Quantitative analysis of technology futures: A review of techniques, uses and characteristics

Tommaso Ciarli*, Alex Coad, Ismael Rafols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A variety of quantitative techniques have been used in the past in future-oriented technology analysis (FTA). In recent years, increased computational power and data availability have led to the emergence of new techniques that are potentially useful for foresight and forecasting. As a result, there are now many techniques that might be used in FTA exercises. This paper reviews and qualifies quantitative methods for FTA in order to help users to make choices among alternative techniques, including new techniques that have not yet been integrated into the FTA literature and practice. We first provide a working definition of FTA and discuss its role, uses, and popularity over recent decades. Second, we select the most important quantitative FTA techniques, discuss their main contexts and uses, and classify them into groups with common characteristics, positioning them along key dimensions: descriptive/ prescriptive, extrapolative/normative, data gathering/inference, and forecasting/foresight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-645
Number of pages16
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Forecasting
  • Foresight
  • Future-oriented technology analysis
  • Quantitative techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantitative analysis of technology futures: A review of techniques, uses and characteristics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this