Promoting Diversity in Long Term Policy Development: The SMARTT Case of Norway

by Jan E. Karlsen & Erik F. Øverland


Through the description of significant challenges of Nordic educational and research policy with a particular focus upon the role of knowledge enhancement and innovation, this paper presents both a vision, a backcasting scenario approach and a political roadmap for future possible research and innovation policy at the Nordic level. Applying the methodology of Foresight we emphasize the cognitive and debating stages of developing a longer term vision and the framing of an aspirational scenario of a learning intensive society. Based on input from the Nordic higher education institution (HEI) policy experts, an image – acronymed SMARTT – for the next 15-20 years, encompassing Science, Mobility, Advancement, Research and Technology Transfer, is presented. The paper emphasizes the stages of the foresighting process, including both the development of mini-scenarios and backcasting, by analyzing the interplay between HEIs and their swiftly changing environments and futures. The concrete process steps are also related to the contemporary discourse on the relations between theories of path dependency, path breaking and path creation.

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