The SCAR 2011-2016 Strategic Plan called for instituting a "Horizon Scanning" activity to support SCAR's vision of leadership and international cooperation in Antarctic and Southern Ocean science and assist in achieving its mission of excellence in science and scientific advice to policy makers. From SCAR's Strategic Plan:
"To sustain a position of leadership, SCAR must maintain a continually evolving vision of frontiers and emerging directions in Antarctic and Southern Ocean science. To this end, SCAR will sponsor a regular assessment of scientific frontiers. The objective will be to assemble the world's leading experts to scan the horizons for emerging frontiers in Antarctic and Southern Ocean science and identify gaps in knowledge. This gathering will draw on data and information from SCAR conferences, symposia, workshops, meetings and other scientific gatherings; the outcomes of SCAR's Action, Expert and Programme Planning Groups; National Antarctic Programme planning and strategic documents; outcomes of SCAR's Scientific Research Programmes; and reports of SCAR's Cross-linkages Meetings. The assessment will produce a …..vision of future directions and grand challenges in Antarctic science. These assessments will inform SCAR leadership and members as it evaluates its scientific portfolio, concludes programmes and approves new ones."
- SCAR Strategic Plan 2011-2016, ' pdf Antarctic Science and Policy Advice in a Changing World (1.59 MB) '
While this was the 1st SCAR Antarctic and Southern Ocean Science Horizon Scan, it is envisioned that every four or five years this view of the future will be revised and updated, based on the latest scientific and global developments. Each Scan begins with assumptions and the current state-of–knowledge, and it is reasonable to expect in these times of rapid change that these underpinnings may substantively change over a time period of four to five years. Regular, and sustained, forward thinking allows for course corrections and recognition of newly emerging trends that are critical to shorter timeframe strategic planning efforts.