12 July 2017 | General
COST President, Prof Sierd Cloetingh, attending EU Parliament event on the relevance of foresight and its impact on policy decisions

A deeper reflection about how to ensure a successful interplay between science and policy is key. During a panel debate organised at the EU Parliament COST President, Prof Sierd Cloethingh, shared his views on foresight from a research-funding perspective.

The National Research Council of Italy and the Socialists and Democrats Group organised “Foresight: driving EU towards a knowledge-based society “, a debate addressing the urgent need for a reflection on the role of research in support to policy. The event was held at the EU Parliament and involved industry and policy stakeholders, civil society and the research community.

The debate focussed on the relevance of foresight and its impact on policy. Discussions particularly addressed the role of science and technology in fulfilling societal needs. High-level panel participants from the EU Parliament’s ITRE Committee, STOA, the EU Commission and Member States’ representatives discussed their visions on foresight, distinguishing between the approach of forecasting and the one of backcasting.

The event also touched on the role of various stakeholders - EU Institutions, Member States, industry, research and civil society - in forecasting and designing the future. They agreed that the process towards defining the 9 th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation could not do without a deeper reflection on ensuring a successful interplay between science and policy.

Prof. Dr Cloetingh stressed that COST offered an interesting platform for interdisciplinary multi-stakeholder collaboration in science.  “COST’s interdisciplinary research projects bring together different expertise, knowledge and cultures, leading to the much-needed cross-fertilization and to results that create higher impact. Collaboration across disciplines is not only beneficial for the advancement of science and society itself, but provides valuable insights for policy makers”, he added.

Participants also pointed out that the huge increase of knowledge and the pace of innovation are both an opportunity and a challenge for societies and governments; therefore, reliable scientific advice coming from a wide range of research actors is required in order to react to increasingly complex and interdependent policy issues and societal challenges.

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