Forecasting is not about predicting the future. It is based on the idea that the future is not yet written. The aim is to come up with possible futures based on mega-trends and weak signs to clarify current decisions in order to anticipate and be an active participant in the future rather than a bystander. This position of anticipation facilitates decision-making, even for unforeseen events.
By looking at a question about the future from various angles the forecasting process is also a good tool for mediating between scientific disciplines as well between various project participants.
Created on 1st July 2009, the Forecasting & Scientific and Technical Monitoring Department (DPV) is part of the scientific, technical and strategic promotion service at Irstea.
As a component of the Directorate General’s "research and innovation" centre, in addition to scientific and technical information (STI) - particularly observing, distributing and promoting scientific production (including monitoring scientific and technical production indicators) and managing access to STI resources and technologies - the department’s aim is to foster forecasting skills within Irstea, cooperating with dedicated research organisations working in the management of environments and resources, environmental protection and sustainable development and with government departments. This new aim corresponds to an implementation of the recommendations, made by AERES (French Evaluation Agency for Research and Higher Education) in its evaluation of Cemagref in 2008 and taken up in the "Cemagref 2020" strategic plan and the State-Cemagref 2009-2012 contract of objectives, to develop forecasting both for its own activities as well as to better fulfil its supporting role for public and private stakeholders.
The objective is therefore to create constant internal forecasting analysis capabilities and to reinforce their integration with external forecasting networks in France and in Europe. For this reason it is appropriate that, in addition to training activities, the group oversees general or sectorial forecasting work that enables it to identify and anticipate developments within the economic and social context and to coordinate Irstea participation in sectorial forecasting exercises.
The Forecasting & Scientific and Technical Monitoring Department relies primarily on the skills of the entire functional STI network and is organised into 4 groups: forecasting, scientific and strategic monitoring, scientific and technical production distribution, engineering and documentary resources. The DPV also leads the internal Forecasting network made up of Irstea scientists.
Scientific and technical information
Scientific and Technical Information (STI): a system that listens to researchers and engineers, supporting the organisation's strategy, led by a central service and 9 regional resource centres.
The STI portal