Meanwhile, severe social and economic instability have been witnessed due to the economic recession, lack of fresh water, food, and energy supply, climate change, regional conflicts, and respective population movements. In such a rapidly changing complex environment, it becomes more and more crucial to identify emerging trends, the Weak Signals of potential changes and future shocks and surprises in the form of Wild Cards. In this respect, the Global Technology Trend Monitoring (GTTM) project aims at collecting and analysing data for the purpose of providing early indications of potential developments in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). The anticipatory intelligence gathered through the project is used to provide stakeholders opportunities to develop early responses to capitalise on, protect against, or mitigate the impact of potential disruptions in the future.
Hence the main goal of this research project is to develop an integrated methodology for monitoring of global technology trends having potential significant impact on global social-economic development in the long term. The GTTM project benefits from a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, which ranges from Bibliometrics, Scientometrics and Technology Mining to other well-known methods of Foresight including Horizon Scanning, scenarios, the Delphi method and expert panels. Large academic, scientific and media databases are analysed by using the data mining techniques. The input from the scanning phase is elaborated further with expert consultations through surveys and workshops. Trends are then described in detail with additional attributes such as the time of realization, life cycle stage of development, disruptive capacity, key players, expected effects, new applications and consumer properties, drivers and barriers, impacts for society and further implications for STI policy. Major trend databases are also reviewed to confirm the results obtained and to explore new trends.
The purpose of the project in 2014 is updating the database of technological trends in priority areas of science and technologies. These areas are information and communication technology, biotechnology, medicine and health service, new materials and nanotechnology, rational use of natural resources, transport and space systems, energy efficiency and saving.
In order to achieve this purpose following tasks were solved:
- The GTTM methodology was further developed: the mechanism of quantitative data processing was refined, the structure and content of a terms of reference for trends description through expert procedures was developed and so on;
- The results of technological trends monitoring in 2013 were updated. New data reflecting the recent changes in scientific and technological development of the investigated areas were collected and processed (including the use of Vantage Point software and a number of expert procedures). Updated lists of technological trends and their descriptions were formed. The trend database was filled (the information on trends as well as on major international conferences in considered areas, the key Russian and international organizations was renewed);
- Regular newsletters (trendletters) about the global and Russian tendencies of technological development were designed. The regular trendletter format, including its structure, content and design was developed. The regulation of newsletter publication (stages, participants and a scheme of interaction) was reconciled. Eight trendletters in priority areas of science and technology were prepared and distributed.
The results of the research may be of interest to government agencies, companies, research organizations, development institutes, innovative clusters, technology platforms and other organizations. On the next stages it is planned to hold regular monitoring of global technological trends for key sectors of the Russian economy.