Foresight and “grand challenges” within research and innovation policies

Martin Rhisiart

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    – The paper seeks to discuss how foresight is used to understand the implications of global changes for research and innovation policies. It aims to present a recent Irish case study that identified grand challenges in the national context, with their implications for research and innovation.

    – The foresight project is described and provides knowledge and
    analysis for a broader, national research prioritisation exercise. The paper analyses the implementation of the Irish foresight exercise and the main outputs generated. It connects the results of the project with the literature on foresight, innovation and grand challenges.

    – The emergence of grand challenges within research and innovation policy discourse in Europe has refreshed key questions for foresight theory and practice. Although many grand challenges have relatively clear implications for research and innovation (investment), others do not. A bottom-up,
    participatory process produced a broader set of grand challenges.

    Research limitations/implications
    – The concept of grand challenges is still relatively new.

    Practical implications
    – Not all research and innovation priorities are linked to grand challenges.
    National policies need to take account of grand challenges whilst continuing to support other research and innovation needs.
    – The paper introduces a novel approach for identifying grand challenges and responses within the research and innovation system through a bottom-up process.

    Paper type
    Case study
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-39
    Number of pages11
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2013


    • Foresight
    • Ireland
    • Innovation
    • Forward Planning
    • Grand challenges
    • Research and innovation policy
    • Research prioritization


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