From FORwiki

Jump to: navigation, search


What was the motivation to start your Foresight in the first place?

FP7 call in the Security Research Area; working in an interdisciplinary team of foresighters, security researchers, policy advisers etc.

What was the key problem driving the launching of the exercise?

Global trends and threats have a direct impact on European societies through, for example, illegal immigration, regional instability that spills across borders, or energy shortages causing economic vulnerability and instability, which can lead to radicalisation or social marginalisation. Unless these issues and their root causes are understood in a holistic manner, it will be impossible for the EU and member state governments to properly address them with targeted policies.

Although the international security environment has diversified, the characteristics of the threats to European security should lead to a coordinated response from EU member states as pressures for cooperation mount. In essence, asymmetry, anonymity, de-territorialisation and inter-connectedness could be translated as meaning that all EU member states are affected by the contemporary threats to European security in more or less the same way. States are becoming increasingly unable to provide security on a national basis because of the nature of the threats and challenges they face and the degree to which they find themselves inextricably bound to each other.

These developments underlined the need to intensify co-operation between different sectors of national administrations and between different EU institutions and Directorate-Generals (DGs) within the European Commission. Traditionally, security policy has been the prerogative of ministries of foreign affairs and defence, but today justice and legal issues, environment, development co-operation, immigration etc. also play a strong role in the security field.

What were the objectives of your Foresight?

The objective of ForeSec was to tie together the multiple threads of existing work on the future of European security in an attempt to provide a more coherent guidance, orientation and structure to all future security-related research activities. It aimed at enhancing the common understanding of the complex global and societal nature of European security in order to pre-empt novel threats and capture technological opportunities. The project took a participatory approach in an attempt to facilitate the emergence of a coherent and holistic approach to current and future threats and challenges to European security. ForeSec built a pan-European network around the European security foresight processes to foster a societal debate on European security and security research

How did you design the exercise?

FORESEC used participatory foresight methodology apt for the attainment of these goals and engaged in the systematic assessment of the information generated by the process to support this end. The foresight process included the following methods:

  • Scanning, with a view to exploiting relevant elements, previous pertinent work,
  • Participatory methods: World Café for the official kick-off, Delphi studies and focus groups (country and pan-European workshop) where expert and non-expert opinions on a specific issue were collected and analysed,
  • Scenario analysis: the development of descriptions of possible future crisis situations in order to anticipate and prepare for potential future scenarios,
  • Technology assessment: the analysis of technological opportunities on the horizon with a view to analysing their impact for use in policy-making contexts.

The project analysed European security both in its global context and at societal level in European countries.

Did you have a team, external support?

The members of the consortium had a proven expertise and capability to initiate and sustain a European security related foresight process and manage multi-stakeholder policy processes. The consortium members had in-depth knowledge of foresight methodologies and European security as well as the European Security Research Programme; its aims and challenges were therefore well-placed to facilitate a wider participatory foresight process aimed at bringing a broad societal perspective.

They key strengths of the consortium were:

  • Experience and expertise in national, sectorial and regional foresight processes
  • Thorough knowledge of European external and internal security and European and national security strategies
  • Capacity to involve participants from governments, European institutions, civil society, private sector, academia through existing networks

The FORESEC consortium consisted of six organisations from six European countries:

  • Crisis Management Initiative (Finland),
  • Austrian Research Centers System Research (Austria) (renamed Austrian Institute of Technology),
  • the International Institute for Strategic Studies (the United Kingdom),
  • the Swedish Defence Research Agency (Sweden),
  • the Centre for Liberal Strategies (Bulgaria) and
  • the Joint Research Centre (Italy).

How did you approach participation? What kind of participants did you involve? How did you select and approach the participants?

Interviews: about 5-10 security experts in each country from the sectors civil society, academics, first responders, policy/administration, research, economy

Kick-off: about 70 security experts from the six countries and from international organisations Delphi: about 270 experts from the six countries, a few additional countries and from international organisations

Country Workshops: about 15 security experts in each country from the sectors civil society, academics, first responders, policy/administration, research, economy

European Workshop: about 60 security experts from the six countries from the sectors civil society, academics, first responders, policy/administration, research, economy

Final Conference: about 60 security experts from the six countries mostly from the research and policy sectors

How long did your Foresight last?

22 months, 2008-2009

How much did it cost?


How was it financed?

European Commission, FP7, SSA

What was the management structure?

6 partners, one of them was the project coordinator; ¾ majority role for changes concerning the contract agreement (What do you mean by this question?)

What were the outcomes (tangible/intangible)?

Discussions with stakeholders either in interviews or at the kick-off workshop not only brought threats and challenges to the fore but also opportunities for the following developments:

  • Diversity of cultures: migration might have positive impacts; change of behaviour is probable, giving rise to a more community-oriented culture
  • A Europe speaking with a single voice in security matters and building shared capacity and common approaches for crises management
  • Rise to the state of the art in the development of new technologies for problem-solving and economic benefit
  • Reaching social cohesion among Europeans through dialogue
  • Filling the power gap left by the US

For papers and final report consult website:

What was the main difficulty you encountered?

The fine tuning of the mixed methods used would have needed more structure at the intersections. The scope was often too broad and therefore the outcomes sometimes superficial.

What was the best experience within your Foresight?

The Wold Café of the kick-off proved as a feasible structure for connecting experts from very different disciplines and sectors working on security issues from different angles. They could all see their work item from e new perspective and had the chance to make new professional connections.

What would you do different next time?

Training for the team members in mutual methods and background to have a fairly equal knowledge base to start with

What was the greatest benefit of the Foresight exercise in your view?

The ForeSec Delphi is the first Europe-wide Delphi on civil security. It involved two rounds and was conducted among different stakeholders with expertise on civil security in almost all member states. About 270 experts participated. They were asked to assess approximately 70 statements on Europe’s future of civil security in the fields of societal changes, political changes, economic changes, environmental changes and technological changes.

It was interesting to see the overall consensus on European security among the experts and a few national specific deviations from the mainstream. Also, experts see single security issues often differently than the rest of the national population and thus contradict common wisdom.

Personal tools