For the search phase of the first cycle (2007-2009), the BMBF chose a technology-orientated approach ("technology push"). Using a carefully constructed set of established foresight methods, future opportunities in research and technology were analysed. Thus, structured and focused surveys of experts were carried out through workshops and interviews, amongst other techniques. The results were validated in a two-step panel procedure by an international monitoring panel of leading experts. Young researchers were specifically consulted as Inventor Scouts. In addition, environmental scanning (literature research and analyses of conferences and relevant results), bibliometric analyses (for dynamic development in scientific fields), and online surveys were conducted. Based upon the topics of the High-Tech Strategy (HTS) and other topics derived from the current departmental foresight activities, a number of central cross-cutting research fields were identified at the interfaces between individual disciplines, thus leading beyond the previous functional and programme logic.
14 research fields, so called "future fields" (in German: "Zukunftsfelder"), emerged in which future topics with long-term relevance in research and technology were identified: health research, mobility, energy, environmental protection and sustainable development, industrial production systems, information and communication technology, life sciences and biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials and their manufacturing process, neuroscience and learning research, optical technology, service sciences, systems and complexity research and last but not least water and infrastructure.
These 14 future fields, with their range of research topics, were subsequently analyzed in a number of steps, discussed with national and international experts, and evaluated against established criteria. By the middle of 2009 seven "new future fields" could be identified, characterized by both a high research dynamic (rapidly growing research fields with high relevant innovation potential) and also a significant demand dynamic (addressing key future challenges).
These were cross-sectional and interface topics, which had not yet been addressed through single disciplinary approaches (for example, Human-Technology Cooperation), as well as entirely new topics (such as ProductionConsumption2.0). These have been widely noted and discussed internally in the BMBF and also in other federal departments and amongst the expert public. From this, important contributions can be derived for the further development of the High-Tech Strategy and for strengthening Germany as a location for science and innovation.
The following Link leads to a webpage offering an overview of each of the seven "new future fields." In addition, there is a short introduction to the methods applied in the search phase of Cycle 1.
Deutsche Version dieser Seite
[PDF - 3.05 MB]
- not barrier free - (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/pubRD/Foresight-Process_BMBF_New_future_fields.pdf)