Overview

The EPTA network was formally established in 1990 under the patronage of the President of the European Parliament, Mr Enrique Baron Crespo. The network has a light structure, guided by the EPTA Council and by meetings of the Directors of the EPTA partner organisations.

The EPTA Council is the steering committee of the EPTA network, and consists of members of Parliament or representatives of the advisory boards for the respective EPTA organisation. The Council decides on organisational matters such as co-operation within the network and the status of members and associates.

The presidency of EPTA moves each year. The tasks of the EPTA member organisation holding the presidency are to coordinate the EPTA network activities and to host the annual EPTA Conference, Council Meeting and Directors' Meeting.

Membership

The members of the EPTA network are European organisations, which carry out TA studies on behalf of parliaments. Parliamentary TA is institutionalised in different ways, ranging from permanent parliamentary committees for TA; separate TA units as part of the parliamentary administration; to independent institutions with a mandate to serve as a permanent consulting institution for the parliament.

The following criteria for full membership are (Council decision Helsinki October 2001) that the TA unit

  • operates in Europe (the geographical Europe as defined by the Council of Europe),
  • is devoted to TA or related activities,
  • serves the parliament,
  • has its own budget and secretariat,
  • has a competence regarding issues with a scientific and technological component, and
  • submits a written membership application.

Associate membership can be granted to salient TA units, which have a TA programme and resources to realise it, but do not fully live up to other criteria for full membership. Associates are involved in all EPTA activities, but are not represented in the EPTA Council. Further, units interested in the work of EPTA can act as observers.

The decision to grant membership (both full and associate) is taken by the EPTA Council. Observer status is granted by the current EPTA presidency.

Common EPTA projects

EPTA can decide to make 'common EPTA projects', in which EPTA members and associates can join forces and make trans-European TA activities. EPTA projects are based upon the 'Joint EPTA Project Framework', which makes use of a bottom-up principle, according to which three or more members can initiate a project if it is open for active participation from other EPTA members. The project is decided during a Directors' meeting or Council Meeting after being scrutinised by the boards of the members. The outcome of an EPTA project is the sole responsibility of the participating members.

Current member organisations of the EPTA Council

  • Scientific and Technological Options Assessment (STOA), European Parliament (more...)
  • Teknologirådet - Danish Board of Technology Foundation (DBT) (more...)
  • Committee for the Future, Finnish Parliament - Tulevaisuusvaliokunta (more...)
  • Office Parlementaire d'evaluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques - Parliamentary Office for Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Options (OPECST), French Parliament (more...)
  • Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag (TAB) - Office of Technology Assessment at the German Parliament (more...)
  • Committee on Technology Assessment, Greek Parliament (more...)
  • Rathenau Institute, Netherlands (more...)
  • Teknologirådet - Norwegian Board of Technology (NBT) (more...)
  • Zentrum für Technologiefolgen-Abschätzung - Centre for Technology Assessment at the Swiss Science and Technology Council (TA-Swiss) (more...)
  • Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), UK (more...)
  • CAPCIT (Consell Assessor del Parlament sobre Ciència i Tecnologia) - The Advisory Board of the Parliament of Catalonia for Science and Technology (more...)
  • Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung (ITA), Austria (more...)
  • The Parliamentary evaluation and research unit, Swedish Parliament (more...)

Associate members (no right to vote in the Council) are the following organisations:

  • Sub-Committee on Science and Ethics of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Strassbourg (more...)
  • The Bureau of Research (BAS), Polish Parliament (more...)
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), USA (more...)