PREDICT‘s research developed in a series of subsequent steps, each reflected in an interim report.
Since the goal of foresight is not to provide an exact projection or prediction of the future, but rather to assess the implications of multiple possible futures, a well-defined methodology is of paramount importance. The First Interim Report thus provided a thorough description of forecasting methods that allowed the research team to take objectives as inputs and use them to map possible futures in a directly relevant context.
The Second Interim Report then provided an informed and detailed overview of key demographic trends all the way to 2035. The objective of the report was to identify dimensions that best account for changes in demography, the projections built upon them and the degree of consensus existing around expectations for the future. The main dimensions investigated are population growth, fertility, population composition, life expectancy and mortality, urbanization and international migration. The report not only included relevant data on the selected dimension, but it also attempted a first identification of possible relations between demographic trends and other variables in the economy, energy, environment, technology, health and political domains (other themes of SFA).
As demographic changes do not occur in a vacuum, but instead are often affected by changes in other dimensions, the Third Interim Report was developed with twofold aim. On the one hand, it presented the main trends in economics, energy, the environment, health, technology, and politics (projected for 2035), providing specific reference to regions and countries. On the other hand, the report elaborated on how variables in other domains (and their likely trends) may affect demographic dimensions (and their trends) over the next two decades. According to the report, unequivocal directions of change are difficult to identify, as patterns differ across dimensions as well as among different areas.
Building on the main trends identified in Reports Two and Three, a foresight workshop was held in Warwick in June 2014. During the event, the aim of each working group was to identify drivers of change and ultimately socio-political scenarios (with particular attention given to the demographic landscape) for the target region as of 2035. The Fourth Interim Report provides a summary of the main trends for each region, of the critical issues identified during the workshop and of the scenarios that emerged from each working group.