Foresight PhD Research

Foresight Doctoral Dissertations & Master's Theses 
- Global List 

Below is our emerging list of all ongoing and completed doctoral dissertations in primary foresight that we have been able to gather information on to date.  Entries are listed alpha by foresight researchers last name, and grouped per decade by actual or estimated publication date. Please keep abstract dissertation to a maximum of eight lines, thank you.

As valuable foresight-focused work is also undertaken at Masters level, e.g. Masters by Research these have also recently been included in the listing and marked as "Masters Research".

If you have undertaken foresight research, or are doing so currently, you may contact Barbara Bok who is our Director of Foresight PhD Research, or Karen Arvidsson, Director Academic Programs, so your work can be listed and shared. Alternatively you can ask for access to the wiki by emailing the wiki moderators, susanchesleyfant{at}gmail{dot}com or johnsmart{at}accelerating{dot}org, and add the details in the format below.


Abstract: This project will contribute to international strategy and decision-making research by developing a scenario-based framework for forward-looking, adaptive strategic decision-making under high uncertainty. Previous research in decision-making models often fails to account for changes in driving trends and key uncertainties that traverse multiple levels – and their potential interactions. This project will improve our scientific understanding of the dynamics behind complex strategic investment decisions under high uncertainty. It will combine theories from finance, organizational behavior, leadership, economics and strategy. Its multi-disciplinary nature will further our knowledge of how integration of diverse factors across multiple levels can help develop new theories and practices in relation to strategic decision-making in face of highly uncertain and changing environments.
Institution & Location: Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: August 2011 - July 2014
Funding: Novozymes; Danish Ministry of Research, Technology and Development

Billing, Michael

IEV PhD Theses & Master Series Vol 7. 
Title: The Impact of Climate Change on Winter Tourism in the Austrian Alps, an estimate of the expected development for the period 2041-2050.
Abstract:  So far there are few publications that deal explicitly with the spatial and regional impacts of climate change on the classic winter tourism in Austria. This gap is to close the present work. The estimation is done under the assumption of ceteris paribus conditions and using a spatial error model. Yet, the number of frost days, the number of beds and the amount of snow can be used as independent, explanatory variables and the winter nights as the dependent variable. The climate-related data derived from climate simulations of the Austrian Institute of Technology (reclip: more project). The necessary spatial weight matrix in the present work is based on the k-nearest-neighbor approach and is calculated using a local-distance matrix. The basic data for quantifying the relationships describing the years 1981 to 1990. Based on the climate scenario results for the years 2041-2050 was - finally calculated the development potential winter overnight stays - under ceteris paribus conditions. The results show that have concerns in particular the winter sports community between 800m and 1500m above sea level, the largest declines. Depending on the amount of the decrease is between 8.5% and 68.1% over the period 1981-1990.
          Institute & Location:  Austrian Institute of Technology

Abstract: International relations scholars increasingly use ‘strategic culture’ as a construct to explain how political leaders and security communities make strategic decisions and preferences. However, there are multiple definitions and the term is used inconsistently from several different stances. This project examines why this confusion exists and how strategic culture is used in the subfield of counterterrorism studies to understand terrorist individuals and organisations, and reflexively, analysts and the policies that they develop. Two key confusions exist: (1) scholars use ‘strategic culture’ inconsistently, and (2) counterterrorism studies lacks coherence, rigour and accreditation mechanisms (Stampnitzky 2008). These concerns recapitulate a similar disciplinary debate during and after the Cold War about the status of strategic studies, and its coherence, growth and survival as a sub-field of international security (Bull 1968; Betts 1997; Buzan and Hansen 2009).
Institution & Location: Monash University, Melbourne Australia.
Duration: 2010+

