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iKnow Community: Introduction to iKnow


Introduction to iKnow

By: Rafael Popper     Posted on: 10/12/2009     Last update: 4803 days ago


iKNOW aims to advance knowledge and tools related to events and trends potentially shaping – and shaking - the future of science, technology and innovation (STI). The project is funded by the European Commission Directorate  General  for Research, as part of its Blue Sky initiatives,  which are designed  to create more proactive  European research policy that will be capable of anticipating emerging issues, wild cards and weak signals (WI-WE).

iKNOW intends  to become a cornerstone for foresight and futures studies in Europe – advancing knowledge, tools and capacities for the analysis and use of WI-WE approaches. To do so, the project has built a consortium of
eight partners; six have high-level expertise
in foresight, technology transfer and STI policy support (Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Finland Futures Research Centre, Z_punkt, RTC North, Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Technology Analysis and Forecasting) and two have significant IT and web design experience (Mindcom Ltd and Cyber Fox).


iKNOW will compile and analyse the existing world-wide literature WI-WE.. The results will contribute to a better understanding of the importance of using WI-WE appraisals in forward-looking activities, including foresight, strategic planning and futures studies. iKNOW will also develop dynamic and interactive Web 2.0 platforms (WI-WE Bank and WI-WE Scan) capable of capturing WI-WE intelligence, and connecting expert knowledge through structured discussions on the potential implications of WI-WE analyses for Europe and other world regions.


These platforms will be supported by an interactive virtual space (iKNOW Community) to facilitate dialogue among researchers and policy-makers on a range of themes, including health, agriculture, ICT, nanoscience, energy, environment, transport, social sciences, and space and security.


Access to these platforms will be available to foresight practitioners (in cooperation with the European Foresight Platform) and other organisations involved in activities supported by the European Commission Framework Programmes for Research and Technology Development. This will contribute to the Commission’s goal of building an ‘early-warning system’ providing sound and strategic information to researchers and policy-makers, thus generating timely debates on future challenges and opportunities for science, technology and innovation.


iKNOW will locate and classify WI-WE that are particularly relevant to key dimensions of the European Research Area (ERA) vision (i.e. mobility, infrastructures, institutions, knowledge sharing, Joint Programming, and international S&T cooperation) and ‘Grand Challenges’ (e.g. water and energy vulnerability, diseases, sustainable development, ageing and demographic tensions).


iKNOW will use three major mechanisms to generate these outputs:

·      Structured and continuous scanning of WI-WE with the help of Web 2.0 applications. The scanning will initially be carried out by project partners. Once the WI-WE database has achieved a substantial number of high quality entries, the scanning process will be opened up to a larger group of experts.

·      Organisation of surveys, interviews, and a cross-national Delphi to gather EU and international views on WI-WE. These activities will be followed by four national surveys and workshops looking at potential impacts of WI-WE on national and sub-national issues. The national dimension will be used to prepare case studies to contextualise findings and develop an in-depth understanding of how WI-WE relate to national and regional policy issues, in particular those related to major pan-European goals.

·      Validation and dissemination of findings through WI-WE bulletins, policy toolkits and practical guides aimed at supporting policy-makers and the foresight community.


The activities and results of the project will be disseminated through dedicated working and communication Web Portals, such as the WI-WE Bank, WI-WE Scan and the iKNOW Community available at www.iknowfutures.org (also available at ~.com and ~.net).


Members and visitors of the iKNOW Community will be able to explore:

·      WI-WE relevant to ERA, FP7 themes and selected Grand Challenges

·      Videos related to selected WI-WE

·      Short bulletins on selected WI-WE

·      Electronic version of the project Newsletters

·      Articles, Blogs, Members and Groups of the Community


Members and visitors of the iKNOW Community will be able to share:

·      WI-WE related to their own publications

·      WI-WE related to their own research projects

·      Views on WI-WE relevant to ERA, FP7 Themes and Grand Challenges


The iKNOW database and tools will bring together knowledge and information from academic, policy and business sectors. This edition of the newsletter introduces the project and opens the discussion on wild cards and weak signals (WI-WE) with a note from the editor, a special report, a featured interview and a short description of upcoming events.


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