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Mapping Weak Signals

Inspired by: FP7 » Growing failures of social care in educating young people

version: 9 / updated: 2011-02-25
id: #1689 / version id: #415
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Ian Miles
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 8 - Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities

Sub-theme/area of inspiration

Societal trends and lifestyles

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)
YIPPEE (217297)

Signal's headline

(max. 9 words)
Growing failures of social care in educating young people

Signal's description

(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Weak Signal (approx. 150 words)
New evidence mounts demonstrating the lack of educational engagement and achievement among young people from social care backgrounds. The perceived crisis of social care is intensified as “cycles of deprivation” accumulate and some young people successfully sue care institutions for failure to prepare them for adult life. Political and financial crises for these institutions lead to desperate search for new approaches, despite pressures on public finances. (Institutional innovations such as super-foster parents? use of private boarding schools? Recruitment into disciplined military/community service? Repressive approaches such as social segregation, control by medication, and eugenics?).


social care, youth, people, education, learning, working


(max. 250 characters)
Striking accumulation of new evidence on widespread failure of efforts to support the education young people in social care.

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 Breakdown of welfare state. new/emerging
very harmful
#2 Search for new solutions to social problems – including institutional innovation, medicalization of problems, etc. new/emerging
very beneficial
#3 Persistent cycles of deprivation. re-emerging
#4 Possible return to pre-welfare state blame culture. re-emerging
#5 Efforts to establish systems for personalised and lifelong learning. continuation
mainly beneficial
#6 Interest in genetic and neurological/developmental explanations of cognitive/learning deficits. continuation
#7 Substantial reduction of scope for litigation against poor public service provision. discontinuation

Under what assumption the Weak Signal might evolve.

This is a signal of the contradictions & failures of the EU social democratic welfare model, and its possible transition to a different model.


please specify
please select
Level 1: important for a particular country UK
Level 3: important for the European Union

Filters preventing the signal's monitoring

institutional filters (rules, laws, regulations)
affective filters (emotions, anxiety, self-doubt)
political filters (party or ideological interests)
social filters (class, status, education level)

Comments on selection:

the issue which is signalled shows deep contradictions in the socio-political system

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
Social internal contradictions of welfare system
Political pressure for diversification & innovation

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
between 2015-2025 risk that welfare system will collapse new policy innovation & financial diversification

Potential stakeholders' actions

short-term actions
(after 2015)
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) explore long term futures for social care & welfare system
Non-for-profit organisations (e.g. NGOs, political parties, social movements, voluntary associations) identify costs & benefits of alternatives to state care system

Signal's relevance for European Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Ageing and other demographic tensions
Social exclusion & poverty
Social cohesion and diversity

Signal's relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Social Sciences and Humanities

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
Overcoming sub-criticality and systemic failures
To be subcritical means that the effort in a particular field or subfield lacks resources, equipment or a sufficient number of researchers to achieve a desired goal
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
Future STI will need to look at complex learning pathways, scope for new educational technologies and systems supporting lifelong learning for socially excluded. Evaluation of institutional best practice and innovation. Research on neurology, learning and cognitive deficit.