Title: Foresight for European Coordination: Developing National Priorities for the Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform

Authors: Totti Könnölä, Ahti Salo ja Ville Brummer

Status: International Journal of Technology Management, Special issue on technology foresight (to appear)

Date: June 10, 2006

Keywords: Foresight, Innovation policy, Forestry, Forest industry, Multicriteria decision making, Portfolio modeling, Open method of co-ordination, Technology platform.

Although foresight has become increasingly relevant at the international level, little methodological attention has been given to the challenges that arise from the geographical dispersion of participants or the consideration of their national and regional idiosyncrasies. In this paper, we address these challenges in connection with coordination tools for the ‘Open Method of Coordination’ – most notably ERA-NETs and European Technology Platforms – which are facilitated by European Commission with the aim of contributing to the establishment of the European Research Area. Specifically, we argue that the successful management of these tools calls for multi-stakeholder processes which pose demands such as scalability, modularity and dependability on the design and deployment of foresight methodologies. We also report experiences from a recent foresight process that was conducted in Finland to support the development of the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) of the Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform. This process was based on the RPM Screening methodology which consisted of the Internet-based solicitation and assessment of research themes, identification of promising research themes through Robust Portfolio Modeling  (RPM), and several participatory workshops where the results of multi-criteria analyses were discussed. The encouraging results from this process and the broader potential of Internet-based decision support systems are discussed in view of European coordination tools.