The paper presents an approach at improving the impact of Foresight by systematically taking into account the characteristics of the targeted research and innovation (R&I) domains when designing a Foresight exercise. The paper addresses recent developments in Foresight theory and practice which allow for deploying a hybrid methodological framework where different approaches serve different purposes in specific phases in order to tailor Foresight to a wide range of different contexts and objectives. The paper can be characterised as empirically based theory building. The theoretical framework is elaborated by applying it in two R&I fields: (i) GM plants and (ii) Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies. Hence, this research is expected to contribute improving the strategic processes of priority setting in techno-institutional arenas both on the national and international level. In particular it is suggested that the capability of Foresight to function as a systemic innovation policy instrument for enhancing innovation and learning capability could be improved substantially by tailoring the Foresight approach to the targeted innovation arena.