FORTH was awarded the UNESCO Chair on Futures Research, in February 2019. Acknowledging the importance of long-term thinking and strategizing, FORTH is the first institution in Greece to invest in the establishment of a research structure focusing exclusively on Futures Studies and Foresight. The activities of the UNESCO Chair are managed by the ‘Foresight and Tools Unit’ of Praxi Network – the technology transfer office of FORTH.
The granting of a UNESCO Chair provides access to a global network of universities and research institutions, focusing on Foresight and Futures Literacy. UNESCO Chairs serve as intermediaries connecting research with community’s needs for the design of policies having a positive social impact. The UNESCO Chair on Futures Research aspires to evolve into a regional pole of excellence, with a view to filling the Foresight expertise gap observed at a national and regional level.
Through a series of targeted activities, the Research Chair seeks:
The activities of the UNESCO Chair are also expected to contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals, the enhancement of resilience and change management strategies, and the design of future-proof policies.
The unit offers services ranging from the design and implementation of foresight projects & processes to tailored-made workshops for capacity building in Foresight tools and methods. Within the framework of its operation, integrated Foresight services are provided, which – among others- include Horizon Scanning (Trends and Weak Signals), Scenario Planning, Training Seminars, and Experiential Workshops (Future Labs).
The Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH) was established in 1983, and is one of the largest Research Centers in Greece ranking in the top place in Greece between the Research institutions, and in place 55 in Europe and 142 globally (among 7953 research institutes) , according to the Ranking Web of Research Centers. Currently, FORTH is on the top 20 list (15th) of all European Research Institutions, in terms of its involvement (participation) in Horizon 2020 activities. FORTH is an independent public body supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Hellenic Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs and consists of seven Research Institutes located throughout Greece: Heraklion, Rethymnon, Patras, and Ioannina. The Foundation’s headquarters are located in Heraklion, Crete. FORTH’s activities are complemented by Crete University Press (CUP), the Skinakas Observatory, the Science and Technology Park of Crete (STEP-C) and PRAXI Network.
The PRAXI Network unit was established in 1991. It has offices in Heraklion, Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, and Volos. Its activities are spread over the whole innovation chain, including support for commercialization of research, innovation policy, and foresight, hosting the UNESCO Chair on Futures Research.