Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions

The way ahead


One of the main challenges facing CAPCIT is to firmly establish itself as a body of the Parliament par excellence. The regularity of the institution´s meetings and the number of issues it deals with will depend primarily on the interest shown by the bodies and the members of the Parliament. Therefore it is a constant challenge for CAPCIT to maintain a high level of familiarity among MPs and to increase their interest in CAPCIT´s work. This is especially important in the period after an election, because new MP´s have to be familiarized with CAPCIT and its work. Another of the challenges facing CAPCIT is to set out a clearer definition of the role to be played by Catalan scientific and technical institutions in its meetings and in the preparation of the reports they draw up. One of the perceived strengths is for the various institutions to provide their opinion on the topics to be addressed; even so, when it comes to choosing the working issues it should not be overlooked that the decision-making must be conducted from a political standpoint to a certain degree.


The work of the DBT is generally highly appreciated by Danish Members of Parliament (MPs) and increasingly by politicians in the regions and municipalities. However, Denmark has, through the last 10 years, been characterized by a strong divide between left/right in politics - often referred to as "block politics". This has decreased the level of dialogue and common actions across the parliamentary room, and accordingly decreased the call for independent assessments. This tendency has been very clear with regards to a remarkable decrease in the call for parliamentary hearings during the last 5 years.

The change of the DBT into a corporate foundation needs to be seen in the light of this contemporary political situation. It will therefore be very important for the parliamentary TA function of the DBT Foundation that a closer relation between the single committees and the DBT is developed during 2013-2014.

Internationalisation of nearly all aspects of technology development and regulation is a tendency that has been accelerating very strongly through the last decade. DBT sees it as a main challenge to find ways for TA to keep up with this trend and be able to assess technology at all relevant policy levels. Some actions taken by DBT, such as the World Wide Views on Global Warming, the lately finished WWViews on Biodiversity, and the coordination of PACITA, indicates the beginning of a future, in which the Board will see internationalisation as a main challenge and a main field of activity. Increasing synergy between TA units across Europe and across the world is seen as a must for the future.

The new media reality is a challenge that needs to be confronted. Information sources become diffuse, journalism becomes more popular and less deep, the written media loses terrain, etc. TA needs to find its way in this new media world. TA is important, focuses on determining issues for society, has stories to tell and conclusions to discuss - so, the content is there to be communicated. The challenge is to redirect the communication efforts into new and more effective modes in the new media picture. It is a matter of strategy and of resources as well.


A STOA strategy for the future was discussed and adopted by the outgoing STOA Panel at the end of the 7th legislative period, in the beginning of 2014. Its main objectives were:
This is to be achieved by:
In terms of projects and events in 2016 and onwards, following the proposals received from MEPs and Committees, STOA is currently running projects on precision agriculture, e-democracy, waste management, new technologies and the social economy, technological support for people with disabilities, and additive bio-manufacturing. STOA will soon be launching projects on topics such as cyber-security, energy resilience, technologies for humanitarian situations, technologies for regional development, Horizon 2020, search engines, and transport infrastructure.


The Committee for the Future is a think tank inside the Parliament. As is the case everywhere in democracies, the division of labour within the political system means that the Government is a proactive political actor. What this means is that, taking the demands of the future into consideration, it makes proposals to the parliament, which in turn has the task of approving laws and the budget. The Government governs. The parliament can be active and a source of initiatives specifically in long-term futures policy and for this it needs an empowered and capable body that concentrates, with the aid of the methods of futures research, on these often difficult and complex matters.


On October 24 2011, the Bureau of the Flemish parliament decided to cease the activities of IST by December 31 2012. The decision on the demise of IST was prepared by a political working group, which had been installed in November 2010 by the Bureau of the Flemish parliament in order to have a political evaluation of 3 out of 4 "paraparliamentary" institutes (the Flemish Peace Institute, the Children´s Rights Commissariat and IST). In other words, this working group discussed on what could be the future of these institutes within the context of parliament. Representatives from all democratic political parties present in the Flemish parliament took part in this working group. In May 2011, the representative from the green party (Groen) decided to leave the discussions after a conflict on the objectives of this working group. The representative argued that the working group had too many prejudices and jumped too fast to closure conclusions for the different organisations.

In brief, the decision differentiates between TA advice function and TA research function of IST:

Parliament´s decision leaves an opportunity for the Flemish government to take up the TA research and/or TA functions of IST.

Parliament´s decision in October 2011 to close IST at the end of 2012 emphasized a period of significant uncertainty concerning the future of policy oriented technology assessment in Flanders and threatened to create an institutional vacuum for decision-supporting and participatory TA in Flanders. In the months following this decision, two organisations were identified by IST, the Flemish Parliament and the Flemish government which could potentially integrate the TA research function:

VRWI is the independent Flemish strategic advisory council that can act proactively or on request of the government and parliament for the policy areas science and innovation. VITO is an independent and customer-oriented research organisation that provides innovative technological solutions and scientifically based advice. Hence, while the first is much more policy oriented with links to government and parliament, the latter is much more research oriented with links to academia, industry and government.

Several choices had to be made by the key players, i.e. the Flemish parliament and the Flemish government:

In July 2012, the Flemish government then took the decision to relocate the TA research activities to the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO). This involves the transfer of a significant part of IST´s budget from parliament to the government and the opportunity for the current TA practitioners at IST to start working at VITO.