Chou,  Ya-Ling 
Masters Research Title:  The Changing Social Meaning of Pets and Their Alternative Futures
Abstract:  The purpose of this study is to bring people’s attention to this area, to quit ignoring animal studies, and challenge what people (especially pets owners) think about pets. I hope by knowing the changing meanings of pets to realize pets’ relationships with human beings, and then by applying the methodology of future studies to create alternative futures for pets. Looking at the alternatives futures of pets not only can widen people’s worldview but further create understanding and develop their desirable futures. Overall, my purposes of study are as follows:
1. Exploring the meaning of “pets” to humankind
2. By applying future thinking to approach and challenge what people think of pets and their futures
3. Using the methodology of futures studies to explore the alternative futures of pet
Institution and Location:  Tamkang University, Graduate Institute of Futures Studies, Taiwan.
Duration:  completed 2010

Kam Tong FAN, Gilbert
Abstract: This study investigated the level of alliance of social workers in Singapore with their professional association, the Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW). Currently, there is a lack of studies exploring, in some depth, membership issues amongst professional social work associations and their probable future. This study utilised a futures methodology framework, namely the „Causal Layered Analysis‟ (CLA) as its main research tools. The main objective was to suggest strategies that would strengthen the current level of alliance between social workers and SASW, resolve some pertinent professional issues, and develop a new future for the Association.
Institution and Location: CQUniversity, Australia
Completed:  2010

Fergnani, Alessandro
Abstract: This thesis analyses the psychological reasons behind capitalistic practices, it uncovers the mechanisms through which capitalism has contributed to satisfy hardwired human instincts of selfishness, and explains capitalism’s emergence and subsequent legitimization in the global worldview from a psychological standpoint. In view of this analysis, it argues that capitalism is a social instrument with the function of satisfying hardwired psychological requirements through economic activity, and that the psychological attachment to capitalism should be taken into consideration in thinking of its possible futures, as a global ideological conflict is emerging between the psychological attachment to capitalism and current trends pointing towards its dissolution. To analyze the possible ways this conflict might develop in the future, this thesis puts forward four exploratory qualitative scenarios of the future of capitalism using Jim Dator’s scenarios archetypes. In each scenario, the ideological conflict between the psychological attachment to capitalism and the prospect of its dissolution will be manifested in different extents and have different outcomes. A preferable scenario (Transformation) is then identified for its lower level of ideological conflict. In the preferable scenario, thanks to scientific knowledge on the way human nature responds to nudges and incentives, public policy specialists will activate human tendency for respect and reciprocity, and a shift in human understanding towards new economic values will be enacted. Preliminary policy guidelines to achieve this scenario are finally discussed.
Institution & LocationGraduate Institute of Futures Studies, Tamkang University, Taipei, Taiwan, 
Completed: June 2017

Head, Sabina
AbstractThis study investigates the teaching of a Drama unit with the purpose of developing Futures Studies literacy in Year 12 students, who researched probable issues of the future. The students wrote and performed plays set in a chosen future, as examples of the hybrid genre of Forward Theatre, a theatre of the near future. I argue that the combination of the two fields has potential in terms of education in Futures Studies through the use of Drama as an exploratory tool and an expressive medium, when used for investigating futures issues and sharing futures concepts and topics. Furthermore, the potential of learning in and through Drama can be given range and depth by the inclusion of futures as a unit topic.
Institution & LocationSchool of Education, The University of Queensland, Australia, 
Completed: April 2010

Hines, Andy
Abstract: The difficulties in integrating foresight into organizations suggest an opportunity for exploring a new organizational futurist role. Contributions to knowledge include: (1) The development of the Integration framework maps the process and roles involved in foresight integration (2) Making a case that the organizational futurist addopts a social constructionist perspective to guide the process of foresight integration (3) Making a case that the development of the foresight field toward professionalization could be an important influence for aiding the organizational futurist role (4) The development of an Outcomes framework provides a useful mechanism for the organizational futurist to stimulate a dialogue and discourse about successful outcomes for the integration of foresight (5) Making a case that the organizational futurist adopts a discursive approach to institutionalization that builds from the periphery to the core of the organization.
Institution & Location: Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK
Duration: October 2010-December 2012

