Delphi Austria

Technology Delphi Austria

This study is an independent type of “technology foresight“ and part of the research programme “Delphi Austria“ commissioned by the Austrian Ministry of Science and Transport.

It is strictly Austria- and problem-oriented, relevant to implementation, decentrally organized and concentrates on innovation potential where Austria might have opportunities to achieve leadership in seven sectors:

  • Production and Processing of Organic Food;
  • Tailor-made New Materials (Focus on Metals);
  • Lifelong Learning;
  • Medical Technologies and Supportive Technologies for the Elderly;
  • Mobility and Transport;
  • Environmentally Sound Construction and New Forms of Housing;
  • Cleaner Production and Sustainable Development.

The core component is a broadly distributed Delphi-Survey with altogether 1127 experts from science, business, public administration and user representation who participated in two rounds. The survey instruments were prepared by interdisciplinary expert panels for each sector separately in a bottom-up process. This design corresponds to the concept of a “Decision Delphi“ and helped to reveal views and perceptions of the participants, to structure and coordinate them in a decentralised process, in an area where developments are normally determined by a large number of independent decisions. The experts gave assessments on almost 300 technical and organisational innovations, with a view to their importance and exploitation potential for Austria within the next 15 years, as well as assessments on a multitude of related policy measures.

Analytical conclusions and implications derived from these results for technology policy include the following:

1. In certain areas Austrian research institutions or firms have already achieved leadership or have the potential to do so in a middle range perspective, especially through the application of high – if not the highest – technology in otherwise medium technology fields and, on the other hand, in markets in which Austria has lead market character because of a special demand situation (shaped for instance by legal regulation, social system, consumers' preferences etc.). In general, however, Austria has not yet accomplished the leap from a technology adopter to a technology developer.

2. Opportunities to achieve leadership exist in the following areas:

  • Simulation models in construction processes
  • High-tech steel and low weight materials
  • Recycling of composite materials and mixed materials
  • Low noise equipment for railways
  • Cleaner production technologies (especially in metal and paper production)
  • Wood as material in constructive applications
  • Ecologically sound construction
  • Organic food (seeds and breeding, conservation and analysis techniques)
  • Technologies supporting life-long learning (tailor-made packages for further training, intelligent information agents, electronic learning media)
  • Technologies supporting independent living for the elderly without losing personal contacts
  • Substitutes for organs and functions (in conjunction with biocompatible materials, hybrid technologies).

3. Information- and communication technologies are part and parcel in almost all cases of successful or promising leadership but as independent technologies they only play a role in certain niches in the Austrian context.

4. A specific problem is that the time horizon anticipated and taken into account in innovation activities by firms and applied research is too short.

5. Isolated technological efforts are rarely promising: success in achieving leadership requires a wider approach, networking, cooperation between firms and research institutions, a linking of technical and organizational innovations and a critical mass of firms and research institutions.

6. Attitudes towards organizational innovations are more ambivalent, indicating a higher level of mistrust in their realizability.

7. As far as policy options are concerned, the most important measure is the strengthening of cooperation between research institutions and firms as well as among firms and research institutions themselves. Suggested measures include: actions promoting the development of clusters in future oriented core areas, the creation of new institutions for the coordination of interdisciplinary research focuses, a differentiation in research promotion between more routine and high risk long-term projects, the prescription of targets and continuous evaluation in project promotion and the setting up of pilot projects, especially on organisational innovations. For each of the seven sectors a wealth of more specific policy recommendations can be found in the volume devoted to sector-specific results of this technology foresight (Delphi Report Austria 2).

