Ten technologies which could change our lives

3D printer

One of Staffordshire University’s 3D printers presented by Graham Preece, Technical Team Leader

A ‘technological society’; this is the term most of us would choose to describe ourselves in the 21st Century. We use a multitude of devices every day to coordinate our activities and communications at home and in the workplace. Ten technologies which could change our lives, Potential impacts and Policy implications was published last January by the Scientific Foresight (STOA) Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS).

This report investigates ten scientific and technological trends: Autonomous Vehicles, Graphene, 3D printing, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Virtual currencies (Bitcoin), Wearable technologies, Drones, Aquaponic systems, Smart home technologies and Electricity storage (hydrogen). A summary of each trend is provided followed by an overview of both the ‘expected’ and ‘unexpected’ impacts associated with the trend.

To help Europe to grasp leadership early on in new and emerging technology areas, the European Commission has allocated a provisional budget of 2 696 million euro (239.26 million Euros in 2015) to Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) actions, under Horizon 2020. In order to succeed in this mission, FET focusses on research beyond what is known, accepted or widely adopted.


Have your say on Future and Emerging Technologies!


Consultation closes: 15/06/2014
The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme launches a public consultation to identify promising and potentially game-changing directions for future research in any technological domain.

€2,7 billion will be invested in Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) under the new research programme Horizon 2020#H2020 (2014-2020). This represents a nearly threefold increase in budget compared to the previous research programme, FP7. FET actions are part of the Excellent science pillar of Horizon 2020.

The objective of FET is to foster radical new technologies by exploring novel and high-risk ideas building on scientific foundations. By providing flexible support to goal-oriented and interdisciplinary collaborative research, and by adopting innovative research practices, FET research seizes the opportunities that will deliver long-term benefit for our society and economy.

The aim of the public consultation is to identify promising and potentially game-changing directions for future research in any technological domain.

Vice-President of the European Commission @NeelieKroesEU, responsible for the Digital Agenda, said: “From protecting the environment to curing disease – the choices and investments we make today will make a difference to the jobs and lives we enjoy tomorrow. Researchers and entrepreneurs, innovators, creators or interested bystanders – whoever you are, I hope you will take this opportunity to take part in determining Europe’s future“.

The consultation is organised as a series of discussions, in which contributors can suggest ideas for a new FET Proactive initiative or discuss the 9 research topics identified in the previous consultation to determine whether they are still relevant today.

The ideas collected via the public consultation will contribute to future FET work programmes, notably the next one (2016-17). This participative process has already been used to draft the current work programme (2014-15).

Participate now in the consultation