SciCast - Predict Tomorrow, Today

The Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy (CSTSP) is working with a research group at George Mason University on a project – SciCast - to develop an online crowd-sourcing tool that can help predict future innovations in science and technology.


SciCast is a research project in which a number of organizations and partners, including CSTSP, are working with George Mason University to forecast the outcomes of key issues in science and technology. SciCast is part of the Forecasting Science and Technology (ForeST) Program funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and is based on the idea that the collective wisdom of an informed and diverse group is often more accurate at forecasting the outcome of events than that of one individual expert.

SciCast invites scientists, technologists, technology watchers,and all interested parties around the world to forecast key science and technology trends. With over 300 questions currently live and over 5500 forecasts made the breadth of questions and topic areas on SciCast is vast, so whatever your interest is there is a question waiting for your prediction. More importantly, if on the SciCast platform you cannot find a question or alternatively have a great question you would like to ask, all participants can work alongside subject matter experts from various fields to develop their own questions in an online collaborative environment called Spark. You not only get to participate in the forecasting but you can also drive the forecast and predicition market. Furthermore, unlike a survey, participants can change their forecast at any time to account for new information. In this way, SciCast is a real-time indicator of what our participants think is going to happen.

Current questions include:

  • How close will the closest near Earth object that is tracked by NASA come to Earth between April 1st and May 30th 2014? Current predictions on SciCast estimate between 0.10 and 1.00 lunar distances. Do you agree?

  • Will there be a lab-confirmed case of the coronavirus Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS or MERS-COV) identified in the United States by 1 June 2014? Current predictions on SciCast stand at a 49%. Do you agree?

  • Will at least one-third of worldwide nanotechnology patent documents published in the first half of 2014 have a Chinese priority? The current prediction on SciCast is 65% chance. Is this too high?

  • Will the Bcl3-inhibiting drug, claimed to reduce the spread of breast cancer cells, enter clinical trials before the end of July 2014? Predictions stand at a 30% chance. Are you more optimistic?

And these are just a sample of the 300 questions currently awaiting your predicition on SciCast.

Technically, SciCast is a (combinatorial) prediction market. Prediction markets can be used to forecast the outcome of a wide variety of topics and are used today in large corporations and governments to understand the likelihood of meeting key performance metrics, quantify risks that may jeopardize operations, and better understand industry trends.When the answer to a question is known and made public, participants who answered correctly will be be rewarded and move up on our leaderboard. The more correct forecasts a participant makes, the more influence they’ll have in other forecasts. Principal Investigator Dr. Charles Twardy explains, "In SciCast, your influence depends on your performance. Everyone starts the same, but the system improves as forecasters specialize: you gain influence by being accurate. With so many S&T questions, there are many niches. We seek scientists, statisticians, engineers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, technical traders, and futurists of all stripes to improve our forecasts, link questions together, and pose new questions."  

If you are interested in participating and joining scientists and technologists from around the world in the largest collaborative forecasting effort ever, please visit our landing page where you will be able to register to participate, ask questions, or even identify yourself as a topic leader/subject matter expert in a field of interest. Alternatively you can contact the CSTSP SciCast Team via email at scicast@aaas.org. It's easy to make forecasts in whatever topics interest you, publish your own questions to see what the community thinks,and access raw data from our data mart for your own research. And since this is a non-profit research project your data is never exposed or shared. So join SciCast and predict tomorrow, today!