Delphi reports (only in german language, see "downloads"):

  • Delphi I – Technologie Delphi I, Konzept und Überblick, Schriftenreihe Delphi Report Austria 1, ITA, Mai 1998
  • Delphi II – Technologie Delphi II, Ergebnisse und Maßnahmenvorschläge, Schriftenreihe Delphi Report Austria 2, ITA, Mai 1998
  • Delphi III – Technologie Delphi III, Materialien, Schriftenreihe Delphi Report Austria 3, ITA, Mai 1998




  • Aichholzer, G. (2002). Delphi Austria: An Example of Tailoring Foresight to the Needs of a Small Country, ITA manu:script, ITA-01-02, December. doi:10.1553/ITA-ms-01-02
  • Aichholzer, G. (2002). Das ExpertInnen-Delphi: Methodische Grundlagen und Anwendungsfeld ‘Technology Foresight‘, ITA manu:script, ITA-02-01, Jänner. doi:10.1553/ITA-ms-02-01
  • Aichholzer, G. (2002). Das ExpertInnen-Delphi: methodische Grundlagen und Anwendungsfeld Technology Foresight. In A. Bogner, B. Littig, W. Menz (Hg.): Das Experteninterview. Theorie, Methode, Anwendung, Opladen: Leske + Budrich (pp. 133-153).
  • Aichholzer, G. (2002). Delphi Austria: an example of tailoring foresight to the needs of a small country. In United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) (ed.), International Practice in Technology Foresight, Vienna: UNIDO (pp. 125-151).
  • Aichholzer, G. (2001). "The Austrian foresight program: organization and expert profile". International Journal Of Technology Management, 739-755.
  • Peissl, W. (2001). Technology Foresight – more than fashion?. International Journal Of Technology Management, 653-660.
  • Peissl, W. (E. ). (2001). Special Issue on Technology Foresight. International Journal of Technology Management, Vol 21, Nr. 7/8.
  • Aichholzer, G. (2001). Country report – Austria, In: European Science and Technology Observatory (ESTO), OST/CEST (coordinators), Monitoring Foresight Activities, Sevilla: Institute for Prospective Technological Studies/ESTO (pp. 12-35).
  • Aichholzer, G. (2001). En busca de una posición de liderazgo en nichos de innovación – la prospectiva tecnológica en Austria, Arbeitspapier im Rahmen einer Initiative der UNIDO zu Foresight-Projekten für Lateinamerika und Länder der Karibik, UNIDO, Wien.
  • Wild, C., & Torgersen, H. (2000). Forecasting in Medicine: The Results of Three European Delphi Studies. European Journal Of Public Health, 114-119.
  • Aichholzer, G. (2000). Searching for leadership in innovation niches: Technology Foresight in Austria. Proceedings zur "International Conference on Technology Foresight: The Approach to and the Potential for New Technology Foresight", National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP), Science and Technology Agency, Japan, Tokyo, März.
  • Aichholzer, G. (2000). Innovative Elemente des österreichischen Technologie-Delphi. In M. Häder, S. Häder (Hg.), Die Delphi-Technik in den Sozialwissenschaften. Methodische Forschungen und innovative Anwendungen, Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag (pp. 67-93).
  • Tichy, G. (2000). Marktnischen mit Chancen auf österreichische Themenführerschaft, Eine Auswertung des Technologie Delphi. Noch unveröffentlichtes Manuskript. Retrieved from
  • Tichy, G. (2000). The innovation potential and thematic leadership of Austrian industries, An interpretation of the Technology Delphi with regard to the old structures/high-performance paradox. Not yet published manuscript. Retrieved from
  • Aichholzer, G. (2000). "En busca de una posición de liderazgo en nichos de innovación: la prospectiva tecnológica en Austria", Paper im Rahmen einer Initiative der UNIDO zu Foresight-Projekten für Lateinamerika und Länder der Karibik, UNIDO, Wien.
  • Aichholzer, G., & Erker, E. (2000). Austrian Foresight – In search for sustained competetiveness by solving societal problems. In Ministry of Trade and Industry and The Finnish Association of Graduate Engineers TEK (Ed.), Foresight at Crossroads. Technology foresight linking innovation policy to informed action, Helsinki: TEK (pp. 92-97).
  • Wild, C., & Torgersen, H. (1998). Medizintechnik und Technische Lebenshilfen für ältere Menschen, Delphi Report Austria II. Ergebnisse und Maßnahmenvorschläge (pp. 141-170).
  • Aichholzer, G. (1998). Technologie Delphi Austria: Österreichs Innovationspotentiale auf dem Prüfstand. Ita-Newsletter, 2-4.
  • Aichholzer, G. (1998). Umsetzung des britischen Foresight Programms. Ita-Newsletter, 14-15.
  • Wild, C. (1998). Ein Blick in die Zukunft: eine Einschätzung österreichischer Experten zu medizinischen und gesundheitsorganisatorischen Fragen. Managmed, 33 -35.



