Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions



The staff working for CAPCIT is limited. The preparation of meetings as well as other administrative tasks and services are carried out by officials from the Parliament of Catalonia. In particular, the secretary of CAPCIT is one of the lawyers for Parliament. On the other hand, once a decision is made within CAPCIT for one of the scientific and technical institutions to be charged with drafting a report, said institution will draw on its own staff and resources.


The Danish Board of Technology is a non-profit, common good, corporative foundation, established in the course of the abolishment of the former Danish Board of Technology by June 20, 2012.

A corporate foundation is in Denmark a foundation, which bases its income on commercial activities and uses the revenue for common good purposes. Before the establishment of the foundation the Danish Board of Technology was a public, independent institution established by the Danish Parliament (the Folketing) under the Board of Technology Act No. 375 of 14 June 1995. The first Board of Technology was set up as a time-limited statutory body in 1986 and replaced by the Board (Teknologirådet) on 31 July 1995. The abolishment of the DBT in 2012 triggered a company take-over into the foundation on June 20, 2012.

The DBT was brought into being with three functions in mind. First, it was expected to disseminate knowledge about technology, its possibilities and its effects on people, on society and on the environment in order to support the level of knowledge and the debate in society. Second, it should support the work of Parliament by bringing forth visions, assessments and inspiration for political action. And third, there was an expectation that the Board should build its work on the experiences with action research made in the social sciences during the end of the 1970´s and the beginning of the 1980´s. So, DBT was born with expectations of serving Parliament, the public discourse and the actors involved in technology policy-making.

The DBT Foundation will build on this historical background and is expected to supply it with two new components.
  1. Other political decision-makers than the Danish Parliament are presumed to receive more focus from the DBT in the future because of the wide-spread influence on technology decisions in modern societies.
  2. The DBT Foundation expects to make use of its TA methodologies in areas, where the technology component of the problem is less dominating.
As a consequence of this development, the DBT Foundation makes use of the term Policy-oriented TA as a core function of its work. Parliamentary TA is an important part of this wider concept of TA.

The relation to the Danish Parliament is being processed at the time of writing. However, the Danish Parliament´s Committee for Science, Innovation and Higher Education is expected to point out two members of the Board of Representatives of the DBT Foundation. It is expected as well that an evaluation will take place in 2013, which will make a basis for clarifying the longer term relation between the Parliament and the DBT.

The DBT comprises a Board of Governors, a Board of Representatives, a Director and a Secretariat.


As a corporate foundation, DBT carries out activities financed by third party funds. These have until 2012 mainly come from municipalities, regions, governmental agencies, the EU Commission and the European Parliament, but it is expected that the range of financial partners will expand into charity foundations, financing consortiums of societal actors and the Danish Parliament. The yearly turnover is expected to be around 9 million DKK (1,2 million Euro in 2012).


STOA Panel

The STOA Panel, which is an integral part of Parliament´s structure, is politically responsible for STOA´s work. It comprises 24 members with the right to vote: The members of the STOA Panel are appointed for a renewable two-and-a-half-year period. The Panel is reconstituted in the beginning and in the middle of each parliamentary term, following the appointment of its members by the eight committees. Monthly Panel meetings are held in Strasbourg and can be followed via webstreaming.

STOA Bureau

The STOA Bureau oversees the running of the STOA activities and prepares the Panel meetings. The STOA Panel in turn elects three members of the Bureau: the Chair and two Vice-Chairs. The Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for STOA is ex officio also a member of the STOA Bureau.

STOA Secretariat

STOA´s operational responsibilities are with the STOA Secretariat, which is part the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) within Directorate C (Impact Assessment and European Added Value) of the EP's Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS). In addition to the STOA Secretariat, the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) comprises the Scientific Foresight Service, created in 2014.


In 2000 Parliament decided to make the Committee a permanent Committee with the same high status as the other standing permanent committees.

The committee has meetings twice a week. 17 members of Parliament from all political parties sit around the same table in the committee room and their only task is think, discuss and decide on new things - on Futures as researchers of Future Studies would say. In the Finnish parliamentary system committee meetings are closed, so MPs are more free to discuss and look for common or different opinions. Anyway they share different kinds of problems and options of Futures in spite of being representatives from right to left and all between.

Its current tasks are (1) to prepare material to be submitted to the Finnish Parliament, such as government reports on the future, (2) to make submissions on future-related long-term issues to other standing committees, (3) to debate issues relating to future development factors and development models, (4) to undertake analyses pertaining to future-related research and IT methodology, and (5) to function as a parliamentary body for assessing technological development and its consequences for society.

All members of the Committee are MPs, and like most of the other standing committees it has 17 members. So, it neither concentrates on preparing legislation nor reviewing the government´s annual budget proposal, but in other respects it resembles the other committees. What makes it different is the nature of its functions and its new fields of tasks. Its mission is to conduct an active and initiative-generating dialogue with the government on major future problems and the means of solving them. Since the problems of the future and above all its opportunities, cannot be studied through traditional parliamentary procedures and work methods alone, the committee has been given the specific task of following and using the results of research. Indeed, the committee can be said to be making policy on the future, because its goal is not research but rather policy.