Transforming Global Governance: Contesting Images of the Future from People on the Edge of the Periphery
AbstractThis thesis aims to bring unconventional perspectives to the global governance debates by developing multiple images of futures from contesting worldviews.  Informed by futures research and the perspectives and stories of nations and peoples currently unrepresented in global decision-making forums such as the United Nations General Assembly, the thesis maps global governance philosophies, systems and structures, agencies, and their underlying worldviews and myths to produce possible futures for each of six actor groups contesting the current global governance system.  The criteria used to construct these possible futures are then used to construct a model and story for the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (U.N.P.O.) using their materials, collected at their 2010 General Assembly, as content. The model and story represent the preferred global governance future for U.N.P.O. evoking an image of ‘One World’. The thesis in its entirety provides U.N.P.O. with the means to develop a positioning statement on global governance futures and to join the growing international conversation on this topic. 
Completed: 2012

Ramos, Jose Maria 
Abstract: In this thesis I examine two simultaneous formations, interlinked, which constitute a grassroots yet global response to planetary crisis: the World Social Forum Process (WSF(P)) and the development of an Alternative Globalisation Movement (AGM). Together they constitute both a discourse of discourses’, from the academy and many other sources of knowledge, as well as a grassroots to institutional ‘movement of movements’ response.
Institution and Location: Humanities Program, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
Duration: - 2010

The purpose of this research is to construct an ideal set of key competencies for the future of elementary school pupils. 
Institution and Location: Tamkang University, Taiwan. 
Completed: 2012

Zwaga, Hans

Title:  Generic Futurists' Competency Profile, a Quintuple Helix Approach (working title) (web link: under construction).
The thesis is an article thesis in contrast to a monographic thesis
Abstract: The thesis investigates the possibility to construct a generic competency profile or key competency profile for Futures Studies. As the construction of such a profile is depended on the dialogue and agreement of several key stakeholder groups a multiple stakeholder approach will be developed. Furthermore, in "a flattening world" the demand for competent futurists is growing worldwide. To educate flexible, mobile and multi-employable futurists a common understanding and
agreement on a generic profile have to be reached. Such an agreement should be irrespective function, position and or even part of the world.
Institution and location: University of Lapland, Rovaniemi Finland
Duration: (start: 01.09.2012, end, estimated:  20.12.2015)


Anthony, Marcus
Abstract:  Is the human mind and its innate intelligence confined to the brain, as mainstream contemporary mind science tends to assume? What if it is not? Where might that take intelligence theory and education in the years to come and why are such questions largely absent from mainstream discourses on consciousness, intelligence and education? This thesis addresses these questions. A poststructuralist approach employing Inayatullah’s (2002a) Causal Layered Analysis has been used to unpack the development of Western epistemology and the mainstream discourses mentioned above.
Institution and Location:  University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia/
Duration: completed 2006.

Bussey, Marcus 
Abstract:  This thesis explores the role of critical agency in educational futures. Rather than approach this question via social theory or philosophy, a futures lens is developed that involves three broad strands. Firstly, a form of futures thinking is presented that is characterized, following Ashis Nandy’s works, as shamanic. Secondly, critical agency is explored in the work of ten theorists who represent a range of possible understandings of agency that move along a continuum that includes
Marxist critical theory, poststructural deconstruction and normative accounts of critical agency drawing on the Christian, Vedantic and Tantric traditions. Thirdly, Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) is developed through a dialogue with the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari whose concept of the rhizome provides the conceptual tool to better understand its potential, not just as a method, but also as a process theory working the interface of agency and structure.
Institution and LocationFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Duration: completed 2008.

Daffara,  Phillip
Abstract:  There is a gap between contemporary urban planning theory and practice. Not only does this schism exist within the urban planning and design field, but also in regard to the social purpose and cultural meaning of the city. This problem persists in an era of increasing global urbanisation where, for the first time in human history, the majority of people will live in cities. The purpose of this research is to recover the key urban question from the milieu of urban literature and discourse, namely, what is the purpose of the city and its cultural meaning in the 21st century? New solutions require new thinking. To
answer the above question the current research methodology formulates a futuresorientated, holistic teleology for the city. This teleology integrates multiple levels of reality to bridge the schism between revolutionary urban theory and practice. Consequently, both contemporary urban theory and practice of creating better city futures is examined, challenged, and re-formulated to provide greater clarity of purpose and social action when resolving current and emerging urban challenges.
Institution and Location:  University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC Queensland, Australia.
Duration: completed 2006.

