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The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (Formerly PREST) are pleased to provide you with details of our 5 day short course Foresight: Horizon-Scanning and Scenarios.

Foresight - Beyond business as usual is a course for sponsors and practitioners

(27 June - 1 July, 2011)

While the world seems to have escaped a deep depression, the reverberations of the economic crisis will take a long time to die down. Even if we do not have a “double-dip” and long period of slow growth, many countries, industries and public services face uncertain and difficult futures. This is at a time when globalisation, demographic, environmental and other trends are creating new pressures on these industries and services. This is evidently a moment in which we need to reflect upon all sorts of assumptions when it comes to plans, policies, and strategies for the long-term future.

The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR - formerly PREST) has been running an annual foresight training course for over a decade. Our twelfth course, in 2011, will explore ways in which foresight may be used to help decision-makers confronted with the uncertainties outlined above. What do we have to look for on and over the horizon? How horizon-scanning be systematically organised, and how can the results be made really useful for decision-makers? How do we relate such work to scenario analysis and planning?

The course will provide a concentrated and intensive, practically-orientated learning experience, explicating why, and how, we should apply such methods. We will, this year, be particularly concerned with moving beyond “narrow” technology Foresight, to considering interrelations between social and environmental issues, and the application of Foresight tools to topics such as health and energy security. The course has a strong emphasis on the application of foresight to inform strategies, policies, and priorities. Coordinated lectures and practical work will enable participants to experience the relevance and the realities of foresight activity.

Participants will learn how to recognise and interpret possible future changes involving, in particular, social, technological, and environmental changes and their interdependencies. The course is aimed at people whose work is liable to affect the future of business, government or Non-Governmental Organisations. For instance, they may work, or expect to work, as: sponsors of foresight projects foresight practitioners entrepreneurs senior managers company directors.

The Institute's unique position in foresight activity has resulted in wide international participation in the course in previous years. This includes people from: Canada, the Caribbean, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Latin America, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the Russian Federation, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, the UK and many other countries. The course is residential and is held in our facilities in Manchester. (When necessary, we can extend its reach to participants in other parts of the world by video-streaming the course sessions over the Internet and by providing electronic teaching resources.)

The course draws upon MIoIR's extensive experience of organising, consulting, researching and teaching/training in foresight activities across Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle and Far East. We have provided direct assistance to more than a dozen countries' national Foresight exercises, and have longstanding co-operation with the EC and UNIDO.

Structure and content

The course runs over five days. A provisional outline is presented below:

Day 1 - The Mission: how the course is structured to enable participants to influence the future roles their organisations play locally, nationally and globally. the role of foresight in and for a changing world and uncertain future. the origins and various forms taking by foresight in practice, and the resources that are available for practitioners and users. the necessary steps for design and management of foresight exercises of various types.

Day 2 - Model building: how any foresight is dependent on models of one sort or another (not necessarily quantified or simulation approaches). bringing implicit models to the fore, visualising and sharing them. using models to forecast and explore alternatives.

Day 3 - Horizon-scanning: what sorts of information and data do we need to use? How can we organise and structure “raw” intelligence to examine trends, disruptive developments, wild cards, and other features of the future?

Days 4 and 5 - Scenarios: scenarios as mental models varieties of scenario, scenario analysis, and scenario application. how to go about scenario building? how to use scenarios in shaping the future of an organisation?

Teaching staff

Course directors

  • Ian Miles (DSSc), Professor of Technology and Social Change and Director of MIoIR
  • Ozcan Saritas (PhD), Research Fellow at MIoIR, leader of several projects on horizon-scanning (including studies underway for Rockefeller Foundation and INFO); editor of foresight
  • Rafael Popper (PhD researcher) - Director of the foresight and horizon scanning iKNOW project (examining Wild Cards and Weak Signals) and leader of the European Foresight Platform (EFP) Mapping and Evaluation activities. 

Other teaching staff from the MIoIR Foresight team are expected to include:

  • Dr Jonathan Aylen (MIoIR Director)
  • Prof Luke Georghiou - Vice President for Research and Innovation of the University of Manchester and Professor of Science and Technology Policy and Management (MIoIR)
  • Prof Denis Loveridge

There will also be several external speakers with distinctive foresight experience, together with use of expertise from other foresight-active groups in the University of Manchester. MIoIR and PREST PREST became part of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR), at the time of the merger between UMIST and the University of Manchester in October 2004. MIoIR is part of the Manchester Business School.

PREST's long involvement in the foresight field, particularly since the early 1990s, forms an integral part of MIoIR activities, and many of our research projects have a foresight component – in addition to those that are primarily oriented to foresight or foresight methodology.

Course fee

The full residential fee is £1,950 per person fee includes all the course material, accommodation for five nights (June 27 to July 1) and all meals. (Telephone calls, newspapers and drinks at the bar are excluded, though internet access will be available free of charge.).

Non-residential fees can be negotiated on application. Applications are transferable to another individual at any time. Otherwise the cancellation charges will apply as set out below.

Cancellation charges

Cancelled course applications will incur the following charges: 21 or more days before the start of the course: NIL 14-20 days before the start of the course: 50% 1-13 days before the start of the course: 90% course start date or later: 100%

Course size

The course is deliberately run on a small scale, to maximise scope for interaction. The maximum size is usually not much more than 20 participants. Please note; we reserve the right to postpone or cancel the course if fewer than six people have confirmed applications three weeks before the course is scheduled to take place. In the event of the organizer cancelling the course, full refunds will be made to confirmed participants.

Course changes

We constantly seek to update and improve the scope and quality of our training. We therefore reserve the right to modify the course content without notice.

Joining instructions

Full instructions, including a course timetable and local maps, are sent to participants about three weeks before the start of the course.

Data protection

All personal data will be treated in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and will only be used in connection with an individuals’ participation in the course.


To be placed on our mailing list to receive information about the next session, or for further information, please contact:

Mrs Lisa Gledhill - email: Lisa.Gledhill@manchester.ac.uk

PA to Professor Luke Georghiou

Foresight Course Administrator

Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

MBS Harold Hankins Building

Manchester Business School

The University of Manchester

Oxford Road Manchester,

M13 9PL

Tel: +44 161 275 5921

Fax: +44 161 275 0923

Manchester Institute of Innovation Research
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