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Mapping Weak Signals

Inspired by: FP7 » Advances in portable and autonomous greenhouse units

version: 7 / updated: 2011-01-29
id: #1535 / version id: #486
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Joe Ravetz
List of all contributors by versions (mouse over)
Last changed by: Rafael Popper
WI-WE status:

Source of inspiration

European Commission Framework Programme for RTD (FP7)

Theme/activity of inspiration

Theme 6 - Environment (including Climate Change)

Sub-theme/area of inspiration

Pressures on environment and climate

Optional reference/s to FP7 project/s

Use the following format: Project Acronym (Project Reference No.). Use commas if more than one project is associated to this Wild Card, for example: ALFA-BIRD (213266), SAFAR (213374), LAPCAT-II (211485)

Signal's headline

(max. 9 words)
Advances in portable and autonomous greenhouse units

Signal's description

(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Weak Signal (approx. 150 words)
Advances in portable and autonomous greenhouse units are made, both in basic science and in deployment. These work on the ‘nano-generation’ principle of embedding solar panels and micro-fuel cells into construction materials and horticultural installations, to enable production of energy, water, hydrogen for motive power, and recycling of nutrients. The new technology is marketed heavily in agricultural regions subject to drought and desertification, such as the Mediterranean. However it seems likely that such industrialized horticulture can also hasten rural out-migration and abandonment of traditional farming landscapes.


Autonomous units, portable greenhouse, climate adaptation, horticulture, rural development


(max. 250 characters)
Advances in portable and autonomous greenhouse units may be a benefit for subsistence farmers and remote / drought hit rural areas: but they may also help to accelerate the decline of such areas.

Signal's first apperance


Signal's potential evolution

It could lead to...
issue type of issue/development potential impact on society timeframe for the issue to become at least 50% probable
#1 change in rural economy re-emerging
#2 adaptation to climate change new/emerging
mainly beneficial
#3 industrialization of horticulture continuation

Under what assumption the Weak Signal might evolve.

increased technology deployment in remote rural areas: continued depopulation of remote rural areas


please specify
please select
Level 3: important for the European Union
Level 4: important for the whole world

Filters preventing the signal's monitoring

economic filters (business/market interests)
scientific filters (knowledge/technology access)

Key driving forces of this signal

Please use these boxes to provide up to 2 drivers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
Driver 1 Driver 2
Technological/Scientific technology advances & deployment
Economic economic development in remote arid regions

Major risks & opportunities associated to the signal

Please choose the most appropriate timeframe option(s) to which you would like to provide inputs.
Risks Opportunities
before 2015 climate adaptation
between 2015-2025 depopulation & rapid industrialization of rural areas

Potential stakeholders' actions

short-term actions
(after 2015)
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) identify opportunities for rural development & food security
Business actors (incl. SMEs) identify opportunities for sustainable rural development
Non-for-profit organisations (e.g. NGOs, political parties, social movements, voluntary associations) identify potential for landscape conservation

Signal's relevance for European Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Food security and diet
Urban and rural dynamics
Sustainability and climate change
Water security/vulnerability

Signal's relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology
Environment (including Climate Change)

Pan-European strategies influencing the signal

please justify:
particularly relevant
Facilitating and promoting knowledge sharing and transfer

Research-friendly strategies potentially improving understanding of the signal

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here
please justify:
particularly relevant
Strengthening the actors in the research-friendly ecology
(i.e. Research funding organisations, universities, businesses, Research and Technology Organisations, Researchers and Citizens)
Creating a closer link between researchers & policy-makers
(e.g. supporting both thematic and cross-cutting policies, highlighting the strategic purpose of the European Research Area, etc.

Signal's relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
There are implications for RTD on energy grids, as the more rapid spread of autonomous units will change the viability of many grid technology options. The implications of technological change on remote rural areas also need more research.