What are the upcoming technological issues? The EPTA directors meeting in the Haag 21. of April focus on identifying future “war fields”. The Directors Meeting is arranged by Rathenau Institute.

A well known proverb says that “generals always fight the former war”. This spring's meeting includes an “Epta war room”. The objective is to find out and learn from each other what the next “wars” will be.

Collective and interactive

The Epta war room provides a collective and interactive quick scan to address this. The war room metaphor has a double meaning. On the one hand it is about signalling important issues for the coming years; what are the new fronts? On the other hand the question is how we deal with those upcoming issues; what will the strategy be?

Be prepared

Giancarlo Caratti from the European Commission`s Joint Reseach Centre is invited and will talk about “Scientific and technical support to European Policy making”.

What is going on in European Technology assessment? During the meeting the Directors will also make plans for the Conference and Council Meeting October 2008 EPTA and ESOF Barcelona 2008.

The Directors Meeting in the Haag takes place from the 21. to the 22. of April 2008.

Privacy enhancing security technologies and human rights, are among topics for the concluding conference arranged by the PRISE project in the end of April. The conference takes place in Vienna.

The conference “Next steps towards privacy enhancing security technologies” will be arranged the 28th and the 29th of April 2008, to discuss privacy and security in relation to the future development in European security research and policies. The PRISE project includes four members of EPTA.

The PRISE project (PRIvacy and SEcurity in Europe) invites participants to register within the 21. April 2008 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

The conference focus on important questions such as:

  • What are the challenges to privacy and human rights in democratic societies using more and more technical security measures?
  • What does security and privacy mean to European Citizens?
  • How can more security be possible with the same or even higher levels of privacy?
  • What steps are needed to pursue development of security technologies that enhance both privacy and security?
  • How can good solutions to protect privacy serve the European security industry?

The purpose of the PRISE conference is to discuss in a broad forum, the PRISE results and further steps required to ensure privacy and security in Europe.

Confirmed keynote speakers include::

J. Peter Burgess, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo

Rene von Schomberg, Scientific Officer, European Commission, DG RTD Science and Technology foresight

Simon Davies, London School of Economics and director of Privacy International

Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor

Sachar Paulus, Chief Security Officer of SAP

The workshop sessions of the 29th of April include the following issues: Security Technologies, PETs design and PETs in practice, Security policy and privacy, Society and Security, Ethics and Security.

Please consult the PRISE website for more information about the conference:


PRISE website

Are we ready for radical climate change? Can artificial life fuel new cars? How will Europes’ future aging population look like? This will be discussed by project managers from 18 European countries in Norway in April.

Every second year the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA) arranges a meeting for the staff of its member institutions. The Norwegian Board of Technology is hosting this year’s conference in April.

Common development of ideas

The member institutions of EPTA have in common to advice parliaments on the impact of new sciences and technologies. The project managers in EPTA work differently, but they share a mutual interest in topics and research methods.

- European meetings are useful to exchange knowledge and experiences – and to get an overview of current technology assessment in Europe. Together we can develop new ideas for future projects, says project manager Cathrine Heisholt at the Norwegian Board of Technology.

At the conference the participants will discuss possible projects related to the following themes:

  • The need for a radical climate transition: What changes and priorities may be necessary if the climate change continues to escalate?
  • The aging population of Europe and its future: How can technology and innovation play a role in solving these challenges?
  • Synthetic biology: Clean bio fuels and cheap malaria drugs are just some of the opportunities foreseen. But social and ethical questions about the impact on health, the environment and society arise – as well as possibilities for abuse through biological warfare.

There will also be a focus on communication and exchange of experiences related to the use of different ways of doing technology assessment.

Contact information:
Project manager Cathrine Heisholt
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +47 23 31 83 25
Fax: +47 23 31 83 01


The partner institutions of EPTA are now editing a newsletter about technology assessment. The newsletter extends the website as a portal for projects and offers regular information to members, partners and others.

The Board of Technology in Denmark and the Board in Norway are the present editors of the newsletter with three releases a year.

