Models of Horizon Scanning – How to integrate Horizon Scanning in EU Research and Innovation Policy

A clear definition of Horizon Scanning (HS) and a better understanding of the methodologies are needed in order to explore and fully exploit the potential of HS for the European Commission and Member States. Fraunhofer ISI thus organized learning from existing experiences and transferring the knowledge into the Commission including learning from the Seventh Framework Programme and Horizon 2020. A model for an efficient and effective Horizon Scanning for the European Commission is described on the basis of the state-of-the-art discussions. The model was developed on the basis of analysing a number of studies from national Horizon Scanning Activities, company activities, cross-border activities including European Commission projects.

The questions addressed during the project are among others: 

  • Which types of expertise and skills are used in Horizon Scanning (HS)?
  • How is HS organised in relation to the policy-makers who may use its results (in-house versus external, central vs. decentralized; horizontal vs. thematic; institutionalised vs. specific to the project)?
  • What is the scope of the HS activities (in time as well as thematic content/ policy sector)?
  • Which type of information is scanned? What are the sources (e.g. in the organisation itself/in other organisations/(scientific) literature/media/ interviews (with whom?)/the internet/other)?
  • How is the approach of scanning carried out? What are the methods and tools that are used? How do they make use of human involvement and participation? Do they use expertise and/or lay input and how? What emphasis is placed on evidence-based and on creative activities?
  • How are the data filtered, analysed and how is the sense-making performed? Is there a link to sense-making or is the Horizon Scanning embedded into the process? 
  • How are the results presented and communicated? Are there specific categories of ”clients” for the different HS elements? Is this done with the help of editorial committees? If yes, how are they composed and are there different committees for distinct target groups?
  • What are the necessary resources? 
  • How is HS integrated into the overall foresight process and into the strategic planning process?

The resulting Policy Brief was prepared during a workshop in autumn 2015 with officers from the European Commission and external experts and foresight practitioners.




EU Commission