How does FenRIAM works

Who is involved?

Application of FenRIAM is, even with a guided procedure, a complex challenge and requires the combination of multiple skills and competences. A look into the steps to run through and the interactions of relevant actors shows that the assessment itself is embedded in a wider decision environment with multiple influencing factors.

These include:

  • • an entity that takes the relevant decisions (e.g. funding of an RI project) with the decision-maker itself and technical staff;
  • • the RI project team or personnel from the RI;
  • • stakeholders of the (future) RI;
  • • someone conducting the Foresight enriched assessment (applicant).

While different entities fulfill different roles, the persons involved only need to have the depth of knowledge relevant for their role:

  • • The decision maker has to understand the kind of results a FenRIAM application may render and to specify the requirements for the final report of the individual assessment.
  • • The technical staff of the decision maker has to understand the entire methodology and specific limitations in order to elaborate a scoping document, which may include: specificities in the use case description, time horizon, the reference system for impact assessment, elements to be considered as input (e.g. strategic plans for ex-ante, previous plans for ex-post), requirements for the report on the assessment results, etc.

The scoping document is transformed into terms of reference for the applicants of the methodology.

  • • The FenRIAM application leader has to understand the entire methodology and, additionally, contribute the methodological (background) knowledge needed for practically applying the methods.
  • • The project team should have a generic understanding of a FenRIAM impact assessment.
  • • The RI stakeholders only need to understand the requirements for data or participation as formulated by the FenRIAM application leader.

Figure 1. The roles and their relations in the decision support process.

FenRIAM Step-by-Step

FenRIAM provides a step-by-step procedure that can be customised for different use cases, i.e. different kinds of decisions to be taken. The procedure consists of 8 major steps, where the first two are the responsibility of the decision maker, the rest of the applicant.

Figure 2. Basic structure of the FenRIAM procedure

Three of the steps (understanding the RI and the Region, impact assessment and risk assessment) are structured by modules, which facilitates an overview and selection of the relevant categories.

A module is a three-level analysis structure. Each module embraces several categories which specify the dimensions envisaged. A leading question for each category makes the meaning easily understandable. Associated to each category are indicators to enable a concrete assessment. They are quantitative or qualitative expressions of the categories. Given the diversity of RIs, some indicators require certain flexibility, giving room for choosing the most adequate form for each case. In FenRIAM, each indicator has its own fiche, which describes its relevance, a compilation, definitions of relevant terms, data sources and collection mechanisms, data analysis methods and references to acknowledged papers. The data sources have a broad spectrum including: project plan, reviews of similar cases, regional statistical data, stakeholder's information and expert opinion. Data analysis includes calculations (simple or using econometric tools) and synthesis of stakeholders' views and experts' opinions. Templates for data collection and analysis facilitate the concrete assessment or Foresight study. They are provided as proposals, can be applied as they are, modified to, or substituted by, existing templates tailored to the requirements of a particular case study.


Rifi Project Team