  • 03/03/2003
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    Technology Foresight in Austria: Experiences with ‘Delphi Austria’
    Seminar on Technology Foresight Practices and Methods for the Russian Federation, UNIDO, Vienna, March 3-4.
    Other Lecture
  • 27/07/2001
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    The Austrian Foresight Programme: Design
    Impacts and Recommendations. Presentation at UNIDO videoconference with the Foresight Committee in Venezuela, July 27, Vienna.
    Other Lecture
  • 17/04/2001
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    The Austrian Foresight Programme: Design
    Impacts and Recommendations. Presentation at UNIDO Videoconference with Foresight Committee in Peru, April 17, Vienna.
    Other Lecture
  • 04/04/2001
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    Delphi Austria: An Example of Tailoring Foresight to the Needs of a Small Country
    Regional Conference on Technology Foresight for Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States, organized by UNIDO in cooperation with the Government of Hungary, 4-5 April, Vienna
    Other Lecture
  • 29/11/1999
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    Technology Delphi Austria: A brief overview
    Konferenzpapier zur Konferenz "Foresight at Crossroads", Helsinki
    Other Lecture
  • 01/07/1999
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    "The Austrian Foresight Programme: Overall Organisation and Technology Delphi"
    Workshop "Foresight Methods: International and Hungarian Experiences", Budapest, 1.-2. Juli
    Other Lecture
  • 30/03/1999
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    "Innovative elements of the Austrian Technology Delphi"
    ZUMA-Symposium "Research on the Methodology for the Delphi-Method", Mannheim
    Other Lecture
  • 01/12/1998
    Walter Peissl: 
    Delphi in Small Countries: The Austrian Approach
    Presentation at the Workshop on Foreign Experiences with Technology Foresight, hosted by TeknologiRådet, Kopenhagen
    Other Lecture
  • 29/10/1998
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    "A comment on national technology foresight studies from the Austrian experience"
    Comité de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique (CREST-Ausschuß), Rat der Europäischen Union, Brüsselber
    Other Lecture
  • 28/10/1998
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    "Delphi Austria: Innovationspotentiale und Maßnahmenschwerpunkte für eine zukunftsorientierte Technologiepolitik"
    Bundeskanzleramt, interministerielles Kontaktkomitee der Fördereinrichtungen, Wienber
    Other Lecture
  • 27/05/1998
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    "Die Technologiezukunft Europas
    Eine Vorausschau auf Basis von Experten-Delphis", 'IIR Personalkongreß', Institute for International Research, Wien, 27. und 28. Mai
    Other Lecture
  • 14/05/1998
    Michael Nentwich: 
    Präsentation der Delphi-Teilstudie "Umweltgerechtes Bauen und neue Wohnformen" im Rahmen eines Workshop im Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft
    Workshop im Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Wien
    Other Lecture
  • 14/05/1998
    Christian Rakos: 
    Präsentation der Delphi-Teilstudie "Biologische Ernährung" im Rahmen eines Workshop im Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft
    Workshop im Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Wien
    Other Lecture
  • 14/05/1998
    Präsentation der Delphi-Teilstudie "Umweltgerechte Produktion" im Rahmen eines Workshop im Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft
    Wien, 14. 5.
    Other Lecture
  • 30/06/1997
    Georg Aichholzer: 
    Lebensbegleitendes Lernen in der Informationsgesellschaft: neue Rahmenbedingungen und Herausforderungen
    Berufspädagogische Tage 1997, Klagenfurt – 2.7.
    Other Lecture
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