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Technology foresight in its science and technology policy context in Spain

AutorSanz Menéndez, Luis ; Cabello, Cecilia; Antón, Fina
Palabras clavePolítica tecnológica
Fecha de publicación1998
SerieDocumentos de Trabajo - Unidad de Políticas Comparadas (CSIC)
DT 98-08
ResumenIn some countries in Europe, Foresight, as a organised process or collective consultation on plausible future developments, has been recently used as a main framework for science and technology policy co-ordination; although in Spain, even though the government is a central player in the national innovation system (NIS) and in the research and technological development (RTD) activities, neither a highly systematic or formalised use of technology foresight has occurred and remains a marginal aspect or a minor dimension for its national RTD policy planning. However, this does not indicate that in Spain, foresight has been ignored. On the contrary, foresight and evaluation for Spanish S&T were considered very important for the government action in S&T policy planning in mid-1980s and an administrative locus in government for both activities were institutionalised; but Foresight in Spain had not gained the centrality in S&T policy planning as it appears to have happened in other countries, and had been keep as a tool for producing information (reports) on the future developments at sectoral level. Under the umbrella of Prospectiva Tecnológica, a word that in Spanish has strong proximity with French concept Prospective[1] associated to planning activities, we can identify many different types of activities carried out in a very discontinues way. Also, the understanding of Prospectiva has been much more associated to the idea of producing information on the future trends and tendencies, scientific or technological, than to the idea of developing a systematic process of interaction between innovation actors to help their co-ordination in the context of national innovation systems. In this pages we will try to describe the first attempts to bring foresight into the policy agenda contextualized within the formulation of the Spanish RTD policy. We will also discuss how the forms foresight taken have been punctual and discontinuous, and how they have not matured into a process of considering the future in a systematic manner as a part of a collective action. We will try to elaborate on the variables that could explain why in Spain, Foresight as a tool has not shaped S&T co-ordination policy (in addition to its effects on legitimisation), as in some other countries.
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