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News announcement4 June 20182 min read

Future in the making – FTA2018 conference

On 4-5 June 2018 in Brussels, the JRC organises the sixth edition of the Future-oriented Technology Analysis (FTA) international conference.

FTA2018 – Future in the making
© EU 2018

On 4-5 June 2018 in Brussels, the JRC organises the sixth edition of the Future-oriented Technology Analysis (FTA) international conference.

A Competence Centre on Foresight, including the Megatrends Hub, will be launched during the event.

The FTA2018 conference is bringing together over 400 participants, including practitioners, academics and policymakers, interested in how to reflect future emerging issues in policy design.

The event was opened by Vladimír Šucha, Director-General of the JRC, with a keynote speech by Gerd Leonhard, The Futures Agency and the author of "Technology vs Humanity".

Over the two days the participants explore today's key challenges in policymaking, such as:

  • increased complexity and lack of trust in policymakers;
  • the proliferation of actors and new channels of involvement and influence;
  • how the speed of change requires not only rapid reaction by policy-makers but also the creation of new meaning and sense.

During the parallel sessions, the participants discuss

  • democracy and inequalities;
  • the exponential development of technologies;
  • the changing nature of work;
  • the role of Europe in the world;
  • the necessary paradigm change to achieve sustainability and the future shape of societies.

Foresight – not predictions on the future

Foresight is a discipline that offers a structured, systematic and systemic approach to gain insights into mid- to long-term future possibilities.

It aims to involve the broadest possible range of stakeholders to develop a better understanding of potential future developments.

The knowledge developed through foresight allows weighing different options, evaluating different courses of actions to invest in possible futures and developing informed strategies towards shared objectives.

The Commission has recognised the usefulness of foresight for policy making.

It has included foresight in the Better Regulation Toolbox, pointing out the opportunities it creates for wide citizen and stakeholder engagement, its potential to make policy proposals more robust and to facilitate collaboration across services.

Competence Centre on Foresight

The JRC is the main Commission service practising foresight.

Its expertise and capacity are now pulled together into the Competence Centre on Foresight, launched during the FTA2018 conference.

The key activities of the Competence Centre will include:

  • Shaping and running on-demand short future-oriented policy support formats, as well as longer term in-depth foresight processes.
  • Integrating foresight with other Policy Lab approaches, such as Design Thinking, Behavioural Insights and Science and Technology Studies to advance and develop new advanced techniques allowing grasping the full spectrum of increasing volatility, complexity and interdependence of policy issues.
  • Generating anticipatory knowledge through continuous information gathering and analysis, including through the newly launched Megatrends Hub.

Megatrends Hub – future of Europe in 14 global megatrends

Continuing urbanisation, shifting health challenges, growing resource scarcity or changing security are only some of the 14 global megatrends identified as those immediately relevant for the future of Europe.

They are collected in newly launched Megatrends Hub – one of the key services of the Competence Centre on Foresight.

It brings together views and data from authoritative and validated resources, including the JRC's Tools for Innovation Monitoring and the European Media Monitor, offering a comprehensive overview of the megatrends.

JRC and foresight – background

Since 2004, the JRC is supporting, through the FTA conference series, the building up of an extended Community of Practice that connects different future-oriented communities of foresight, technological forecasting and technology assessment to discuss, anticipate and shape future developments in the context of strategic policy-making.

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Publication date
4 June 2018