As a consortium partner, we closely worked with the Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre to develop and implement the foresight methodology for planning Lithuanian research and higher education Vision for 2030. Together, we employed a number of foresight methods, while involving more than 600 experts leading to development and adoption of Lithuanian research and higher education overarching Vision 2030.
It was the first professionally organized future foresight in Lithuania, while developing and applying specific complex foresight methodology with application of a number of selected foresight methods and attracting more than 80 higher education and science experts, business representatives through the expert panels.
The foresight objectives defined by the Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre:
to develop a long-term vision of the Lithuanian research and higher education development;
to formulate long-term goals of developing the system of research and higher education, the implementation of which should become the subject matter of the monitoring and analysis system.
With the help of Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Germany) foresight steps, while following normative approach, were developed to accomplish identified objectives (see Figure below).
Diagnosis was undertaken in facilitated stakeholder panels to identify major issues that needed to be addressed. It was followed by desk research by commissioned experts to analyze identified issues. The following step included creation and assessment of scenarios by stakeholder panels through consideration of alternative future states based on a number of prioritized trends and polarities, while selecting the most desirable future state that was used for building a fully-fledged (or “path”) scenario, identifying a timeline of actions – needed to achieve the most desirable future state with clear milestones.
Future scenarios developed within panels were checked in terms of their plausibility, consistency, and decision making utility:
Plausibility: A scenario must be plausible. This means that it must fall within the limits of what might conceivably happen.
Consistency: A scenario must be internally consistent. This means that the combination of logics in a scenario must not have any built-in inconsistency that could undermine the credibility of the scenario.
Decision-making utility: each scenario, and all scenarios if they constitute a set, should contribute specific insights into the future that will lead to the decision focus that was selected.
The Delphi type survey served as additional check, while involvement of 600 experts from science institutions, universities, colleges, businesses and active society members. The scenarios and Delphi survey results served as an input to visioning at an overarching stakeholder workshop and strategic conversation aimed at elaboration of measures and milestones with generation of success indicators within panels. The visioning exercise is presented in the diagram below.
Source: Framework for Methodology Report. Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Germany, Karlsruhe, March 2010
As a result of the foresight activities overarching long-term vision of the Lithuanian research and higher education development was proposed covering the Lithuanian HE/ R landscape, the Lithuanian HE/ R in the international context, the Lithuanian HE/ R system and knowledge flows, HE/ R, life-long learning and human capital in Lithuania, and higher education/ research and society. The Vision served for identification of Lithuania’s research and higher education priorities. A set of specific recommendations was proposed to ensure the Vision is practically implemented. The foresight also had a long lasting impact for continuous experts’ network activities.