Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions

Target Groups


CAPCIT is a specialist body of the Parliament of Catalonia, though its work does not merely affect the 9 MPs who are among its members. The counselling given on scientific and technical issues and the gathering of information concerns all the bodies of the Parliament of Catalonia and their members. Accordingly, CAPCIT distributes the reports prepared by the various scientific and technical institutions among all parliamentary groups who are then required to forward them to the MPs. Likewise, depending on the topic, CAPCIT will send its reports directly to the respective competent parliamentary committees. In a case such as the one relating to the reports on genetic engineering, it was deemed pertinent to forward the reports to the association promoting the popular legislative initiative which collected signatures to call for genetically modified crops to be banned.


The target groups are defined for each topic as part of the methodological choice. Methods and communication means are chosen to involve those actors who can make change. This often involves Parliament as target group together with other important actors. DBT separates between »need-to-know« and »nice-to-know« target groups. The strategy for needs-to-know is to establish direct collaboration (involvement) with the target groups around the assessment, since that ensures the optimal communication situation. Nice-to-know target groups are mostly reached through workshops, conferencing, publications, newsletters and the press.


The work and products of STOA are primarily intended to aid MEPs in their decision-making. The staff of the EP and other European institutions may find STOA studies and events informative and useful for their work.

STOA studies are systematically published on the STOA website and the EP Think Tank pages, and the events are open to the public and also webstreamed for those unavailable to attend in person. Therefore, since the activities of STOA are accessible to anyone who is interested, researchers and experts, policy-makers in countries around the world, other TA institutions, but also civil society organisations and other citizens may read and use those of interest to them.


The Committee for the Future deliberates parliamentary documents referred to it and, when requested to do so, makes submissions to other committees on futures-related matters, which are included in their spheres of responsibility and have a bearing on development factors and development models of the future. The Committee conducts research associated with futures studies, including their methodology. The Committee also functions as a parliamentary body that conducts assessments of technological development and the effects on society of technology.

By this way The Committee is then bridging the Government, the Parliament and Finnish Civil Society. The Committee should once in a parliamentary term conduct a general exploration of the state of Finland and the related scenarios and/or futures map. Efforts are made to create joint steering groups with other committees and arrange joint evaluation seminars and also to devise streamlined methods for producing statements and comments. In accordance with the idea on which the Committee is founded, the broad scope of its tasks and a high level of Government-Parliament dialogue, the cabinet member with foremost responsibility is the Prime Minister, who also chairs the Research and Innovation Council.

Regional meetings alone and together with the corresponding ministry, i.e. the Prime Minister´s Office, have been increased. During the current parliamentary term, especially the cooperation with the business world, municipal committees for the future as well as youth councils that have been stepped up will be continued. This theme (Open Committee) was addressed from several different perspectives in autumn 2011: from the perspectives of direct democracy, social media and crowdsourcing, with a view to strengthening the formulation of the Parliament´s futures-oriented policies as well as also from the perspective of rationalising the Committee´s own work.


The main target group of the IST is first and foremost the members of the Flemish Parliament. The Institute is aware of the fact that a TA project can only lead to the desired impact, if the political network and the general public are well informed and if the policy options are perfectly clear. Communication is paramount to achieve that goal, provided that

…it is tailored to the target group;

Scientific reports are relevant for scientists and for the knowledge building within the Institute. Nevertheless, to address specific target groups, including policymakers, specially adapted and attractive means of communication should be put into action. …it joins reality; It is key to communicate at the appropriate moment. As far as the content is concerned, communication should keep in touch with reality.

…it considers the media as partners;

Properly communicating with the media is crucial, not only with specialist journals or with the so-called quality newspapers, but also with the popular papers, magazines, radio, television, and on the internet. The media constitute a very important factor in raising public and political opinion.

…it is supported by the organisation as a whole;

The dissemination of the results of a TA research should not be limited to the director and the communication manager. It is the responsibility of every TA researcher to propagate the results of his or her project.

…it is a continuous effort.

The actual work only begins when a study comes to an end and the results are being published. TA will only have an impact if its results are continuously communicated and commented, in a way that appeals to people and makes it belong to various contexts. In other words, TA communication also takes place outside the offices and the meeting rooms.


First, Members of parliament. But also research institutions, academies of science, universities and civil society.


In accordance with its mandate, the work of TAB is focused on the German Bundestag. An important role in parliamentary proceedings is played by the committees to which TAB reports are routinely forwarded for deliberation. These committees are crucial actors in using and disseminating the findings of TAB. Over time, the range of committees initiating TA studies (and discussing TAB reports) has grown considerably.

Besides this primary audience, all other Members of Parliament, parliamentary committees, staff of the parliamentary political parties and of Members of Parliament as well as the Scientific Service of German Bundestag comprise the audience for and potential users of the results of TA processes. In addition there are study commissions, to which there are often close informal contacts. The Federal and State ministries also follow the work of TAB with close interest. Finally, companies, government agencies, research institutions and educational institutions and - not least - interested members of the public also call upon TAB findings.

Parliamentary TA is also designed as a forum for public discussion. Intensive communication of project results, e.g. by presentations at public sessions of the Committee, workshops with experts and representatives of societal organisations (interest groups, NGOs), and press conferences and discussions enhance the visibility of parliamentary TA. In this way it becomes clear to a broad public that German Bundestag is also looking beyond daily business, to take a scientifically well-based approach to long-term prospects in technological and social development.


