Foresight projects

Foresight projects give evidence to policymakers to help them create policies that are more resilient to the future.

Foresight projects take a big, cross-cutting issue, summarise the evidence, and explore future possibilities. They use the best available evidence and science advice by engaging GO Science’s networks of experts. Projects identify key challenges and opportunities for government, aiming to inform better policy that is resilient in the long-term.

The Foresight programme has been running for over 20 years, with over 30 published reports available in our collection. Recent titles include:

-Net Zero: scenarios and pathways
- Wireless 2030
- Genomics beyond health

Our current projects are

How do we decide on new Foresight projects?

Decisions on new Foresight project topics are made by the Government Chief Scientific Advisor (GCSA), but this is informed by criteria based on lessons from previous projects:

  • Customer: Has a clear customer or set of customers within government been identified?
  • Value-add: Is there clear added value from GO Science leading the work? For example, does the issue affect multiple departments or have a clear science or technology angle?
  • Long term: Does the project involve long-term thinking? Can futures techniques be used to inform government preparedness for potential changes on the horizon?
  • Timing: Is now a good time to do the project? For example, does it fill a key evidence gap or is there an upcoming government strategy it can inform?
  • Impact: Is there scope for the project to inform a significant, identifiable policy outcome?

Each year our teams goes through a pipeline process to line up the next set of projects, by engaging our networks across government and external experts.

Published reports

The final project reports of finished Foresight projects. {:#published}

Current projects

Overview of current Foresight projects.

Horizon Scanning Programme Team Research Papers

These papers were produced by the Horizon Scanning Programme Team, a collaboration between Cabinet Office and the Government Office for Science. This specific programme has now ended and the papers are archived here.

Published 31 October 2013
Last updated 14 May 2024 + show all updates
  1. Changed text on Horizon Scanning Programme to reflect the programme has ended. removed link to blog. Added section on current projects to body linking to HTML pages and put current projects library at bottom.

  2. updated the recent titles list

  3. Added a link to the "Net Zero Society: scenarios and pathways" report to the past projects section of the page. This report was published in 2023.

  4. Updated this page to add more detail about the current Foresight work of the Government Office for Science.

  5. Added Current project 'Net zero society scenarios and pathways'

  6. Horizon Scanning Programme Team Research Papers added to page.

  7. Added final reports for the Future of cities project.

  8. First published.