The aim of the Science Foresight Project was to design and assess a simple, objective and cost-effective technique to gather information about emerging short and long-term research developments, primarily in the physical and engineering sciences. International experts were objectively chosen using co-citation patterns in scientific and technical literature, and were invited to submit their predictions about emerging developments in their research fields. They were questioned about how the effects of various factors and driving forces might affect their predictions. The cost and time required to administer the questionnaire and collect the responses was minimised through the use of Internet and Web based technologies. A simple process was used to report the predictions; short excerpts from each prediction were used as the summary and each prediction was classified into one of ten categories of emerging developments. Authors from 114 papers (23.7%) responded, identifying a total of 190 short-term and 111 long-term predicted emerging developments. Expert responses were received from an international group of senior researchers between the ages of 36 and 55, mostly engaged in basic research in academic institutions. Some experts described specific emerging developments, some discussed broad emerging trends in their field and others described both. Emerging development categories such as Atomic & Stellar Matter, Biology & Biosphere, Biomedical & Clinical, Computers & Robotics and Genomics & Proteomics were closely aligned with conventional science areas while other categories such as Mathematical & Computational and Nano Science & Technology contained predictions from almost every area of science. The technique developed and applied here appears to constitute an efficient means of surveying the international research community in order to gain insights into common patterns that evolve from their collective research activities. Dynamically monitoring emerging research developments on a continuous basis could provide valuable information to policy makers, planners and researchers.