How will our world look like in the future?

Under an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership cooperation of five European universities the FORESIGHT project was completed by the end of August, 2021.

This project was about to improve the link between higher education and employers (profit and non-profit), thereby increasing the fit between the skills of students and the needs of employers. Employers currently lack employees with foresight competencies, making them less successful in their business. Project team has developed courses that enable students to learn and stimulate competences to carry out foresight studies and apply them in innovation processes. Foresight is not an ability to predict the future, but an act of looking forward, by analyzing trends, signals of change and movements. Foresight is the study (= Futures Research) on possible, probable and preferable futures.

The main outputs of the project was 1 innovative educational module with 5 courses and a teacher manual was developed. Moreover, two intensive courses for the students and 1 for the teachers were carried out to improve students’ futures skills and teacher’s ability to train students in future consciousness. 20-20 students and 5-5 teachers per partner were involved and trained. In addition, an interactive online platform, a Foresight working space was developed for joint work both for the students in teams and for the teachers. Last, but not least an instrument was also developed which monitors the increase of future consciousness and orientation of the students involved.

The social development goals 3 ‘Good Health and wellbeing’, 10 ‘Reduced inequalities’, 11 ‘Sustainable cities and communities’ are in the focus of the trainings and workshops of which students chose a topic for their research as an own project implemented by mixed teams of the partners. They prepared a short video as their own products by the end of the trainings.

Two significant scientific conferences were organised as part of the multiplier event: the Mid-way conference was organised in June 2020 via Zoom by the Budapest Metropolitan University (METU, Hungary) with the participation of some highly-honoured speakers in the field of future research, then the Partners’ speeches were taken place on ‘How is the content of the project beneficial for the stakeholders, the industrial partners, the academics and the students as the four main target groups?’ The event was followed by over a hundred visitors via Zoom and the YouTube channel of the host university.

The Final Conference took place online in June 2021 organised by the University of the Basque Country (UBC, Spain). The aim of the final conference was to disseminate the results and conclusions reached within the Foresight project. The main question that was guided the leitmotif of the three blocks of the event, was to debate on how to look towards sustainable futures. If we want a future world where the quality of life is good for everyone, we will have to act now and solve complex problems such as aging, waste, food, human rights and environmental issues. The first topic was implementing foresight at the university in class and at organizational level. Then the next topic was ‘Why is it important to learn about designing the future?’ presenting teachers & students’ standpoints. In the last part of the conference students present their innovative projects for the future carried out in the 2nd training session divided in three different breakout rooms.

For a large-scale dissemination activity, teachers took part in several conferences relevant to Foresight topic where they presented the results of the project and held presentation on related issues. Moreover, an own website was developed for the project and a Facebook and Instagram site were also established. In addition, partners made some scientific or business articles and reported about the progress of the project and the main outputs/milestones in their own (university) websites.

Partners discussed the progress of the project and divide the tasks in project meeting held regularly during the 3-year long project. Considering the COVID-19 situation and restrictions some elements of the project could be organised online (second intensive training, the 2 multiplier events and some project meetings). In the final project meeting held in Bilbao as a face-to-face event at the end of July 2021 in which partners evaluated all activities carried out during the project, also evaluated project outputs according to the project performance indicator, as well as discussed the possibilities of future cooperation and the continuation of this great initiative: project Foresight. 

Partnership: Istanbul Ticaret University (Lead, Turkey), Budapest Metropolitan University (Hungary), Fontys Academy for Creative industries (The Netherlands), Karel de Grote Hogeschool (Belgium), University of the Basque Country (Spain).

Duration of the project: 01/09/2018 – 31/08/2021