This site uses cookies to help make it more useful and reliable. Our cookies page explains what they are, which ones we use, and how you can manage or remove them.

The Sigma Scan is a searchable set of brief papers exploring potential future issues and trends over the next 50 years which may have an impact on UK public policy. The papers cover a wide range of subjects, from climate science to social science, space exploration, economics and human rights.

To produce the Sigma Scan, the Foresight Horizon Scanning Centre has drawn on material from more than 6000 document sources – from scientific journals to futurists' blogs – and interviews with 300 leading thinkers. This has been condensed into unique insights on the issues policymakers will face in the future. We use the Scan papers in workshops and projects to promote better awareness of different potential futures in government policy-making. Let us know what you think of them by contacting us []. For more information about the Horizon Scanning Centre, visit

Following a major review and refresh exercise carried out with the support of RAND Europe, over a quarter of Sigma Scan papers have recently been redrafted to reflect new source material, or merged and refocused. Foresight would like to acknowledge the researchers and authors of the original Sigma Scan papers, Outsights, Ipsos MORI and Institute for the Future, and the contributions of Imperial College and Demos.