Technology Assessment (TA) explores the relationship between science, technology and society. Is a concept which brings together researchers from different disciplines such as business economics, sociology or biology, to name a view. The common goal is to explore how current technological developments affect the world we live in.

More concretely, TA could for example make policy analysis about:

  • The energy situation.
  • Working conditions in the light of increasing ICT work.
  • Globalisation and labour market competences.
  • GMOs and the environment.
  • Privacy issues in e-government.
  • The Potentials of nanotechnology in health care.

The projects database on this website gives a more encompassing picture of the issues dealt with in Technology Assessment at the EPTA member organisations.

Technology Assessment has three dimensions (Note 1):

  • The cognitive dimension - creating overview on knowledge, relevant to policy-making.
  • The normative dimension - establishing dialogue in order to support opinion making.
  • The pragmatic dimension - establish processes that help decisions to be made.

And TA has three objects (Note 2):

  • The issue or technology
  • The social aspects
  • The policy aspects

TA has been defined in numerous ways. One definition, which fits Parliamentary Technology Assessment well (Note 2):

"Technology Assessment (TA) is a scientific, interactive and communicative process, which aims to contribute to the formation of public and political opinion on societal aspects of science and technology."

The EPTA organisations have a specific attribute by fully or partly having obligations towards parliaments. This means in practice that formal policy-making is part of the focus for the TA activities.

More about TA can be found here.

Notes

1: According to the EUROPTA project, established by EPTA members. "Participatory Technology Assessment" ISBN 0-85374-803-9

2: According to the TAMI project, on which EPTA members took part. "Technology Assessment - Methods and Impacts" ISBN: 3-540-21283-3

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