IFAThe European IFA Academic Seminar will cover several topics related to participatory and democratic foresight in support of decision making. It shall thus address the inclusive and engaging nature of foresight through stakeholder involvement.

Members of the Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology SAGUF working group on energy future will co-organise a respective session and actively interact with the international IFA community to advance knowledge generation in this field.

The recently set up International Foresight Academy (IFA) aims to bring together foresight activities, experiences and initiatives from contrasting cultural and political contexts around the globe. IFA wants to explore and compare if foresight has the potential to function as a means to support societies to better face and influence politics, especially on critical issues that may determine and influence our future. IFA research will investigate if foresight can in fact provide some room for articulation to address even complicated and technologically sophisticated issues, overcoming public muteness and obliviousness. The identification of best practice models from empirical evidence in different countries and contexts will support other foresight practitioners to contribute to more transparency and participation in the debate of critical future issues. The interaction of technology with the social, behavioural and environmental aspects in integrative planning becomes more and more important.

In this context, this Academic Seminar will explore the development and use of foresight approaches aimed at enabling a smarter, more participatory and sustainable future through cross-cultural comparisons. The organisers invite authors to submit contributions which either elaborate on the underpinning theoretical basis or present a practical national / regional perspective or an individual approach to participatory foresight, relating technological innovation(s) to social impacts. The focus shall lie on the following themes to make comparative studies possible:

  • Foresight’s role in supporting democracy targeted impacts:
    This theme will focus on the contributions foresight has had and can have to empower citizens to engage in decision making processes and thus shape participatory governance systems and democratic societies. Both theoretical and practical papers on topics such as stakeholder engagement; the shaping and use of networks to enable citizen participation; application of foresight in democratic decision making processes leading to social or technological innovations; transparency and democratisation of information; among others, are welcome.
  • Foresight and stakeholder engagement in addressing grand challenges:
    This theme will focus on the contributions that participation and democracy enabled through foresight approaches can have in designing and implementing sustainable solutions to challenges societies face today and may face in the future. Both theoretical and practical papers on topics such as the use of trends, emerging signals and collective intelligence for sustainable futures; participation in addressing societal challenges and democratic decision-making on future technology choices, for instance in the context of so-called smart cities or of the future of energy generation, distribution and use; among others, are welcome.

Plenary keynotes, parallel sessions as well as workshop will enable attractive room for discussion and knowledge development among IFA partners and interested scientists, practitioners and decision makers.

Workshops with innovative, future-oriented companies, policy-makers, NGOs and the interested public will add value to the Academic Seminar.

Further information:

  • Vicente Carabias-Hütter (vicente.carabias“at“zhaw.ch)