The main target group where the Committee communicates its findings is the Hellenic Parliament. All special standing committees after the study of a topic, submits a report to the Speaker.
Each committee at the end of every parliamentary year also submits a report to the Plenary, which is recorded in the minutes and on which a debate follows, without a vote at a special meeting at the beginning of the next year.


The target groups of the Rathenau Instituut consist of both Houses of Parliament, government, policymakers and other national public institutions and decision-makers, science and technology organisations, the European Parliament.

For strengthening the public debate, the Rathenau Instituut focuses on reaching the national media and through them the wider general public, and on reaching and involving issue-related stakeholders, such as citizens, NGOs, businesses and other interested parties.


The Board´s main target for communicating its work is the Parliament. Here, all the different political parties are represented, and there is also a broad field of topics represented in the standing committees. The Government is also an important addressee, and is often approached after the initial presentation of conclusions and recommendations to the Parliament.

Another important target group is the public. The terms of reference state that the Board should actively stimulate public debate on technology related issues and raise public awareness concerning the impacts and options of technology. The press plays an important role in reaching the public and raising new items on the societal agenda.


The committees are the main target group for the PER. Reports and seminars are planned in collaboration with committee groups in order to formulate the assignments in accordance with the needs of the committees. Some committees have been very active since 2007 and over time a broader range of committees have in one way or the other been involved in TA activities. As described above, TA projects can be performed at a cross-committee level. Involving more than one committee has two main advantages: the results of the assignment are spread to a wider group of MPs and the involvement of a cross-committee reference group implies that the subject is treated in a wider context.

Even if committees are the main target group, reports are disseminated to a wider audience such as the government, authorities, universities, and NGOs etc. Seminars are also broadcast on television. Trials using social media have been carried out in order to invite the public to discuss specific issues within an ongoing project.


The recommendations resulting from TA projects are intended to be used by parliament and the Federal council as an aid for decision making – especially when controversial technology topics are being discussed. In addition, the project results are communicated to interested politicians, to experts in the fields of science and administration, as well as to the media and interested citizens.


The primary target for POST´s activities is individual members of either of the two Houses of the UK Parliament. Parliamentary committees of either House (sometimes, joint committees) are another important target. POST also engages extensively with government departments and the wider scientific and technological communities within the UK and overseas, while strictly maintaining its parliamentary independence. Part of its role is to demonstrate to these interests that the UK Parliament possesses the analytical capacity that is POST.

All POST publications are also made available to the public at large and are used extensively in higher and further education curricula.


As a political and advisory instrument, the aim of TA is not only a reflective analysis of social changes that result from technological innovations but above all the provision of information and advice to decision-makers. The possible technology-policy actors in the public sector include Parliament, the administration, federations and other public institutions, and the ITA has conducted work for all of these.

As occurred in a number of other European countries, the ITA also worked directly for Parliament in the early days of its existence. The reasons why this institutionalisation of TA at Parliament was not continued are to be found both on the level of actors and financing. Furthermore, there is also the legitimate question of whether Parliament is the "right place" for technology policy discussions and decisions within Austria´s realpolitik structures. There are, however, links to Parliament at personal level, since ITA staff is regularly invited as experts to Parliamentary hearings. Since 2007, these relationships have again been cultivated more intensively. Thus in 2008, an information discussion was held in the National Council concerning the possible parliamentary institutionalisation of TA. In 2009, the ITA had the opportunity to present itself in detail to the Committee for Research, Innovation and Technology. Representatives of all parties welcomed a closer cooperation between Parliament and the ITA. Since 2011 the self-description of the Parliamentary committee of Research, Technology and Innovation includes a direct reference to TA; negotiations regarding a closer relationship between Parliament and ITA are under way.

Otherwise, in accordance with technology policy reality in Austria, the ITA focuses its main attention on those elements of the administration that are in close proximity to the political actors through the provision of advice to various federal ministries and the Council for Research and Technology. Furthermore, ITA addresses at the international level the EU, and in particular the European Commission and, most recently, the EU Parliament within the framework of the European Technology Assessment Group (ETAG).


As for all the work of the Assembly, the key target groups are: Of course, all the Assembly reports are also intended to reach European citizens, in order to raise awareness and gain their support for policy proposals and guidelines addressed to state authorities.


BAS works primarily for the parliamentary committees and MPs. Public participation projects or projects aimed at communication towards broader public have not been undertaken yet.

In previous years several parliamentary committees in the Sejm debated over subjects with an important TA component (e.g. GMO and biotechnology - Agriculture Committee; deployment of nuclear energy - Economy Committee; mitigation of CO2 emission - Environment Committee) but so far the TA as such has not been in a centre of parliamentary debate. Until recently there was no science and technology committee in the Sejm (such committees are usually the most effective bodies promoting development of parliamentary TA). This situation has changed with the establishment of new standing Committee for Innovation and New Technologies (October 2010). The Committee´s main field of interest is promotion of smart economic growth through widespread application of innovation and new technologies. The Committee´s agenda includes also some TA issues. One on the first joint projects undertaken by BAS in cooperation with the Committee for Innovation was a debate devoted to digital exclusion and financial services for generation 50+. Recently (January 2012), BAS on the request of the Committee organised a conference on innovativeness of Polish economy.


GAO work, including technology assessments, is primarily written to respond to the legal mandate or congressional request that initiated the work. However, GAO reports are also issued to other relevant committees and members of Congress, and in keeping with its mission of accountability, the GAO customarily posts as many of its products as possible on the website for public consumption and use.

© EPTA, provided by ITA; version 01/2017