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Futures of science with and for society: towards transformative policy orientations

Ellen van Oost (Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Stefan Kuhlmann (Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Gonzalo Ordóñez-Matamoros (Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands and Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia)
Peter Stegmaier (Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)

Foresight

ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 13 June 2016

Abstract

Purpose

How to derive policy implications from five future scenarios of transformed research and innovation (R&I) systems? This paper analyzes methodological and content issues of five future scenarios of transformed R&I systems. The aim of this paper is to provide an outlook on strategic policies capable of facilitating or moderating these transformative changes in R&I practices is discussed in light of overarching intentions to foster “responsible” ambitions (in Europe and beyond, discussed as responsible research and innovation, RRI).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper elaborates a four-step methodology to assess the scenario’s policy implications: first, by articulating the scenario implications for six core dimensions of R&I systems; second, an RRI assessment framework is developed to assess in each scenario opportunities and limitations for transforming R&I systems towards responsibility goals; the third involves a cross-scenario analysis of similarities and differences between the scenarios, allowing the identification of robust policy options that make sense in more than one scenario. The last analytical step includes again the richness of the individual scenario assessments aiming to provide a broader outlook on transformative policy orientations.

Findings

The paper concludes with outlining the contours of a future-responsible R&I system together with some suggestions for transformative policy orientations that aim to govern the R&I system towards such a future, as a source of inspiration and reflection.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis is based on five future scenarios that do not systematically cover future developments external to the R&I system.

Practical Implications

An outlook of strategic policies capable of facilitating or moderating these transformative changes in R&I practices is discussed in light of the overarching European Union goal of encouraging the performance of RRI.

Originality/value

This paper provides inspirational anticipatory strategic intelligence for fostering the responsible ambitions of research with and for society.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the EU Programme “Capacities” – Call ID “FP7-SCIENCE-IN-SOCIETY-2011-1” Proposal No 289058 – Research and Innovation Futures 2030. From explorative to transformative scenarios. The paper has benefited from discussions with project partners.

Citation

van Oost, E., Kuhlmann, S., Ordóñez-Matamoros, G. and Stegmaier, P. (2016), "Futures of science with and for society: towards transformative policy orientations", Foresight, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 276-296. https://doi.org/10.1108/FS-10-2014-0063

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited