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Evaluation of the BMBF-Foresight-Process (Federal Ministry of Education and Research)


07-01-2008 - 12-31-2010

Contact person:
Additional participating senior research assistants:
Short description of the project:

To safeguard the capability for innovation of Germany as a research and education location in a sustainable way the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has carried out the Foresight-Process since September 2007. The Foresight-Process as the following four main objectiv

  1. Identification of new focuses for research and technology.
  2. Definition (and deduction) of new areas for comprehensive, interdisciplinary research and innovation activities.
  3. Analysis of potential to identify fields of technology and innovation which are suitable for new strategic partnerships.
  4. Deduction of prioritized operation areas for research and development.

The examination and safeguarding of its effectiveness and efficiency was the task of the evaluation carried out by the Institute of Work and Technology.

Objective and concept of the first evaluation can be summarized as follows:

From the perspective of process-oriented evaluation the Foresight-Process is a comprehensive concept which consists of various systematically interlinked fields of activities with a diverse range of involved parties. Thus, it can be considered as process with multiple involved parties which is characterized by a high level of complexity and dynamics as well as a focus on long-term orientation. Analyses and preliminary results are constantly fed into the  ongoing process to optimize it.

The evaluation aims at

- analysing the Foresight process systematically

- deducing recommendations for the process control from target/actual comparisons

- giving recommendations for the design and implementation of a long-term oriented, sustainable Foresight-System-

- supporting the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, i.e. the responsible body of the process, in its activities to continuously develop the foresight activities.

To establish this research assignment a two-stage approach with individual sub-goals was implemented: In the first stage of the evaluation which ended in June 2009 the focus was on an accompanying analysis, evaluation and optimization of the ongoing process. However, in the second stage, which ended in September 2010, the focus lay on integration and implementation of process results.

The evaluation addressed questions concerning the design of the process as well as its communication and acceptance and the orientation of its activities towards the needs of the stakeholders. To answer theses questions a three-dimensional evaluation approach was developed. It included usefully combined target/actual comparisons, preliminary and detailed evaluations as well as studies of the whole process in comparison to individual subprocesses.  

Within the approach a broad range of methods and techniques was applied which is suited to the evaluated complex and dynamic Foresight-Process:

- A systems theoretical approach to modelling

- The application of complexity management methods

- A diverse portfolio of methods from empiric social sciences

The evaluation is currently continued in an extention project. Details under "The Evaluation of the BMBF-Foresight-Process II" (At present in German only.)

Additional Links (in German only):

Homepage des Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
Homepage zum BMBF-Foresight-Prozess