• Testing two research hypotheses: The “waves” of change + Converging technologies

- Research hypothesis #1: Socio-technical change comes in waves, small or big (“tsunamis”).
- Research hypothesis #2: Converging technologies driving previous (info-) and new bio-tsunamis.

Since 1980s, our global economies and societies have been under the growing influence of a huge wave of change, attributed to ICT, i.e., the convergence of information with communication technologies. To form that tsunami – that we can call the “info-tsunami” - which has transformed almost everything in our life and work patterns, did take more than those two converging technologies; the convergence list in question includes micro-electronics, advanced materials, optics and other physics, mathematics, work organization and management, and more.

This experience of converging technologies forming a huge tsunami of socio-economic change constitutes the basis of the hereby presented research, which will focus on a new, much more powerful technological tsunami: the “bio-tsunami”, sometimes described as that of the emerging (knowledge-based) bioeconomy [See References: European Commission, 2012]. Bioeconomy (mostly in Europe) or biobased economy (mainly in USA) are terms used recently to express the broad spectrum of potential applications of biological sciences and their associated technologies for improved performance and quality of products and services in various fields of the economy, both established and emerging. A particular aspect of the value and strategic attraction of bioeconomy, especially of its sustainable version, to policy and decision makers is its potential “greening” effect on processes, products and systems.

      • Research focus: Foresight for deeper understanding of change + Strategic intelligence

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 and bioengineering, new agriculture, novel foods, health, quality of life, cosmetics, bioenergy, environment, sustainability, education, knowledge management, design of smart applications, and more.

A characteristic of this succession of technological tsunamis is that the new mega-wave – which we can call “bio-tsunami” – tends to “absorb” selective elements from the previous one, thus multiplying its power and enhancing its applications range; an example of such an overlap is the use of bio-informatics, which can be seen as an application of the galloping info-tsunami, and at the same time as a tool for the emergence and smooth operation of the bio-tsunami. The fellowship research plan aims at gaining new knowledge of the foundations of phenomena and observation facts in the field of technological forecasting and technical change, without any direct commercial use, but with a significantly beneficial potential for all actors involved, thus constituting a basic research action.