Press release

New Foresight project to explore the future of identity

'Future of identity' will investigate how changes in technology, geo-politics, demographics and economics over the next 10 years might affect notions of identity.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The ‘Future of identity’ will investigate how changes in technology, geo-politics, demographics and economics over the next 10 years might affect notions of identity and subsequently impact on behaviour. The project findings will have implications for a diverse range of policy areas including social inclusion, citizenship, political engagement, health and wellbeing, and crime and security. It is led by Sir John Beddington and sponsored by the Home Office.

Professor Sir John Beddington said:

The fast pace of change we are seeing in the world today - particularly in the technological arena - has real implications for how people view themselves and engage with others in their communities. By using the latest science and other evidence we can better understand how these major trends impact upon our sense of identity, and in turn our behaviour, in order to help policy-makers develop more effective responses to an uncertain future.

The project’s Lead Expert Group will be chaired by Professor Chris Hankin, Director of the Institute for Security Science and Technology and previously Director of a series of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council workshops looking at identity. The project will be informed by the best current cross-disciplinary research across the social sciences, economics and computer sciences.

This project is the second of Foresight’s new ‘Policy Futures’ projects. Typically undertaken in less than a year, they will inform UK policy making by providing futures and evidence analysis to fill a specific gap in existing understanding. Its findings will help UK and international policy makers navigate a challenging and uncertain future. It will report in December 2012.

Notes to editors

  1. Foresight is the government’s futures think tank, based in the Government Office for Science (GO-Science). GO-Science supports the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser in ensuring that the government has access to, and uses, the best science and engineering advice. It is located within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

  2. The UK government’s Foresight Programme helps government think systematically about the future and deliver major policy agendas by helping to ensure today’s decisions are resilient to future uncertainties.

  3. Further details about the project can be found on the Foresight website.

Published 29 March 2012