Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions
CAPCIT is the body charged with discussing and making decisions on its
working plan and the issues about which it is necessary to prepare
technology assessment (TA) reports. Therefore, not only politicians
decide what issues must be worked on and what issues need to be
addressed in a report, the members of the scientific and technical
institutions are also involved from the outset on choosing the issues
and giving advice on the suitability of devoting time and resources to
specific topics. Furthermore, the following bodies may request CAPCIT
to work on a particular topic: the Board of the Parliament of Catalonia
and its committees.
Once CAPCIT decides that it is necessary to address a particular topic
or the issue has been put forward to the body by the Board of the
Parliament of Catalonia or any of the parliamentary committees, a
decision needs to be made as to who shall be responsible for drawing up
the report. The various alternatives are as follows:
- One of the scientific and technical institutions represented in CAPCIT should prepare the report.
The search for topics will be made in close cooperation with the Board
of Representatives and a wider network of interested parties. "Thematic meetings"
will be made, in which important projects are identified, cooperation
is established, and a financial background is being sought for.
- Preparation of the report should be
commissioned to a different scientific and technical institution and
proceedings will be initiated to appoint said institution.
The DBT foundation will initiate projects on demand from
external actors, and may establish companies, which can focus on
certain topical/business areas. It is crucial for the DBT Foundation
that such external funding can be established without compromising the
independency of the DBT, which will be managed by firstly, a set of
clear rules for keeping projects at "armsÂ´ length" from those who pay, and second, to keep certain business areas separate in their own companies if needed.
Proposals for executing technology assessment (TA) and scientific
foresight (SF) projects and organising events with a scientific and/or
technological character are submitted by the
various parliamentary committees and by individual MEPs and are
discussed by the STOA Panel, in view of
their adoption, usually based on a recommendation of the STOA Bureau.
The proposals are approved by the STOA Panel on the basis of the
following criteria (STOA Rules, Article 6):
STOA remains sovereign in the final choice of subjects and the
elaboration of the project specifications. In doing this, the Panel may
accept, modify, merge or reject proposals submitted by committees or
- the relevance of the subject to ParliamentÂ´s work;
- the scientific and technological interest of the proposal;
- the strategic importance of the proposal and its alignment with priorities defined by the STOA Panel; and
- the availability of scientific evidence covering the same subject.
Committee for the Future has the power set its
own agenda. All topics are "own" except the so called "Future report"
of the Government which is submitted from the Prime MinisterÂ´s Office
to the Parliament once during every 4 years election period. The powers
of the Committee are adequate and very permissive. It would not be
advisable to lose the character of a parliamentary think tank, which is
both of a high standard and even unique in the world, by routinely
accepting legal matters as the subjects of statements.
The IST gears its activities to the needs of
the Flemish Parliament and follows thematically the current scientific and
technological trends, which are relevant for Flanders.
The Institute carries out regularly "trend
watches", to make an inventory of the current trends in the development of
science and technology. Especially themes with a clear societal impact on
Flemish areas of responsibility are taken into consideration. The trend watch
inventory is subsequently fine-tuned in consultation with the other European TA
institutions (the EPTA network), with the Flemish scientific and technological
players, and with the responsible commissions within the Flemish Parliament. On
this basis, the Institute defines its yearly working programme. Since its
foundation, the Institute has dealt with quite a variety of issues, from "biotechnology",
through "mobility and use of energy" to "cyber bullying" and "nanotechnology".
Accordingly a broad range of methods and approaches is used. For certain
issues, only a short, explorative analysis is adequate and sufficient. Others
require in-depth research, including extensive participation of stakeholders
Matters may be referred to the OPECST by the Bureau of either Assembly
(upon its own initiative, upon the initiative of the chairman of a
political group, or upon the initiative of 60 MPs or forty Senators),
or by a committee.
Until now, the topics dealt with have belonged to four main areas:
energy, environment, new technologies and life sciences.
