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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

Knut Erik Solem and Galina Gaivoronskaia

To analyze several complex issues which are being addressed by biotechnological research and identify possible solutions to some concrete problems.

Abstract

Purpose

To analyze several complex issues which are being addressed by biotechnological research and identify possible solutions to some concrete problems.

Design/methodology/approach

The objectives are achieved by the use of detailed data and literature search, decision analysis, case studies and personal involvement in research conferences on this and closely related problem areas. The approach to the topic is critical and constructive based on own work and that of colleagues and other analysts.

Findings

Significant issues are waiting to be properly addressed in decision making within the field of modern biotechnology; this applies to the USA as well as Europe. However, controversies about insufficient risk assessments, inadequate risk management or ethical acceptability in different applications of biotechnology co‐exist with controversies about their needs. Technology, politics and values must be integrated. Inadequacies in decision making may be at least partly resolved by proper planning mechanisms, the use of think tanks and applied foresight analysis.

Research limitations/implications

Better understanding of a more general problem, i.e. gaps in the framework in the introduction of biotechnology into the food sector must be pursued, as public reactions to this new technology and its usage will likely increase, as will fears associated with it. New ideas are needed. Future work must identify ways and means for assessment and evaluation of “think tanks” and their proper use if these are to be applied.

Practical implications

This paper will provide a very useful source of information on a complex and increasingly important subject for a target audience consisting of: decision makers in government, biotech companies, international and national experts, researchers and graduate students. It will broaden the practical understanding in the use of biotechnology.

Originality/value

The paper fulfils an identified information/resources need and offers insight and practical help to organizations and individuals involved with biotechnological research, applications and decision making.

Details

Foresight, vol. 7 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2001

Galina Gaivoronskaia and Knut Erik Solem

The potential of biotechnology to cure disease and feed the Third World has not eased public disquiet about its safety. In the rush to commercialization, can lessons be…

Abstract

The potential of biotechnology to cure disease and feed the Third World has not eased public disquiet about its safety. In the rush to commercialization, can lessons be learnt from the introduction of nuclear power a generation ago? While France’s nuclear programme stayed on track, America’s was derailed by accidents and corporate secrecy. So is an industry under state control safer than one in private hands? And in the absence of clear evidence about the long‐term effects of genetic manipulation, how can we design a consultation process that addresses public concerns?

Details

Foresight, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2001

Galina Gaivoronskaia and Knut erik Solem

“Mad cow” and foot‐and‐mouth epidemics have brought food safety to the fore in Europe. Understanding the reasons for the crisis can be helped by comparing European systems…

Abstract

“Mad cow” and foot‐and‐mouth epidemics have brought food safety to the fore in Europe. Understanding the reasons for the crisis can be helped by comparing European systems of control with those countries that have avoided such problems (e.g. the USA and Norway). A second approach is to closely examine the experience of the UK, where there is most evidence of why and how problems can emerge. The article concludes that European food safety is most likely to be improved by attention to the control system itself. More reliance should be placed upon hazard evaluation techniques and legislation should be changed to allow consumers greater influence.

Details

Foresight, vol. 3 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 April 2011

Knut Erik Solem

The purpose of this paper is to examine and explain the role of foresight in government, while making an attempt to ascertain why foresight is both necessary and rare. The

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine and explain the role of foresight in government, while making an attempt to ascertain why foresight is both necessary and rare. The paper aims to identify main areas where foresight is needed as well as the constraints that it faces. It also aims to provide some prescriptions and recommendations for improving both system and process.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is based on case studies and literature search on futures/forecasting. Furthermore, analysis and observations are based on the author's own participation in different governmental and research environments; in several academic circles; within “think tanks” and on the international circuit (mostly at the UN, NATO, IAEA, IIASA and OECD) as well as within the Scandinavian scene.

Findings

Several methodologies and techniques that are identified here may allow people to help perceive, evaluate and control the effects of their actions, present as well as future. However, they have, so far, only been used spasmodically. One reason for this state of affairs is that the difference between “well‐structured” (normal) and “ill‐structured” (futures type)problems has not been properly identified or satisfactorily solved. The political system faces three major problems: the problem of competence; the problem of deliverability; and the problem of legitimacy. All of these can be helped by the understanding and application of proper foresight methods and techniques.

Originality/value

From the design/methodology point of view, this paper draws on the combined sources of international practice and theoretical implications. Its findings are easily comprehended and hence useful for their practical application for decision making on global as well as regional problems. The concept of fully “learning to unlearn” is of primary importance, as well as that of not “discounting the future”, for which several methods and techniques have been analyzed and suggested.

Details

Foresight, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Foresight, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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