•  Research hypothesis

Since 1980s, economies and societies have been under the influence of a huge wave of change, attributed to ICT, i.e. information and communication technologies. To form that tsunami – that we can call “info-tsunami” - which has transformed almost everything in our life and work, did take more than those two converging technologies; the convergence list includes micro-electronics, advanced materials, physics, mathematics, work organization and management, and more. This experience forms the basis of this POLONEZ research fellowship, which will focus on a new, much more powerful technological tsunami, the BIO-TSUNAMI.

  •   Research objectives

The object of this project is to initiate a foresight exercise on the fast approaching second tsunami of socio-technical transformation, built by a much wider spectrum of converging powers, including biotechnology, new agriculture, novel foods, health, quality of life, environment, sustainability, education, knowledge management, design of smart applications, and more. A characteristic of this succession of technological tsunamis is that the new one – that we can call “bio-tsunami” - “absorbs” selective element from the previous one, thus multiplying its power and enhancing its applications range; an example is the use of bio-informatics, which can be seen as an application of the info-tsunami, and at the same time as a tool for the operation of the bio-tsunami.

  •  Research approach

The action of the bio-tsunami is strongly local, regional and inter-regional. Therefore, in order to analyse it, the research activities will cover a few case studies, including Poland and Greece, i.e., socioeconomic systems already experiencing radical change. Another interesting case is that of the Southern (Mezzogiorno”) Italy, to be examined as part of the planned Study Visit to Puglia. Finally, the analysis will cover the EU and its prospects for a new role in a deeply changing World. The particular methods to be applied include forecasting; foresight; scenario-building; impact assessment; surveys and opinion polls; various types of questionnaires; stakeholder mapping and dynamics; interactions with Host Institute and outside experts; and various sector-specific techniques.

  •  Expected impact on science, civilisation and society

The early identification of key technological convergence areas will primarily affect the target-setting and orientation of further scientific research, and will thus speed up the arrival of the more disrupting bio-tsunami effects. On a parallel line of action, the formulation of foresight scenarios, i.e., future world models, taking into account the technological convergence trends, will provide our cultures and societies with efficient tools to shape their future, and enrich their power to manage change. This is especially the case of less developed areas in Europe (rural, former industrial, mountain, coastal, fragile ecosystems, etc.), which will be able to plan ahead for their sustainable development.