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ICSU Foresight Analysis featured in Nature

An article in a recent issue of Nature (Vol. 479, 24 November 2011) reflects on the scenarios developed as part of the ICSU Foresight process and suggests the need for better engagement between disciplines and with the public.

To complement ICSU’s shorter-term strategic planning, the Committee on Scientific Planning and Review (CSPR) decided to engage the ICSU community in a longer-term planning exercise—exploring the future of international science in 20 years. To this end a foresight scenarios exercise began in late 2009 with a broad consultation to identify the key drivers that are likely to have a major influence on science and society over the coming decades. 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 are not specific to ICSU and should also be of use to other organizations as a means of exploring their own longer-term roles in the international arena.

From an ICSU perspective, the next step is to develop a ‘success scenario’ for 2031 and extrapolate back to identify feasible steps that ICSU can take to help realize this scenario. 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 Nature article here.

Download the ICSU Foresight powerpoint presentation referred to in Nature article.

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