BMBF Foresight is a strategic instrument of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) that provides technology foresight and the determination of future societal needs in terms of research and development.
With a time horizon of 15 years, BMBF Foresight casts a long-range look into the future in order to provide guidance for early agenda setting and prioritization in German research and innovation policy. The process is carried out cyclically and in several phases: search and analysis, transfer, and preparation of the next cycle.
The persistent dynamics of technological development and global change create permanent challenges for Germany’s innovation system. BMBF Foresight is tasked with recognizing relevant early developments, interpreting them, and anticipatorily passing the findings on to be used in current research policy. Knowledge of where to go from here will be provided in order to prepare politics, industry, academia, and society for the future of important technologies and technology needs. BMBF Foresight is not a trend analysis derived from forecasts but rather a set of differentiated methods that mirror the complexity of innovation processes in an international competitive environment and help make the uncertainty of assumptions about future developments more manageable. BMBF Foresight highlights spaces of potential developments and design options, promises knowledge about science and technology, uncovers other potential research areas, supports the economic development of Germany, contributes to quality of life, builds on German competencies in industry and academia, and contributes to resource preservation as well as climate and environmental protection. Thus the BMBF Foresight Process provides information- and knowledge-based decision-making support for long-term and farsighted action in research and innovation policy.
After the successful completion of BMBF Foresight Cycle 1 (search phase: 2007-2009), the BMBF started Cycle 2 in May 2012 with a new two-year search phase.