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Home > About ICSU > Strategic priorities > Foresight Analysis > Background information

Background information

The ICSU foresight analysis was led by ICSU’s Committee on Scientific Planning and Review (CSPR) and its foresight Task Team. It ran from October 2009 to February 2012 and will inform the development and implementation of ICSU’s Strategic Plan 2012–2017.

This foresight explores the potential development of international science over the next 20 years in a changing economic, social, political, and environmental context. Its purpose is to test the role and mission of ICSU and guide long-term strategic choices aimed at building ICSU’s value in strengthening international science for the benefit of society. In addition, the foresight is designed to help ICSU Members and partners develop their own strategic directions.

The foresight is scenario-based, and will provide ICSU with a 'long view' that complements the nearer-term view provided by other inputs to the strategic planning process.  A scenario is a tool for ordering perceptions about alternative future environments in which one’s decisions might be played out; it is a plausible image of the future, typically tracing a pathway from the present to the future or vice versa.

By focusing on scenarios, this foresight is not looking for scientific priority topics, but rather is mapping possible future contexts in which international science will operate. Exploring the drivers of changes in this future context, and the inherent uncertainties, helps to define the future role of ICSU in facilitating, supporting, and amplifying the work of the global scientific community and its organizations—with the ultimate aim of making the best use of collaborative international science for the benefit of society and the advancement of science itself.

Foresight Task Team

  • Roberta Balstad (US)
  • Lidia Brito (Mozambique)
  • Michael Keenan (UK)
  • John Marks (Chair, Netherlands)
  • Nebojsa Nakicenovic (Austria)
  • Kari Raivio (Finland)

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