The Board of Technology in Norway is responsible for the editorial content (mail to editor): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In Denmark the Board of Technology coordinates the website, hosts the website and administrates the electronic newsletter from EPTA.

Subscribe to the newsletter on the front page of this EPTA website and you will get news about technology assessment directly to your mailbox.

Food and technology headlined the EPTA-conference in Athens. The world food demand is increasing – how can technology help? And how can we address increasing pollution, food-related diseases and unhealthy lifestyles?

13 member institutions were represented by Members of Parliaments and experts.

Under the presidency of the Permanent Committee on Research and Technology of the Hellenic Parliament, the EPTA conference on November 6th 2007 provided a fruitful exchange of insights from technology assessment in food.

Human interplay with nature

Food is a matter of life and death, but also a lot more.

Dependent as we are on agriculture and fisheries, food is at the centre of human interplay with nature. Food also plays a crucial role in how we see ourselves and in shaping social networks. Technology plays a role in all these aspects.

Biotechnology promises new ways of supplying food, for instance through genetically modified organisms. Transportation offers groceries from all corners of the world. Food is processed and nutrients are added to provide certain benefits. But this also raises dilemmas, said mr. Panagiotis Adraktas, MP and president of the Permanent Committee, who chaired the conference.

Genetically modified plants and foods

Project managers, Mr. Jon Magnar Haugen and Dr. Rolf Meyer, presented the context and design for the ongoing joint EPTA project on Genetically Modified Plants and Foods. The project takes a view to future developments of GM and assesses whether current regulations are fit for new applications such as plants modified for industrial or pharmaceutical purposes.

The introduction was followed by interventions from the Austrian Member of the European Parliament, Ing. Dr. Paul Rübig (MEP) and Ms. Ulla Burchardt, MP of the German Parliament. Both noted the pressure on EU regulation of GM plants and foods, especially in the face of WTO challenges, and also, new crops and applications.

– There is a lack of realistic scenarios for co-existence of plant-made industrials with food and feed production, said Ms. Burchardt. Compared to the short-term perspectives of parliamentary discussons, she welcomed a look into the future provided by the joint EPTA project.

How to manage the resources?

Chr. Maravelias from the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research presented current challenges in the management of marine resources. Overexploitation and marine pollution are currently the major threats to sustainable fishing, he said.

Mr. Claude Birraux, MP, presented insights from France on how to address food safety. He noted that food authorities have attained a high level of safety. However there is more uncertainty regarding new threats such as obesity resulting from risk behaviour. Proper vigilance of such hazards may need new orientation and focus. A representative of the Greek Food Safety Authority further expressed that politicians must give authorities the proper tools to attain their objectives.

A false feeling of healthiness

Sergio Bellucci from TA-SWISS and Robby Berloznik from viWTA, Flanders, presented insights into functional foods and food fortification – different techniques that promise added health benefits from food. - Health policy should keep stressing the importance of a balanced food diet and healthy lifestyle, although for some specific targets group, functional food - if the health benefit is scientifically proven - could be a possible option, said Berloznik.

Projects conducted on these issues signal that the role of fortified foods in improving diets is limited. Such techniques may also give a false feeling of healthiness – and improper use may do more harm. Such developments therefore require that regulations and responsibilities are strengthened.

The distance between farm and fork

Generally, there is a trend towards increasing distances between farm and fork.

This makes it increasingly difficult for consumers to check if products meet their standards and concerns. Improved traceability and labelling promise a response to this, providing opportunities for better, and more honest, information about products.

However, as Mr. Tore Tennøe from Norway noted, this raises dilemmas. How much information can consumers handle? Can this be an excuse for authorities and businesses not to take proper responsibility - for hygiene, animal ethics, pollution etc.?

Mr. Frans Brom of the Dutch Rathenau Institute presented insights from a Dutch project on obesity. The project concludes that combating obesity needs a broader perspective than individual choices. Healthy routines need external support, and strengthening food cultures may be crucial.

Evidence for this can be found in the lower prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in the Mediterranean region, said Mr. D. Panagiotakos of Greece. Mr. Ant. Panagiotopoulos closed the conference in Athens with perspectives on the important interplay between culture, food, and health.