What’s on the horizon?
We select topics to examine through our horizon scanning programme, which aims to identify developments relevant to biological and medical research.
We carry out our horizon scanning programme by engaging with a wide range of organisations and individuals, and by monitoring literature and news, across a wide geographical area and different fields of interest and expertise. The Council’s Horizon Scanning Advisory Group oversees the programme.
Initiating a new activity
We choose to carry out work on topics where a response from the Council is anticipated to be timely, distinctive and helpful in terms of informing policy and public discussion.
We may choose to explore some topics in a short time frame by, for example, organising a workshop or developing a briefing note.
Some topics will go on to be explored in an in-depth project. These projects usually take 18-24 months to complete and result in a detailed report with policy recommendations.
For a topic to be selected for an in-depth project, it should meet the following criteria:
- Does the topic come within the broad sphere of research in the medical or biological sciences, align with the Council’s strategic plan, and fit within a balanced portfolio of work?
- Is the topic ‘new’ or are there any new reasons for looking at it?
- Is the topic timely?
- Does it raise significant ethical questions?
- Does it have significant policy relevance and/or will it anticipate or respond to public concern?
- Can the Council make a distinctive contribution?
Once topics are chosen by the Council, they are then passed along to the Governing Board to make sure they fall within the Council’s terms of reference.
Have your say
If you would like to suggest a topic for us to consider as part of our future work list, we would like to hear from you.