Some matters referred to the OPECST have been reexamined for several
years, such as problems connected with the safety and security of
nuclear installations. Others have required the updating of one of the
OPECSTÂ´s previous reports (development of the semiconductor sector,
television with digital high-definition, high-activity nuclear waste,
etc.). The renewal of referrals on such matters has enabled the OPECST
to ensure a real follow-up of certain subjects.
for TA-studies can come from one or many of the parliamentary groups in
the Committee for Education, Research and Technology Assessment as well
as any of the other committees in the German Bundestag. Under the
guidance of the committee chairwoman, the TA-rapporteurs along with the
director of TAB discuss the political and factual relevance of
requested topics. TAB submits a statement for every proposal on its
scientific workability as well as considerations of the objectives,
substance, and methods. Topics are then selected and unanimously
presented to the committee for debate and decision. A proposal is
accepted when a third of the committee members do not oppose it.
Areas, to which the Committee devotes special attention and derive topics from, are:
In these areas seeks to:
- Environment: Innovative technological applications in the areas of protection and energy saving
- Transportation: Presentation of new and alternative technology applications in reducing fuel consumption
- Information and Communication Technologies: View of best practices in education and entrepreneurship
- Health: Promoting internationally recognized medical research and
technological applications in the areas of diagnosis, treatment,
medicines and pharmaceutical industries.
- Show good practices of cooperation of laboratory and applied research
- Encourage innovative practices in the production process
- Support winning international cooperation in research and technological development
- Promotion of good practice in support of the private sector in the work of research institutions
Scientific, societal and
political developments and trends steer the Rathenau Instituut’s activities.
This is why the biannual Work Programme is designed with a brief outline of the
very developments that will primarily determine the institute’s work over
For this outline, there is
regular consultation with the Institute’s Programme Council, an advisory board whose members come
from academia, business, politics and journalism. The Rathenau Instituut’s
Board then selects the work themes, by taking the
following three criteria into consideration:
- The themes involve new technological
and/or scientific developments. This can involve the development of new fields
of science and technology or new trends within the whole science system.
- The themes are or will be
politically, socially or administratively relevant; for instance because many
citizens are directly or indirectly involved in the consequences of a certain
technology or because a scientific development may change the way in which
social issues are dealt with.
- The themes are
or will be the topic of discussion or opinion forming. In other words: they are
not yet socially, administratively or politically "ready" for introduction to
society at large.
In the Work Programme we leave space
to tackle current political and societal events, or topics from previous Work Programmes
as they often become current again. Sometimes, political and social
developments require accelerated or tailor-made investigations.
In drafting the final Work Programme, the
opinion of the House of Representatives is sought. The Work Programme is
reviewed by the Minister of Education and Science, who renders an opinion on it
and then forwards it to both Houses of Parliament.
Every second year, the Norwegian Board of
Technology decides on a core portfolio of projects for the next period. By making
a biannual work programme it is possible to cover different technologies and
policy areas (such as Climate change and low carbon technologies; eHealth and
welfare; Internet policy and privacy; Emerging technologies), as well as
Using the concept of a "core portfolio" means
that it is entirely possible for the Board to decide to move fast and decide on
new projects at any meeting. The work plan always includes some spare capacity
to be able to do spin-off projects, to follow up when the standing committees give
clear feedback or they need input, or to respond to technological developments
that were not foreseen.
In the search for new projects, the Board
invites research institutes, business and industry, private persons, public
administration and politicians to brainstorm, in order to obtain proposals for
topics and projects for the Board’s agenda. This ensures that the Boards agenda
stays transparent and open, and gives thematic inputs from many different areas
of society. In 2010 we also arranged ten "idea lunches", where the board
members invited 3–4 people of their choice to engage in conversation about the
future with our project managers.
In addition, the secretariat will develop an
analysis of societal developments, technology trends and provide an overview of
what is going on in international TA. It will also come up with project ideas.
