VERA – Forward Visions on the European Research Area

VERA is funded by the European Union's FP7 programme for research,
technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 290705

Citizens Visions on Science, Technology and Innovation. CIVISTI

Code: B04

Primary project information

Lead: Danish Board of Technology DBT
Additional project partners: NCRC, viWTA, MCST, ARC FUND, MEDIAN, OeAW-ITA
Type of activity: FLA
Date conducted: 1/9/2008-1/3/2011
Date of Publication: 2011
Duration: 30 MONTHS
Summary: The CIVISTI project identifies new emerging issues for European Science and Technology by uncovering European citizens’ visions of the future and transforms these into relevant long term science, technology and innovation issues, which are of relevance for European policies of S&T and for the development of the 8th Framework Programme. The CIVISTI project does this by: consulting national citizen panels through an informed deliberation process, focussing on long term visions, needs and concerns of the citizens; developing an analytical model for transformation of the visions into relevant issues for future science and technology; using the analytical model, through stakeholder and expert participation processes, analyse the citizen visions and transform them into possible priorities for research programmes; and validating the priorities through a second round of citizen consultation. The project develops a novel citizen participation process with the aim of making cost-effective citizen participation possible in foresight processes. CIVISTI includes new European actors in the foresight processes in order to expand the experience and capacity of foresight among the Member States, institutions and researchers.
Financed by: EC funded project
Budget: between 750000-1000000 EURO
Research area/market/industry/sector: Health care and medical services; Education and learning; ICT, automation and artificial intelligence; Legislation; quality of life and life style; Employment and new modes of work; Energy (Final report, p. 13)
Main report (full title): CIVISTI Final report (54pp.)


Societal Challenges: The topic of education and learning was discussed, for example, in the vision Holistic Education. This vision accentuates on the importance of education as holistic, physically and psychologically healthy personalitybuilding. The ossified doctrines in the higher education will die out because people realize that the personality maintains national culture, not the other way round. Employment and new modes of work was among the topics extensively discussed in the visions. Such visions were often linked to the role of information and communication technologies that support distant work; work without geographical boarders; and provide tools for redefining the limits between work, leisure and pension time. Also expressed in the visions were the pressures of the globalised society to both an individual worker and his/her family. (final report, pp. 13-14)
Societal Challenges Shortlist: Changing perspective on education into a more holistic concept of physically and psychologically healthy, personality building; Increasing importance of ICT for distant work; Need to adapt regulations to facilitate work without geographical borders; Provide tools for redefining the limits between work, leisure and pension time; Increasing pressures of the globalised society on both an
individual worker and his/her family.
Technical Challenges: Visions related to ICT, automation and artificial intelligence build sometimes even radical pictures of the future, in which new multimedia and ICT tools are applied to an ever increasing extent. Such an example is the vision Mass Communication Replaced by the Massess Communicating. This vision contains an idea of convergence of the physical and virtual realities through perpetual on-line existence. (Final report, p. 13)
Health Challenges: In the background of the visions related to health care and medical services there were often observations of the needs of aging populations and hopes for new solutions from the development of the medical sciences.
An example of this theme is the vision Europe as a welfare state. As stated in the vision, in an aging society significant changes in pension and health insurance systems are needed to retain a unitary health care system.It is ethically appropriate that medical care should be guaranteed without social differences, whether throughtaxes or contributions by the insured. (Final report, p. 13)
Health Challenges Shortlist: Impact of ageing society on health care and medical services in Europe; Impact of ageing society on welfare state models in Europe; Need for significant changes in pension and health insurance systems to retain a unitary health care system.; significant changes in pension and health insurance systems are needed to retain a unitary health care system.; Need to guarantee medical care without social differences, whether through taxes or contributions by the insured.
Cross-cutting Challenges: Quality of life was a topic that was often linked with topics from very different domains of life. For example, in the vision Favouring Ecological Lifestyle, there is a strong linkage between life style and sustainability. (Final report, p. 14)
Cross-cutting Challenges Shortlist: - Uphold quality of life standard by efforts in all different domains of life.
- Consider linkages between life style and sustainable developments
Other Challenges: Legislation, however, was among the topics that were more often discussed. In some cases legislation could be among the measures helping to realize the main goals of the visions (such as more ecological society). In other cases, however, people
dreamed about more transparent, equal or less bureaucratic societies. (Final report, p. 13)
Other Challenges Shortlist: Introduce legislation to support socially desirable developments, such as more ecological society; Assure tranparency, equality and low levels of buraucracy in legislation

