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Scanning for Emerging Science and Technology Issues (SESTI)
Start date: Oct 1, 2008, End date: Jun 30, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Today’s societal developments are often influenced by improbable events with high impact. Recent examples are the “cartoon quarrel” and developments impacting energy security. These events are preceded by “weak signals” which are only partially discussed in policy, if at all, and rarely acted upon. The increasing complexity and uncertainty is reflected in the growing demand for tools for anticipatory intelligence, such as scenario analyses, Delphis and modelling and simulation tools. Several countries, Finland, UK and the Netherlands, have initiated horizon scanning projects to identify disruptive events that are not on the RADAR of policy yet. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to the development of an effective system for the early identification of weak signals of emerging issues. For that a weak signals pool, integrating several scanning tools in a wiki to collect and disseminate the information, will be set-up. Additional to its European focus, potential links with national actors and platforms are planned, making use of existing networks such as ForSociety (several of the project members are ForSociety members), to feed the project outputs into European and national policy processes. Beneath this overriding goal is the desire to initiate momentum at national and European level to pro-actively address emerging issues. Next to its practical goals, this project also aims at developing and improving new tools and methods for weak signals of emerging issues to improve detection and the operationalisation of methods using a case oriented approach to contribute to the overall Bluesky call issues. To exploit resources most effectively, this project builds on existing structures and competencies in foresight and horizon scanning in place at national level (above examples), and intends to add value by by improving existing resources, providing new strategic information and creating synergies exploiting complementarities between initiatives.
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