After the idea gathering,
the secretariat makes a list with short descriptions of 50–100 project ideas.
The Board then selects approximately 20 projects for a closer scrutiny. All
ideas are then evaluated by the secretariat, using criteria such as societal
importance, technological component, political interest and added societal
value. In this phase, the Board also consults MPs and policy makers to get
relevant information and feedback, but not on a formalized level.
The Board decides on the project portfolio at a
workshop for the Board near the end of the year. This gives room for longer
discussions than at ordinary Board meetings.
submit their proposals to the PER and as a first step, other
committees, relevant to the subject, can be contacted in order to
verify their interest in cooperating in the project. A first draft with
suggestions of focal points and methods is written, often after
discussion with experts in the field. The draft is presented at a
committee meeting and the decision to commission the study is taken.
Following this, a parliamentary reference group with Members of
Parliament from all parties (in most cases) is formalised. If several
committees participate, the reference group will be composed of MPs
representing the committees involved. At a first meeting with the
reference group, the focal points and methods are discussed and decided
New topics are initialized by the TA-SWISS
office on the base of a constant monitoring of new scientific and technological
developments. Suggestions from external experts or from members of the TA-SWISS
executive committee are also integrated in this systematic survey. In this way,
subject areas are identified and within these the project managers develop
concrete proposals for projects. The TA-SWISS executive committee then decides which
new studies are taken up.
deliberately chooses projects that deal with particularly controversial
technologies and assesses their benefits
and disadvantages comprehensively. The Centre’s independence ensures
the credibility necessary for this purpose.
TA-SWISS mainly analyses developments in the fields
of biotechnology, medicine, nanotechnology and communication and information
technologies. However, the effects of social or cultural complexities are less
studied and for this reason they have been identified as a new challenge.
work programme is mapped out by its Board at quarterly meetings.
Proposals come to the Board from several sources. Most are developed by
the staff, who are engaged in a continual process of discussion with
parliamentarians, committee staff and the wider scientific and
technological community in academia, enterprise and NGOs. Individual
parliamentarians are also encouraged to make suggestions - and an
important source is also the parliamentary committees in the two
Houses. Finally, POST has received proposals from external
organisations and even individual members of the public, often conveyed
via a Board member or other individual parliamentarian.
a scientific research institute, the ITA is relatively free in setting
its focal points and determining its topics. The framework is formed by
the medium-term research programme, which is updated on an annual basis
by means of an internal meeting in which the future topics are
presented by the individual researchers and discussed in the group. The
decision-making meeting is preceded by a monitoring process which,
while being immanent in daily work at the ITA, is intensified during
the period preceding the updating of the research programme. The
programme determined in this way is submitted to the SAB, which can
As a rule the
research topics are chosen and commissioned either by parliamentary committees
or by individual deputies. The majority of BAS’ work is done on request
submitted by the two groups of clients. Apart from responding to the
parliamentary requests BAS also – on its own initiative – carries out research
and policy analysis on topics relevant to the current or forthcoming work of
the Sejm. Then the research findings are presented in BAS publications ("INFOS"
and "STUDIA BAS"). TA often appears as a component of those analyses.
GAO initiates work (including technology assessments) in one of three ways (in order of the priority of the work):
GAO also initiates work under the authority of the head of GAO (the
Comptroller General of the United States) to invest in significant
current or emerging issues that may affect the nationÂ´s future and
address issues of broad interest to the Congress.
When a request for a technology assessment is received or
developed through one of these three mechanisms, GAO may begin work on
it if staff resources are available and the topic is sufficiently
distinct from other work already in progress.
- Congressional mandates;
- Letter of request from senior congressional leaders or a chairman
or ranking member of a congressional committee or subcommittee;
- Individual member requests, with additional consideration given to requests from members who are on a committee of jurisdiction.
(c) EPTA, provided by ITA; version 01/2017