FTA for Strategic STI Policies in a Multi-Level, Multi-Domain Governance Context

Attila Havas, Ahti Salo, Matthias Weber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionProfessional


Day-to-day decisions guided by long-term, strategic thinking tend to lead to more targeted (ideally also more favourable) outcomes than ad hoc ones. This principle has influenced the ‘strategic turn’ in science, technology and innovation (STI) policies, i.e., the stronger orientation of STI policies towards societal challenges. Yet this turn does place more demanding requirements on FTA. In an instrumental sense, it is expected that FTA continues to help orientate and design specific programmes and initiatives; but in a more strategic sense, FTA is also expected to influence the wider innovation ecosystem, in which these specific programmes and initiatives are embedded and, more generally, the broader governance context in which an innovation ecosystem is embedded. In this paper, we analyse the strategic positioning of FTA in these two contexts by looking at the example of the European framework programmes for R&I. First, we identify those tasks and steps in the planning and implementation processes of the next FP for which FTA seems relevant; in particular, we discuss the features of FTA approaches that can support these tasks and steps. We also highlight what the main pros and cons of these approaches and associated tools are.Second, we consider the influence of FTA on innovation ecosystems, including practices and structural requirements for successful RTDI and exploitation activities. These activities are shaped by advances on the S&T supply side; but in the meantime, their impacts are contingent on the evolution of the broader socio-technical systems in which new ideas and knowledge are exploited and which effectively constitute the demand side of innovation. Hence, it is pertinent to broaden the scope of FTA beyond a comparatively narrow S&T focus especially in domains where there are strong systemic interdependences, with the aim of including a range of inter-dependent features on the demand side, in order to better understand how desired development paths of innovation ecosystems can be best promoted.The need for FTA with an explicit focus on these systemic aspects makes it necessary to account for multi-level and multi-domain governance structures and attendant practices to ensure coherent policy impulses. This has implications for the range of addressees to be considered in FTA as well as for the modalities of FTA. As for the latter, particular attention needs to be devoted to inclusiveness; communication support and structuring of networks; awareness of and tolerance for uncertainties; problem-focused experimentation; as well as speed, adaptability and flexibility in implementing FTA processes. Against the above backdrop outlining two types of embedding, we provide practical lessons and guidelines on the design and implementation of FTA in support of a strategically oriented STI policies and exemplify them in the case of the EU RTD Framework Programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFTA2018 - Future in the Making
PublisherEuropean Commission
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2018
MoE publication typeD3 Professional conference proceedings
EventInternational Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 4 Jun 20185 Jun 2018
Conference number: 6


ConferenceInternational Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis
Abbreviated titleFTA


  • Foresight
  • Governance


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