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Foresight Analysis

Under the guidance and direct involvement of the ICSU Committee on Scientific Planning and Review (CSPR), a foresight scenarios exercise began in late 2009 to identify the key drivers that are likely to have a major influence on science and society over the coming decades. Through broad consultation, a range of issues from science literacy to geopolitics and global warming were identified and used as a basis for developing four draft potential scenarios of how the world might evolve. These scenarios described in the Report are not specific to ICSU and should also be of use to other organizations such as ICSU Members as a means of exploring their own longer-term roles in the international arena.

Report 1 International science in 2031 - exploratory scenarios

This, the first of two reports recounting the ICSU Foresight Analysis, describes the analysis carried out under Phases 1 and 2 of a process that has engaged the ICSU community in an important long-term planning exercise—exploring the future of international science in 20 years’ time.

Of course, the future cannot be predicted, and this is not the aim of the foresight exercise. However, ICSU and international science can make a significant contribution to shaping the future; exploring where we would like to be two decades from now can help in selecting the best pathways to achieve this vision.

Download Report 1 International science in 2031 - exploratory scenarios.


Report 2  A Success Scenario

This Scenario outlines a vision of what the international science landscape would be like in 2031 if it is optimally promoting progress in science and serving the needs of societies across the globe.

It draws on the ideas and analysis that led to the development of four exploratory scenarios described in Report 1 of the ICSU Foresight Analysis exercise. In particular, it uses the same ‘drivers’ that were identified through extensive consultation.

This is one of many potential scenarios that could be imagined and is not designed to be a prediction but rather a mechanism for exploring how we would like the future to be and how ICSU might positively influence this. It is deliberately designed to be aspirational and to some extent normative.


Download Report 2 A Success Scenario

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