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Analyzing Iran’s science and technology foresight programs: recommendations for further practices

Reza Hafezi (Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran)
Siavosh Malekifar (National Research Institute of Science Policy, Tehran, Iran)
Amirnaser Akhavan (Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 22 June 2018

Issue publication date: 20 August 2018




Studying previous science and technology (S&T) foresight activities reveals information that helps decision makers to redesign policy-making templates aimed at dealing with new millennium challenges. To propose policy recommendations about further S&T foresight programs in Iran, this paper aims to propose a three-phase process to study historical S&T foresight activities at national and sub-national level since 2005 to 2015, to analyze the state of selected activities to discover weaknesses and potential solutions and, finally, to provide strategies and tactics to improve further S&T foresight activities through an expert-based process.


This paper provides a three-stage methodology, designed to survey Iranian historical foresight practices (study) using scoping framework equipped with additional features, diagnosis and evaluating (analyze) and finally proposing recommendations to organize and implement more efficient further foresight practices (design) to initialize further practices in developing countries such as Iran.


Although concerns about future and the importance of foresight activities are raised however Iranian foresight community needs to be developed. As noted in Section 5, Iranian foresight facilitators and specialist are biased to limited methodologies and methods; therefore, creating foresight networks and developing communities is strongly recommended.

Research limitations/implications

The main constraint of this research was lack of valid data in the case of some Iranian S&T foresight programs.


Iran as a developing country needs to plan for long-run programs; however, there is no integrated study which reviews and analyzes the previous attempts to dedicate insights about how to reframe existing foresight paradigms. As foresight practices facilitate the paths toward sustainability, analyzing and diagnosis of a series of foresight practices in a devolving country may initialize designing such efforts in less developed world.



The authors would like to express their gratitude to collaborators and experts (Ghazinouri, Nazemi, Chaparak, Kousari, Poursheikhali, Salimi, Peyvasteh, Heidari, Esmaeilzadeh, Qadiri, Alizadeh, Farrokhi, etc.) for providing materials and sharing their pearls of wisdom during the course of this research.


Hafezi, R., Malekifar, S. and Akhavan, A. (2018), "Analyzing Iran’s science and technology foresight programs: recommendations for further practices", Foresight, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 312-331.



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