Summary of relevant aspects

Connecting fields: The topic of health care and medical services was frequently linked to, included education and learning, quality of life and life styles, and energy issues. Other regular themes linked to education and learning were quality of life, employment and new modes of work, and ICT.
Another important theme to which ICT, automation and artificial intelligence issues were often linked to, were visions on the future forms of work and employment. (Final report, p. 13)
Background information: The CIVISTI project is a research project, supported by DG Research and Innovation of the European Commission under the call Blue Sky Research on Emerging Issues Affecting European S&T, Socioeconomic Sciences and Humanities programme of FP7.
The CIVISTI project is based upon the idea that the process of defining research agendas relevant to the societal needs and concerns could in many respects gain from consultation with citizens. The common understanding of the CIVISTI partners is that citizens are the carriers of the societal concerns and expectations to the future and with the right facilitating methods, such concerns and expectations can be collected and transformed into relevant research agendas. (FInal report, p. 7-8)


Actions/solutions implied: CIVISTI recommendations in the EU Framework Programme context. The recommendations are discussed in the order of their final ranking by the citizen panels: 1. Promote technical and social innovations that can enhance people’s access to and use of public transportation. The CIVISTI results are a strong indication that the progress achieved so far, although noteworthy, still falls short of what is desired by the public. 2. Foresight and research to explore sustainable options of decentralised energy production systems and the resolution of energy related conflicts. 3. Go and re-appropriate the countryside! The CIVISTI consultations highlighted a public desire to establish attractive contemporary life in the countryside. 4. Tools for disabled people. May be useful to promote greater interaction between research organisations, carers and civil society organisations working with people with special needs in an action along the lines of the Mobilisation and Mutual Learning Action Plans as seen in recent SIS work programmes. 5. Optimisation of urban space: towards dense European eco-cities. The CIVISTI results express a strong desire by citizens for concerted action through long-term research and pilot projects with the objective of creating a blueprint for European eco-cities with sustainable waste management, transportation, urban space use and energy usage. 6. Social innovations for aging societies are needed. Research should be undertaken to identify issues and possible solutions relating to the sudden transition from full-time employment to retirement. 7. Increase direct democracy through e-voting. 8. Develop effective urban infrastructures supporting a multigenerational lifestyle. This recommendation revolves around the use of communication and mobile technologies to support multigenerational families through urban design and infrastructural development that provides a friendly environment for large families and their changing needs during familial life cycles. 9. Humanistic research to explore what dignity during the dying process means to contemporary Europeans. 10. Select or develop plans and techniques for areas with extreme climate conditions. (EFP Brief, No 204)
Who benefits from the actions taken?: See target groups

Meta information

Time horizon: 2050
Methods: Citizens Panels; Conferences/Workshops; Weak Signals Analysis; Polling/Voting
Target Group: Government departments or ministries; Government agencies; Local authorities; Parliament European Commission; European Parliament Public research organisations (non-HEI); HEIs; NGOs; Civil society
Objectives: to identify new, emerging topics for the EU R&D policy by consulting citizens in 7 European countries; To transform these into relevant long-term science, technology and innovation issues for European research policy; to expand the European foresight capacity; to establish a new concept for citizen participation on long-term foresight.
Countries covered: N/A
ERA actors/stakeholders mentioned: See target groups + list of participants to the experts/stakeholders workshop and the policy workshop are found at the end of the relevant reports available at Also names of participating citizens are found at each of the seven country reports also available at above website.
Geographic scope:

Entry Details

Rapporteur: Effie Amanatidou
Rapporteur's organization: UNIMAN
Entry Date: 01.06.2012