontologies of soils shape different actions, be them soil management practices in agriculture contexts or Research and Innovation (R&I) practices. The case study is available here.

The project “S&T&I FOR 2050. Science, Technology and Innovation for Ecosystem Performance – Accelerating Sustainability Transitions” is conducted on behalf of the European Commission. The project team comprises experts from the following organizations: Austrian Institute of Technology (lead), Institutul de Prospectiva, Fraunhofer ISI, ISINNOVA, Visionary Analytics.

Vision and scenario building for 2035 – Fishing and aquaculture in Romania

Institutul de Prospectiva is supporting the Ministry of Agriculture in Romania in its current efforts to build its sectoral strategy for fishing and aquaculture for the period 2023-2030. The activity is part of an effort involving the World Bank and its partners in supporting the strategic capacity of different ministries in Romania.

The project relies on a foresight methodology that involves a number of co-creation workshops with stakeholders in the sector. The first two workshops in a series of four were organized in April 2022 and were aimed at co-creating a vision for fishing and aquaculture in 2035.

The workshop engaged participants in a seven steps process, as follows:

  • Building a common understanding of the current societal/consumer behaviors and attitudes (level of fish and seafood consumption, types of products consumed, preference for local products, expectations regarding traceability, environmental concerns etc.);
  • Assessing the evolution of societal/consumer expectations by 2035 (on the same parameters as above);
  • Mapping the current fishing and aquaculture system, in terms if strengths and weaknesses;
  • Sketching the inertial future scenario of the fishing and aquaculture sector in Romania, meaning the likely scenario for 2035 in the absence of corrective policy interventions;
  • Identifying future opportunities that would allow the system to progress towards more desirable scenarios than the inertial scenario;
  • Collaboratively developing normative scenarios, capitalizing on selected opportunities;
  • Based on the normative scenarios, extracting the main components of a future vision for 2035, together with the most important areas of transformation leading to such vision.

The results of this co-creation workshops are presented in this report:

Based on this outcomes, stakeholders will be further engaged in two road-mapping workshops to be held in May 2022.

Conference on the Future of Europe

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a unique and timely opportunity for European citizens to debate on Europe’s challenges and priorities.

The Conference is placed under the authority of the three institutions, represented by the President of the European Parliament, the President of the Council and the President of the European Commission, acting as its Joint Presidency.

A key component of this conference are the citizen panels discussing different topics and put forward their proposals. The citizens are representative in terms of geographic origin, gender, age, socioeconomic background and/or level of education.

Institutul de Prospectiva provided three facilitators for the citizen panels, each panel meeting three times in the period 2021-2022.

Reimagining the Food System: scanning the horizon for emerging social innovations

The horizon scanning project ‘Reimagining the food system: scanning the horizon for emerging social innovations” (July 2021 – December 2021) embraced a bottom-up approach to investigate emerging food system practices and  behaviours, with emphasis on social innovation, across the entire food chain, from production, processing and manufacturing, through supply, retail and services, to consumption and waste management.

This project consisted of:

  • Conducting a horizon scanning process that led to the identification of over 200 weak signals/emerging trends that were further nested into 24 emerging issues along the food system segments. Team Prospectiva ran the horizon scanning and the clustering, showcasing the results in both visual (see the canvases below) and narrative format.
  • Analyzing a subset of ten selected emerging issues by developing individual factsheets and an outlook of their interrelations.  
  • Drawing key insights from the emerging issues identified, particularly in terms of driving forces and actors, risks and opportunities and key uncertainties. 
Canvas of all emerging issues | © Institutul de Prospectiva
Canvas of emerging issues – segment: Producing food | © Institutul de Prospectiva
Canvas of emerging issues – segment: Processing and manufacturing | © Institutul de Prospectiva
Canvas of emerging issues – segment: Processing and manufacturing | © Institutul de Prospectiva
Canvas of emerging issues – segment: Consuming food | © Institutul de Prospectiva
Canvas of emerging issues – segment: Waste management | © Institutul de Prospectiva


The project research team was composed of experts from: of ISINNOVA, Institutul de Prospectiva, Austrian Institute of Technology and Insight Foresight Institute.

S&T&I FOR 2050. Science, Technology and Innovation for Ecosystem Performance – Accelerating Sustainability Transitions

The aim of the project is the “identification and mapping of future scientific and technological developments that can radically improve ecosystem performance”. The outcome is to provide “reflections towards the 2nd strategic plan of Horizon Europe, in its broad direction to support the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The project is coordinated by the Austrian Institute of Technology. Prospectiva is coordinating the identification of the Science&Technology& Innovation trends (by using web mining), and the assessing of their relevance in supporting the flourishing of the ecosystems in 2050 (by means of a large scale Dynamic Argumentative Delphi).


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