For sure, parliament´s decision to close IST has highlighted the need to reflect on the de- and re-institutionalisation process of policy oriented TA activities in Flanders. For months it was unsure whether such kind of activities would disappear or re-emerge in a different institutional context. The government´s decision to integrate TA activities of IST in VITO offers a unique opportunity to tackle limitations of the (parliamentary) TA model that has been used in Flanders of the past 10 years. It is to be expected that new ways of linking and embedding TA expertise with other innovation stakeholders and discourses will be developed over the coming months and years. Expertise that has been built up by IST is useful in this matter but will also to be matched with the ever evolving science and innovation landscape. This includes:


1. Study in progress
Outlook of the civil aviation for 2040.

2. Towards a new group of MPs members of OPECST, after the future parliamentary elections in june 2012. A new program of studies will be then launched, probably in september-october 2012.


1. Study in progress

Outlook of the civil aviation for 2040.

2. Towards a new group of MPs members of OPECST, after the future parliamentary elections in June 2012. A new programme of studies will be then launched, probably in September-October 2012.


The committee has mainly an advisory role but recently it was decided to examine more closely the Greek research and development system. The committee follows, as much as possible, the research and technology development in our country.
It tries to demonstrate the role of science, technology and innovation and how these can change the development model of the country on a path of sustainable growth and competitive economy. It highlights the characteristics and the capabilities of the Greek research system, which in turn will support the design of appropriate policies.


In the coming years, the Rathenau Instituut aims to become the national authority on objective and reliable information on scientific and technological trends that have an impact on society.

The Rathenau Instituut strives to become a trusted knowledge partner on innovation and industrial Research & Development issues, and it continues to extend its role as an independent partner to parliament and policymakers in providing evidence based strategies for the strengthening of our national science and innovation policy. It will develop a bi-annual agenda for Risk and Incident Assessments for policy departments, and a Research Agenda for Science, Innovation and Technology policies.

As science and technology policymaking gets a stronger European and international dimension with cross border aspects that have an impact on national policies , the Rathenau Instituut will both scrutinize these aspects, and will strengthen its international network of associate and parallel organisations.

It will continue to contribute to political opinion forming and societal debate, and extend Its mediating role in conflicts and controversies between parties in society, science and public administration. The institute will also focus on empowering new audiences, such as young and low skilled people; people that feel the impact of science and technology in their everyday lives, but have had little opportunities to voice their opinions about it.


After the terrorist attacks in Norway July 2011, the Prime Minister has made calls for increased safety measures that do not infringe freedom and democracy. The Board has therefore established a project on security and openness that aims at providing Parliament and the Government input for tackling this challenge.

The Board will also continue its focus on welfare and care technologies, which are also included in the EU-project PACITA. In an ageing society, welfare gains will to a large extent rely on a wise and smart development of technology. Other planned projects include the future of power supply, medical self-testing and advanced manufacturing.

We aim to develop further our participatory methods, and are currently exploring the possibilities of doing participatory methods online and with social media tools.


The work with technology assessments is still relatively new at the Swedish Parliament. The general trend is that a broader range of committees are showing interest in TA activities. Recent developments are the trials with public involvement, social media and the publication of short policy briefs. Policy briefs have recently been published on nanotechnology and health and antibiotic resistance.


Political decision-makers rely on assessments which demonstrate the consequences and social impact of technologies. The work of TA-SWISS is widely recognized for its quality and the impartiality of its assessments. It is vital for TA-SWISS to continually strive for these qualities in order to maintain support from all political sides.


POST is unlikely to see any expansion in its permanent staff numbers in the near future but its intake of parliamentary fellows has been increasing as new sponsors come forward with collaboration suggestions.

POST is currently putting considerable emphasis on targeting its output to the interests of specific groups of Members of Parliament by using geographical information on the characteristics of their constituencies. Members of the House of Lords do not have constituencies but POST is using other means to identify where they have geographical interests. A good example is the recent POST publication on Anaerobic Digestion. A database is available giving the location of the 60+ digestion facilities open or planned in the UK. By matching these to Members´ constituencies, POST has been able particularly to target the publication to their interests.


Since it was founded more than 20 years ago the Institute has established itself as an important network node of the European TA scene. One of the daily challenges is to walk the difficult line between TA´s aim to make a contribution to compatible forms of technology in the sense of providing political and social consulting on the one hand, and the institutional status within a research body that is committed to (application-open) basic research and demands scientific excellence on the other hand. Budgetary problems in the basic funding, which have led to an increased pressure for third-party funds, have so far been overcome thanks to the high level of international networking and the large demand for TA expertise within the ministries. A major chance for the future is to develop the hitherto weak relationship with the Austrian Parliament.


In 2007 BAS became an associate member of EPTA network. This has created an opportunity to learn from and cooperate with more experienced TA institutions, and consequently to strengthen parliamentary TA capacity in Poland. BAS makes a constant effort to explain and promote the concept of TA among deputies. That´s why one of the INFOS was entirely devoted to TA theory and practice and its role in decision making. TA studies will continue to play important role in BAS publication lines.

It is hoped the new standing Committee for Innovations and New Technologies, as the main addressee of TA analyses, will help to stimulate further research and TA promotion in the Parliament. BAS is also keen to establish closer relations with academic institutions involved in TA studies in Poland.


After receiving direction to establish a permanent technology assessment function, GAO drafted an operational concept memorandum for conducting technology assessments in 2008. GAO is currently reviewing and optimizing its technology assessment procedures and methodologies. Production of technology assessments is likely to remain constant at up to two reports per year, due to current demand and staffing restrictions. Communication with potential congressional requestors is continuing and follows established GAO protocols for interacting with Congress.

(c) EPTA, provided by ITA; version 01/2017