Because the Committee itself decides its modest annual research, printing and translation budget, research projects must be chosen, manned, timed and directed well. The Committee has an annual budget for the research projects and permanent scientific expert who coordinates projects. All administrative costs are covered by Parliament´s general budget.


The OPECST is an unusual structure within Parliament: its members, who are appointed so as to ensure proportional representation of the political groups, belong both to the National Assembly and to the Senate. It is composed of eighteen MPs and eighteen Senators; each member may be appointed as a rapporteur. A rapporteur is an MP or a Senator in charge of writing a report on a given subject.

The OPECST is chaired alternately for a period of three years, by a member of either assembly. Internal rules stipulate that the First Vice-President shall belong to the other Assembly.

The OPECST acts as an intermediary between the political world and the world of research. It must listen to researchers and requests authorized opinions. In order to carry out its task, the OPECST is assisted by a Scientific Council reflecting the diversity of scientific and technological disciplines in its very composition, as it is made up of twenty- four leading figures selected on account of their expertise.


TAB is operated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) under a contract with the German Bundestag. TAB is an independent scientific unit of the Institute for Technology Assessment and System Analysis (ITAS). TAB and ITAS cooperate in conducting research as well as in developing concepts and methods of technology assessment.

The Director of TAB is appointed by KIT in consultation with the responsible Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment. Professor Armin Grunwald, who also heads the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, is responsible for the scientific results of TAB´s work and represents them vis à vis the German Bundestag.

The director of TAB and his or her staff are, in matters of content, not bound by instructions of the KIT with respect to any tasks assigned to them by the Bundestag, and that the director of TAB has responsibility for the scientific accuracy of the results produced by TAB and also has sole responsibility for selection TAB staff. TAB is located in Berlin. Currently, eight scientists from various disciplines are employed there.

As TAB´s governing body, the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment is chiefly responsible for deciding on the work programme, approving final reports, and communicating with the Members of Parliament and its committees. It has a standing »TA rapporteur group«, with one member from each parliamentary political party. This group prepares all the decisions on TAB to be taken by the Committee, from the decision to carry out a TA project through to approval of the final report. The Committee secretariat assists the rapporteurs in their work.


The committee, through its work, tries to leverage the promotion of research, technology and development in the country. The committee will support every significant effort in research and technology development. An important mission is to inform the citizens on developments in science and new technologies that take place both in Greece and the »global village« through the committee’s reports.

The main goals are:


The Rathenau instituut has two key tasks:


The NBT produces policy briefs and reports to the Parliament, publishes reports, organises seminars for the standing committees and takes part in open hearings at the Parliament. Oral and written information to the different representatives and party groups are provided on request. All projects rely on the involvement of external expert groups that are led by the NBT secretariat. Workshops open hearings, and research analyses are also used to collect information and views.

All work is organised around projects. The Board decides independently which projects are adapted, and Board members are represented in all expert groups. In the end phase, the projects are presented to the relevant parliamentary standing committee, often in combination with an open meeting at the Parliament.

An important part of NBT’s terms of reference, is to further the public debate on technology and society and to involve lay people in the discussion. Hence, the NBT also functions as an intermediary between research, politics and the public, and facilitates participatory processes as well as scenario workshops.

The Norwegian Board of Technology has a budget of approximately 1,1 million EUR per year.


Technology assessments often concern more than one committee. The Riksdag´s work with issues relating to the future therefore, wherever possible, is carried out at a cross-committee level. The committees are to cooperate in initiating joint technology assessments. The committees´ proposals and requests are submitted to the PER, which can assist in conducting the analyses. This will promote a coordinated management of issues relating to the future. The committees are encouraged to cooperate actively and to inform each other and spread examples of best practices, for example, at chairmen´s conferences and meetings of committee secretaries.

The PER works on the behalf of the committees and has thus not the mandate to initiate large projects of its own. Within the framework of a proposal the unit can, however, propose focal points and methods. Two full-time scientists are employed at the unit and external experts can be hired for scientific support and for writing background material. The unit also has one person who is mainly responsible for organising workshops, seminars etc. In addition, two temporary staff members, one via a fellowship-scheme and the other via an internship, work at the unit.

In most cases, an all-party steering group is assigned to provide guidelines for a TA assignment and to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with the Committee´s terms of reference. A contact person from the Committee secretariat is assigned to assist at the meetings with the reference group. A group of experts is also assigned to scrutinise the content of the reports.


TA-SWISS looks back onto an eventful history – and has been able to celebrate its 20th anniversary on October 29, 2012. During these 20 years, it has always been of utmost importance for TA to be performed independently of political and economic interests. This is still the highest premise today. State funding allows for the basic financing of TA-SWISS. Additionally, there is third-party funding by independent organisations. In this way, the infrastructure and the personnel of the TA-SWISS office comprising five fulltime jobs is financed. Additionally, project-specific mandates that are assigned to external interdisciplinary research groups and the organisation and execution of participative projects are remunerated by these means.

