The EFMN was launched in 2004 to keep track of science and technology (S&T) foresight activities being carried out in Europe and elsewhere, and to promote exchanges of information and greater interaction among foresight experts and policy researchers. Central to this initiative is the mapping and analysis of the European foresight landscape, used to inform and guide EU policy with regard to S&T research and innovation.
The EFMN consists of 11 member organistions active in the field of foresight, and a network of expert 'correspondents' throughout Europe and worldwide. The consortium partners are essentially responsible for shaping the structure and content of the work, while the correspondents gather and communicate information on new initiatives and issues of interest to the foresight community. EFMN activities are funded by the EU and managed and coordinated by TNO. Outputs monitored by EFMN include trend analyses, scenarios, forecasts, research priority rankings, technology road maps, policy recommendations, etc. Subject areas tend to reflect key concerns of government, industry, the scientific community and/or the general public, such as agriculture and food, energy, health, the environment, information and communication, etc. The EFMN also monitors and analyses the methods used in foresight processes, which range from interviews and surveys to expert panels and modeling techniques among others.
Ongoing and new foresight initiatives are monitored on a continuous basis. The consortium partners and correspondents have access to the Dynamo database, which is run by TNO and contains detailed information on foresight studies and developments in science and technology, innovation and public policy. As new information becomes available, it is entered into the database and used for various kinds of analysis and reporting. Mapping
Foresight initiatives are characterised country by country on the basis of certain indicators, such as time horizon, participants, objectives, anticipated impacts, benefits, limitations, etc. The results are summarised annually in a Country Mapping Report. The consortium partner responsible for this activity is the Policy Research in Engineering Science and Technology (PREST) department of the University of Manchester.
This comprehensive analysis highlights current and emerging issues and trends, which merit close attention by policy makers. Led by VDI-TZ GmbH (the German Association of Engineers), the work is summarised in an Annual Issues Analysis Report and discussed at an Annual Issues Analysis Workshop. The topic of analysis and debate in 2006 was Europes ageing population and its impact on health and healthcare systems. Foresight briefs
Consortium partners and correspondents publish some 40 briefs a year on topics of special interest to foresight experts and policy professionals. These concise articles, which follow a specific format, highlight important findings, new activities, new approaches, etc. Responsibility for this activity lies with the Austrian consortium partner ARC Systems Research GmbH. The EFMN website is the focal point for dissemination and retrieval of information about the network, its activities and latest findings, upcoming events, etc.