Drawing upon the presentations made at the fourth conference on Future-oriented Technology Analysis, this essay reflects on the implications of the current period of instability and discontinuity for the practice of FTA or foresight. In the past the demand environment for foresight on research and innovation policy favoured application to priority-setting and articulation of demand. New tendencies include a heightened search for breakthrough science and a focus on grand societal challenges. By their nature boundary-spanning, these make it less easy to locate FTA institutionally to achieve the necessary cross-cutting perspective. New institutions, methods and combinations of methods are noted. Dealing with disruptive transformations is seen as the key forward challenge for the practice of FTA. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
- Grand challenges