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iNTERCONNECTING KNOWLEDGE FOR THE EARLY IDENTIFICATION OF KEY ISSUES (E.G. WILD CARDS AND WEAK SIGNALS) SHAPING OR SHAKING THE FUTURE OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION IN THE EUROPEAN RESEARCH AREA

Wild Cards & Weak Signals
November 2008 – April 2011 www.iknowfutures.com

The aim of the iKNOW project is to elucidate and examine events and developments potentially shaping or shaking the future of science, technology and innovation (STI) in the European Research Area (ERA). iKNOW pursues the following objectives:

o to develop and pilot conceptual

and methodological frameworks to identify, classify, cluster and analyse wild cards and weak signals (WI-WE) and expected impact on, key dimensions of the ERA Vision:

o to assess WI-WE implications for, 1. Researchers 2. Research infrastructures 3. Knowledge sharing
4. Joint Programming

5. International S&T cooperation
iKNOW will undertake the following activities:

o Literature review and desk research to obtain broad and deep insights on WI-WE
by means of literature review and desk research.

o Surveys, interviews, and a cross-national Delphi to gather EU and international
views on WI-WE. This will be followed by four national surveys looking at potential impacts of WI-WE on national and sub-national issues. order to gain insights and inputs to the subsequent working packages as well as feedback on interim results gained from cross-national and national surveys.

o National workshops to promote interactive discussions with key stakeholders in o Case studies to contextualise findings and develop an in-depth understanding of

how WI-WE relate to national and regional policy issues, in particular those related to major pan-European goals. use of web-based tools that will go beyond simply disseminating and delivering results. These tools will provide environments for user communities to go about their own WI-WE analysis.

o Development of IT tools and applications to test and innovate in terms of the

o Validation and dissemination of findings of the project, through policy toolkits
and practical guides aimed at supporting policy-makers and the foresight community. iKNOW Project Description In recent years, Foresight has emerged as a key instrument for the development and implementation of research and innovation policies with long-term perspectives. Some activities show an interesting mix of approaches combining three types of elements: prospective studies of long-term opportunities and alternatives, participatory networking, and policy orientation. However, far too little attention has been paid to the identification and analysis of Wild Cards and Weak Signals (WI-WE). Weak Signals are ‘not necessarily important things’ which do not seem to have a strong impact in the present but which could be the trigger for major events in the future (e.g. changes in public attitudes to one thing or another, an emerging pattern of concern about emerging health problems). Finding weak signals is one of the most challenging tasks in futures research and their analysis often leads to the identification of Wild Cards. The latter are surprising and unexpected events with low ‘perceived probability’ of occurrence but with very high impact (e.g. the 2001 attack to the World Trade Centre on September 11, major disasters in environmental or technological systems, etc.).

iKNOW is managed by a consortium of 8 partner institutions from 5 countries (in alphabetical order)

o CZECH REPUBLIC o CZECH REPUBLIC o FINLAND o FINLAND o GERMANY o ISRAEL o UNITED KINGDOM o UNITED KINGDOM

Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences CyberFox Mindcom Ltd Finland Futures Research Centre Z-Punkt Interdisciplinary Centre for Technology Analysis and Forecasting RTC North PREST Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

iKNOW is funded by the European Community’s Cooperation Programme under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technology Development (Contract Number: 225695) Project Cost: Project Funding: Contact PREST Manchester Institute of Innovation Research Manchester Business School, Precinct Centre The University of Manchester, Booth Street West Harold Hankins Building, Manchester, M15 6PB, UK Project Coordinator 1.09 million euro 839,861 euro

Rafael Popper rafael.popper@manchester.ac.uk www.iknowfutures.com

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