Keywords: Technology, Foresight, Agriculture, Environment, Natural resources, Markets.
Technology Foresight is a key policy initiative first announced by government in the White Paper on Science, Engineering and Technology. It is the first exercise of its type carried out in the UK. The programme embraces the themes of partnership, wealth creation and improvements in the quality of life. It brings together industrialists and scientists to identify opportunities in markets and technologies which are likely to emerge during the next 10-20 years. It seeks to identify the investments and actions which will be needed if full advantage of perceived advances in knowledge and market opportunities is to be realised. The exercise draws on contributions from a wide spectrum of skills and the results of Foresight are intended to inform decisions by Government and industry.
The Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Sector Panel (ANRE) embraced a broad range of industries and topics. The Panel membership reflected the diverse remit and included experts from the public sector, small and medium-sized enterprises and multinationals, which was supplemented by 4 Sub-Groups where additional expertise was represented. Views of the Panel were formulated against a background of consultation which involved some 50 other specialists, a Delphi survey of over 600 experts from industry and academe, regional workshops and seminars and written submissions from numerous individuals and organisations.
The final report reviews the major pressures for change in this Sector, and recommends generic and specific areas where investment is needed if the UK is to remain competitive and the quality of life is to be enhanced. It seeks to identify constraints to the attainment of these objectives and recognises that the priority given to such topics as responsible husbandry of finite resources, sustainability, environmental impact and animal health and welfare is also dictated by political imperatives.
Prof R B Heap, The Babraham Institute, Babrahan, Cambridge, UK
Prof J R Hillman, The Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee, UK
23 pages, 5 figures, 11 tables, 5 refs.