A Scientific-Technological Forecast - Approaching the 21st Century. Stage 2, Final Report

Cite As:
Cohen David, Shalev Ilana. A Scientific-Technological Forecast - Approaching the 21st Century. Stage 2, Final Report Haifa Israel: Samuel Neaman Institute, 2001. https://www.neaman.org.il/EN/Scientific-Technological-Forecast-Approaching-21st-Century-Stage2-Final-Report
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The present report summarizes the data from the second cycle of the "Delphi" survey, initiated by the Ministry of Science during the 1999-2000 work years. This follows the interim report published in October 1999 and included the results of the first cycle.

The "Delphi" method is today one of the accepted tools in the developed countries for assisting in the formulation process of long range science policy. Crystallizing a science and technology policy on a national level is a very important task which must be based on an analysis of development trends in the different areas over time, on understanding the different economic and social advantages in different fields and finding the constraints holding up the realization of various potential developments. Collaboration of the scientific-technological community in this process is important for its success and may help in assimilating the selected policy and operating it in practice.

In the "Delphi" method experts of the first rank participate in a process, directly or indirectly, of crystallizing responses to these questions. The method seeks to achieve a maximal consensus among a group of experts in a specific area by repeated circulating (cycles) of questionnaires while allowing the experts to update their answers from cycle to cycle. The process provides the participants with anonymity and prevents dominance of part of the participants, as will occasionally happen in face to face discussions.

The present survey included a wide range of subjects in 12 scientific/technological areas that were recognized as being crucial for Israel in the long run. They were mostly based on a questionnaire in a similar survey held in Japan in 1997 with additional subjects recommended by the Ministry of Science and a steering committee that guided the research in Israel. Areas included in the survey are:

1. Information

2. Communications

3. Resources and energy

4. Medicine and health

5. Life sciences

6. Agriculture

7. Materials

8. Electronics

9. Production

10. Environmental quality

11. building and urbanization

12. transportation

In the first cycle a separate questionnaire was constructed for each area which included dozens of subjects – all in all 962 subjects, with every subject describing future technological-scientific development of importance in the range of the next 25-30 years. For the second cycle 25 leading subjects were chosen in each area, based on the findings of the first cycle, and a shortened questionnaire was prepared accordingly. Results of the first cycle were published in an interim report in October 1999.

The second cycle was intended to substantiate and verify the findings of the first cycle in regard to a selected group of subjects and to arrive at a maximal consensus among those who answered. By refilling the questionnaire (the shortened version), in which the results of the first cycle for each subject in every area appeared, the experts were asked to express their opinion on the following topics:

a. The year in which the subject is expected to materialize.

b. Extent of importance of the subject in relation to other subjects.

c. Israel's relative advantage in materializing the subject (this topic was included in the first cycle only).

d. The chances for commercially realizing the examined subject in Israel.

e. Extent of influence of subject materialization on the quality of life.

f. Main constraints holding up the subject's materialization in Israel (this topic was included in the first cycle only).

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