Gidley, Jennifer M.

TitleEvolving education: a postformal-integral-planetary gaze at the evolutionof consciousness and the educational imperatives.

Abstract: This conceptual dissertation is both a study of, and an enactment of, the evolution of consciousness for the purpose of evolving education. The research draws attention to and situates itself within four complex, interlinked challenges: the current planetary crisis; the epistemological crisis underpinning it; the global youth problematique; and the inadequacy of the modernist, formal education model to meet these challenges. The research aims to identify and elucidate a new movement of consciousness through integrating and cohering literature on postformal, integral and planetary consciousness in conversation with literature from a variety of postformal pedagogies. It does so through what I refer to as postformal research, which I distinguish from formal research in numerous ways... Chapter One identifies features of the youth problematique and the broad cultural pedagogical context surrounding it, through a layered analysis of causal factors. Chapter Two provides a macrohistorical context for understanding the relationships among education, evolution of consciousness and culture. Chapter Three undertakes a broadening and deepening of the evolution of consciousness discourse through ... an integral hermeneutic analysis of the evolutionary writings of Rudolf Steiner and Ken Wilber in the light of Jean Gebser's structures of consciousness... Chapter Four draws out significant features of the new consciousness and distils new understandings of evolution in a form suitable for engaging the current education discourse. Chapter Five contributes significant new perspectives to educational philosophy. 

Institution & Location:  School of Education, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW

Completed: 2008

Awards: Chancellor's Gold Medal 2010.

Gould, Steven M.
Masters Research Title:  Creating Alternative Community Futures: A community futures tragedy
Abstract:  The central intent of enquiry in this thesis is “Can local governments empower their communities with the opportunity and capacity to create alternative futures?”. Local governments in their role of managing issues and planning for the future have more recently embraced the concepts of community engagement and sustainable development. Local government planning and foresight aims to move power back to citizens and local bureaucracies. Consequently, this has given rise to a litany of emergent issues and concerns in some elected representatives as to the value of community engagement, planning and foresight practices for local bureaucracies. Furthermore, from a critical perspective, some local government efforts
with foresight are seen as creating the one and only ‘official version’ of a community’s future rather than considering alternative views expressed by their communities. The question then becomes “who is advantaged and/or disadvantaged by such official
versions of the future?”.
Institution and Location:  University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Completion: 2008.

Kelly, Patricia
Abstract:  How do we help students integrate their tertiary education with their development as "wise" global citizens and professionals? The study engages with this question through exploring the use of Reflective Journals as a central and integrated strategy for learning and assessment for a socially and culturally diverse group of students in a large, compulsory, first-year, one-semester Engineering unit between 2000 - 2004.
Institution and location:  Service Leadership & Innovation Research Program, Faculty of Business, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
Duration: 2000-2004,

Lin, José Augusto Polo 
The main purpose of this research is to influence governmental policy, corporate and civil society leaders in Panama to explore different types of alternative futures using the futures thinking approach to challenge the current economic development paradigm and move towards systematic development. In this research systematic development consists of economic, human and sustainable development. Futures studies methodologies such as Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) are introduced in this study as a poststructural framework capable of opening divergent of alternative futures for Panama. The CLA analysis
concluded that Panama’s cultural issues, and the effects of the worldviews of the economic development concept have a direct impact in Panama’s achievement of systematic development. After this CLA analysis, the double variable scenario with a CLA incastingmethod was applied to create alternative futures. The first alternative future was Panama rises, the second one was Panama’s decline, the third one was Panama old and the fourth one was Panama’s new culture. A CLA incasting in each scenario provided a better understanding of the deep stories behind each alternative future Panama could face in a future.
Institution and Location: Graduate Institute of Futures Studies, Tamkang University, Taiwan.
Completion:  2008

