Fast Company

Tech Research Priorities

My theme this week seems to have become the search for meaning in obscure reports. Can't be worse than tea-leaves. A survey of front-line researchers in 25 European countries reveals surprising devations from tech orthodoxy. The so-called Fistera Delphi (it's a system for averaging the results of an opinon survey) asked experts to prioritise research priorities for 2010 and beyond. The study looked at the social dimension of what is optimistically described in Europe as the "Information Society". In the survey, domains such as leisure and recreation, ageing, and security, scored much less well than the report's editors seem to have anticipated. This led them to comment, rather plaintively I thought, that "this result is rather surprising given the huge markets that exist around these areas". I find it most reassuring that so many researchers seem unimpressed by the corporate push in these domains. Even more encouraging: "improving IPR protection" was voted least important among all the opportunities for innovation.

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