Decisionmakers often face strategic choices, the outcomes of which remain uncertain for the coming decades. The success of these decisions depends on a variety of factors, many of them beyond the control of the decisionmakers. RAND has been instrumental in developing and applying futures methodologies as tools to support decisionmaking under such conditions of high uncertainty.
Throughout its history, RAND Europe has carried out strategic analysis for many UK and European institutions. We have assessed the future impacts of actions over a wide range of policy areas, from science and technology to social cohesion. By drawing on RAND's tradition of considering the future through new lenses, we offer innovative, tailored approaches based on qualitative and quantitative methodologies, including scenario thinking, modelling and forecasting, gaming, roadmapping and Delphi. In doing so, RAND Europe works closely with its clients, facilitates workshops with participants from many different backgrounds, and communicates research results in engaging and concise ways.
Additionally, RAND Europe draws on the expertise of the RAND Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. RAND researchers from this programme have been developing and testing novel approaches that aim to address some of the shortcomings of current scenario practice.
RAND Europe also holds a framework contract with the Horizon Scanning Centre at the UK Office of Science and Technology. As part of this relation, RAND provides strategic futures analysis through a range of methods to UK government departments facing future challenges.
The Internet of Things has the potential to fundamentally change the future, as billions of objects around us will be connected to make our lives easier. The European Commission asked RAND Europe to help it devise a policy based on the current state of play and probable developments, from a technological, economic and policy point of view.
To prepare decision makers for the political and economic environment facing the EU over the next 20 years, the European Commission, Parliament and Council established the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System. The Bureau of European Policy Advisers has asked RAND Europe to assess the evidence base underpinning future societal trends, ranging from the growth of a global middle class to the role of new media in democratization, and their likely impacts on the European policy landscape until 2030.
Reviewing and Refreshing the Sigma Scan
RAND Europe has reviewed the 271 papers in the Sigma Scan and is refreshing 60 of them. The Sigma Scan is a set of brief papers that explore potential future issues and trends over the next 50 years that may have an impact on UK public policy. The papers use a wide analytical and multidisciplinary lens to consider the variety of implications and possible impacts of policy decisions made today. More than 30 experts have been involved in this study, covering a broad range of disciplinary and methodological expertise.
As a method for awarding research funding, peer review suffers from many drawbacks and yet is by far the most commonly used method to make funding decisions. RAND Europe revised and updated its pack of Alternatives to Peer Review to inspire funders to practise and test alternative methods for picking research winners.
RAND Europe provided the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy with a rapid assessment of the innovation and competitiveness impacts of the EU's proposed General Data Protection Regulation affecting: automated processing; control of data processing; and data transfers. The briefing considers a variety of perspectives—profiling; big data; cloud computing; and privacy-friendly technologies—and identifies a variety of impacts and areas for improvement.
This report reviews the technology trends underlying the future Internet Society. It assesses the possible future socio-economic impacts of a connected world; as well as the changing business models that are likely to emerge in the next 5 to 10 years. The ultimate objective of the study is to make future policy recommendations for the successor programme to the current ICT strategy of the European Commission. Possible future impacts were analysed through trend analysis, surveys, scenario based workshops and econometric modelling.
Policymakers will face many issues and dilemmas as the Internet economy develops; this study analyses several of these in relation to the changing policy context in which the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs operates, and also looks at the impact of the Internet economy on the government and the public at large.
RAND Europe developed a set of alternative scenarios describing possible future outcomes for Europe as part of a study to inform the future strategic planning of DG SANCO. This involved a series of wide-ranging workshops, with experts and civil servants that considered specific developments that may affect the future policy environment of DG SANCO.
The Network Evolution Scenarios study provides an analysis of the development of electronic networks in Europe and North America and its technical, economic and political drivers. It includes four scenarios depicting possible futures of electronic networks in Europe, a framework for policy formulation, analyses of selected current policies and observations regarding possible policy measures and the input of experts and stakeholders in the field during a workshop in Brussels, and concludes with a series of observations and recommendations for policy action and further research.