Saritas, Ozcan  (
         Title: Systems Thinking in Foresight
          Abstract:  Entitled as  the thesis analysed current institutional Foresight practice, detected its shortcomings with a
          systemic view proposed the “Systemic Foresight Methodology - SFM”. Systemic Foresight has been tested in two university
          departments with the action research methodology. The SFM has also been applied at various Regional Foresight exercises 
          in Europe on the IT, Logistics and Automotive sectors.
          Institution & Location: Manchester Business School, PREST Research Centre
          Duration: 2002 - 2006

Teske, Kathleen M.
Masters Research Title: Plausible Futures for the Queensland Public Service:  Exploring the changing nature of Government bureaucracies and generational change. Submitted for Master of Arts (by Research) 
Abstract:  Queensland Government bureaucracies are being forced to change due to several major social, economic, environmental, technological and political influences. These include changes brought about by an ageing population, globalisation and generational change, and diversity within perceptions of the time and space in which we live as Queenslanders. The chaos and complexity of the changes required to meet society’s needs for the public sector of the future, working within historical structures and characteristics of government bureaucracies, and the resultant contradictions within everyday working life for public servants, have been identified as the source of a sense of anxiety, currently evident in the Queensland Public Service.
Institution & Location: Arts Faculty, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Completion:  2006.

Wheelwright, Verne  
Abstract:  Since the middle of the twentieth century, methods have been developed to help business and governmental organizations anticipate possible futures. Although the methods of the discipline of Foresight and Futures Studies are recognized and accepted around the world, the concepts and practice have not been applied to individual lives in any appreciable numbers. The complexity of the futuring process appears to be the primary barrier to applying futures method to individual lives. This research seeks first to reduce the complexity barrier by identifying foreknowns in human life, the elements of life that can be reasonably anticipated. These foreknowns, when combined, form a framework of information from which an individual can explore and prepare for the future using recognized futures methods such as scenario development and strategic planning.
Institution & Location: Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK
Duration: 2001 to 2006
Abstract:  How does the image of the future operate upon history, and upon national and individual identities? To what extent are possible futures colonized by the image?  What are the un-said futurecratic discourses that underlie the image of the future? Such questions inspired the examination of Japan's futures images in this thesis.
Institute and Location:  The Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
Duration:  completed 2010.


Gidley, Jennifer M.

Masters Research Title: Imagination and Will InYouth Visions of Their Futures: Prospectivity and Empowerment In SteinerEducated Adolescents

Abstract: This study reports research which investigated the views and visions of the future of adolescents educated within the Rudolf Steiner educational approach. These visions were examined for evidence of prospectivity and personal empowerment. Theoretically contextualised within alternative educational paradigms, Steiner education is unique in that it has strong imaginative, holistic and aesthetic components.

Working within the transdisciplinary field of futures studies research, the methods used included quantitative and qualitative, as well as visioning and dialogue processes to actively engage the participants. A questionnaire was completed by 128 senior secondary students of three Steiner schools eliciting data on the students' views of the 'probable future.' In addition, open-ended questions to the whole grouip and visioning workshops with the Year 12 students from one school elicited qualitative data on the students' visions of their 'preferred futures.'... It was found that the Steiner students' visions of their preferred futures had a prospective quality, demonstrating rich images of futures different from the past and present, and which they feel activated towards creating. This proactivity, combined with their sense of active personal optimism indicated that the students felt empowered to create their preferred futures.

Institution & Location:  School of Education, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW

Completed: 1997

LastName, FirstName
Title: (web link if available).
Abstract: (eight line maximum).
Institution & Location: 
Duration: (start and end date, estimated)
Funding: (sponsoring institutions)

1971 was the start of the first PhD program in primary foresight at the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, PhD in Alternative Futures, U. Hawaii, under Jim Dator, one of the founders of academic foresight research.

Do you know other dissertations that should be on the lists above? Please let us know!

Help us add them here. Email the wiki moderators, susanchesleyfant{at}gmail{dot}com or johnsmart{at}accelerating{dot}org, with a brief paragraph on your background, and ask for editing access to this page. We are always looking for more foresight students, professionals, grads, and advocates to post here, to work with, and to help the global foresight community.