§ Ms Hewitt
Throughout its life, the Foresight programme has aimed to create new networks linking industry and academia to help the UK make best use of science and technology. Industrial participation remains central to the programme.983W
Of the 13 Foresight panels that were managed from within the Office of Science and Technology over the period 1999–2002, eight were chaired by industrialists, and about 50 per cent. of panel members were from business. During this period, Foresight established a regional network of coordinators. On-going regional initiatives, led by RDAs and others, working with trade associations and businesses to look ahead and identify opportunities and threats, have now gained a great deal of momentum. We expect this level of industrial engagement in Foresight to continue, and be enhanced by the next phase of projects.
Two pilot projects have just been announced, and a full programme will be agreed following wide consultation later this year. Each project will involve first hand input from industry, and will generate information and ideas, many of which will he important for businesses—to guide their current and future strategic thinking about commercial opportunities and threats.
§ Ms Hewitt
The next phase of the Foresight programme will be composed of a series of discrete projects, forming a rolling programme. A formal process is being instituted to identify suitable projects. The Government's chief scientific adviser (CSA) will be hosting a meeting of leading innovators from industry and academia in July 2002 to generate about a dozen ideas. This will be followed by a wide consultation with stakeholders from business, academia and Government before a formal programme of projects is agreed upon.
In order to maintain the momentum of the programme, and to refine the process for taking forward work, two pilot topics have been initiated. These are flood and coastal defence and cognitive systems. These were chosen by the chief scientific adviser, and endorsed by Ministers, after a consultation involving the Foresight Steering Group, the Foresight panels that were in place from 1999–2002, and Government Departments.