The blueprint for the next round of the government's Foresight programme, which aims to encourage industry, academia and government to identify research needs and market opportunities and threats for the future, was unveiled this week.
Following months of consultation, the 16 sectoral panels that drove the first Foresight exercise are to be cut to ten. Three new panels, covering the ageing population, crime prevention and manufacturing 2020, are to be set up to address issues driving wealth creation and affecting quality of life. Each panel will be asked to consider two underpinning themes: education, skills and training, and sustainable development.
The new Foresight, starting in April 1999, will have an internet depository of regularly updated information.
The next round will involve young people and the setting up of of officially recognised associate programmes. These will be run by professional institutions and other organisations.
The new panels will start producing findings for debate by late 1999, with final reports and feedback during 2000. An overarching report is expected around November 2000. The panels, in addition to the three new ones, will be: built environment and transport; chemicals; defence, aerospace and systems; energy and natural environment; financial services; food chain and crops for industry; healthcare; information, communications and media; materials; and retail and consumer services.