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    Foresight Reports

    The National Research and Technology Foresight Project

    The National Research and Technology Foresight project was one of a number of initiatives being undertaken by the Department of Science and Technology's predecessor, the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, as part of its mission to review and reform South Africa's science and technology system. Interest in foresighting in South Africa has received special emphasis in the July 1993 Mission Report on science and technology policy sponsored by the International Development Research Centre of Canada. The intention to carry out such an exercise was announced by the Ministry of Arts, Culture Science and Technology in mid 1994, shortly after the establishment of the new Ministry.

    The aim of the Foresight project was to help identify those sector specific technologies and technology trends that will best improve the quality of life of all South Africans over the next 10-20 years. The project encompassed technologies that impact on social issues and wealth creation through product or process development. In particular it seeked to:

    • identify those technologies and latent market opportunities that are most likely to generate benefits for South Africa;
    • develop consensus on future priorities amongst the different stakeholders in selected sectors (industrial, socio-economic or service);
    • co-ordinate the research effort between different players within selected sectors;
    • reach agreement on those actions that are needed in different sectors to take full advantage existing and future technologies.

    Equally as important as these outcomes, was the foresight process itself, which brought together government departments, industry, science councils, higher education, organised labour, professional organisations and other stakeholders, who previously related to each other in a highly fragmented way.

    The following sector specific reports were generated during the foresight exercise: