Foresight – what will we need in 2028?

According to some of those who enjoy trying to interpret the writings of Michel de Nostredame (better known by the Latin name of Nostradamus), the year 2028 could be significant for all sorts of reasons. Some say he predicted that the Third World War will begin (or end) that year, others that he expected the second coming of Jesus then, and others again that the world will end on that date. In fact, while many of those trying to interpret his work come up with very different predictions, the year 2028 appears in many of them as a critical date.

Well, it is a critical date for DCU, because for the past year or so we have been conducting a ‘Foresight’ exercise which is designed to suggest some possible scenarios for the world in 2028 which we might need to take account of in our strategic planning. We consulted a number of experts and ran a working group in which we involved some key people, both from inside DCU and from elsewhere. In the event the group concluded that there were several possible ways in which the world could develop by 2028 – in terms of politics and geo-political trends, in terms of technological progress and innovation, in terms of the environment, in terms of social trends, and so forth. We will be publishing the outcomes from this in November.

Of course none of us can see into the future. If we had asked a similar selection of people in 1988 to predict what the world would look like today, many of them would have got it quite wrong. But for all that, some of the decisions taken in DCU around that time relating to research and teaching priorities turned out to be well judged, and as a result DCU was able to make a very substantial contribution to Irish society over the past decade or so. We hope to be able to do that again in the years to 2028.

However, if you are reading this blog and have some views as to what 2028 might look like, and what the main concerns will be with which universities may be able to help, I would be very interested in hearing them. When we publish the outcomes of this exercise, I shall summarise them in this blog and link to the overall document, so you will be able to compare your predictions with what we came up with.

I don’t believe that the DCU group made much use of Nostradamus, however.

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