TA-SWISS acts jointly with renowned national or international research institutes or specialized departments. The assignment of a project to a research group works as follows: The specific TA aspects are clearly stated in the call for tender regarding the specific project; correspondingly, the received offers are evaluated according to these criteria. The TA-SWISS executive committee (TA-SWISS-Leitungsausschuss, LA), composed of roughly 15 members with totally different professional competences and institutional backgrounds, decides whether a project will be carried out as well as which offer to accept in the case of a study. A project manager of the TA-SWISS office then initializes the project and supervises the commissioned institution throughout the whole duration of the project. The final focus of each project always emerges through the cooperative work of and the intensive debate with all participants. Not only the research group entrusted with the project, but also the TA-SWISS office and the monitoring group provide important inputs. The latter, consisting of 10 to 20 persons with appropriate professional competences, is formed specifically for each project. It reviews the concept, the intermediate as well as the final results and thus ensures quality and a well-balanced presentation of the subject.


All POST´s activities are determined by its Parliamentary Board, composed of 10 members of the House of Commons, four from the House of Lords and, highly unusually, 4 non-parliamentary members - leading scientists and engineers with skills in particular areas of science and technology.

POST has a permanent staff of six scientific and technical specialists, a Director and two PA’s. These are complemented by the POST fellows (see below) of whom there are usually 5–6 present at any time. It is difficult to give an authoritative figure for the total annual budget of POST as many services such as accommodation, IT, training, etc. are provided centrally by the UK Parliament. However, annual direct operational costs are about 500,000 GBP.


The ITA is a research unit of the ÖAW, which for its part is one of the largest non-university research institutions in Austria with a particular focus on basic research. In accordance with the interdisciplinary approach of TA, the ITA was set up as an institute of the "Academy as a whole", not related to one of its two multidisciplinary chapters. The ITA is advised and supported by an international scientific advisory board (SAB) and is evaluated externally at six yearly intervals. Currently, the ITA has around 20 employees. Its work is financed by the Ministry of Science through the ÖAW and, accounting for roughly one third of the budget, by third-party funds (e.g. the Research Fund, various Austrian ministries, the EU etc.). The overall budget runs to around 1.5 million EUR.


The Assembly is the driving force of the Organisation in extending European co-operation to all democratic states throughout Europe. It has been behind many of the Organisation´s major initiatives such as the European Convention on Human Rights (1950) and the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (Oviedo Convention, 1997). It is consulted about the international treaties drawn up at the Council of Europe.

The Assembly speaks for 800 million Europeans citizens, acting as the democratic conscience of Greater Europe: External relations of the Assembly cover not only national parliaments of member and non-member states, but also international parliamentary assemblies and international intergovernmental organisations. The Assembly has developed its contacts with the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Benelux, the Nordic Council, PABSEC, CIS and others.

For many years the Assembly has also acted as a parliamentary forum for a certain number of intergovernmental organisations, in particular the OECD, and has developed close relations with specific organisations such as the EBRD and many of the specialised agencies of the United Nations.


The main BAS responsibilities include: supporting the legislative process with an expert advice, providing deputies with information and expert opinions and conducting research (in the area of law, economy and society) related to the legislative process. The most expanding area of responsibilities during the last years is the European law and policies (e.g. BAS provides analyses of EU institutions and legislation, for example the Bureau verifies whether draft legislation proposed by deputies is in compliance with EU law). In cooperation with the Sejm committees BAS also organises conferences and seminars.

Currently BAS employs a total of 70 full-time analysts. As the structure of employment reflects the duties performed by the Bureau, the main group of employees are lawyers (45 experts in various law specialities). The rest includes some 15 economists and specialists in such fields as social science, agriculture or environment. BAS also cooperates with numerous representatives of science and with external experts. If, for various reasons, a commissioned work cannot be done within the Bureau, it is then contracted to the external experts.

The Bureau is composed of 6 departments:

Currently it is only the Social and Economic Analyses Department that deals with questions on new technologies and TA.


The Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering (CSTE), which has conducted GAO´s seven technology assessments, is located within GAO´s Applied Research and Methods (ARM) team. CSTE is jointly directed by GAO´s Chief Scientist (Dr. Timothy M. Persons) and Chief Technologist (Dr. Nabajyoti Barkakati), and in addition to conducting technology assessments, the center conducts or supports GAO´s performance audits that relate to science and technical issues and provides other S&T support to GAO as needed. While GAO has a total staff count of approximately 3,000 individuals, as of January 2012, the total staff count within CSTE was 40 technical analysts across a spectrum of disciplines, ranging from physical sciences (physics, chemistry, and geology), engineering, computer sciences, and operations research sciences (cost engineering, earned value management, and schedule risk analysis). When conducting technology assessments, CSTE augments its capabilities by utilizing other analysts in GAO, including individuals with specialized professional knowledge within ARM, such as economists, social scientists, statisticians, methodologists, and data analysts.

© EPTA, provided by ITA; version 01/2017