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
institutionÂ´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 CAPCITÂ´s work. This is especially important in the period
after an election, because new MPÂ´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
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:
- ensuring that STOA will continue to provide sound and relevant policy advice to Members;
- ensuring that STOA remains proactive and its products and
working methods keep pace with rapid technological and political
- achieving optimal dissemination and awareness of STOA results
and activities, reaching out to all Members, relevant scientists and
the wider public.
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.
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.
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 ChildrenÂ´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
In brief, the decision differentiates between TA advice function and TA research function of IST:
- consolidating STOA's strategic role within the EP by endowing
STOA with a foresight role in the area of science and technology and by
reinforcing its cooperation with committees;
- ensuring STOA products best serve EP's needs by long-term
programming of activities and ensuring an optimal balance between
- optimising the use of resources.
ParliamentÂ´s decision leaves an opportunity for the
Flemish government to take up the TA research and/or TA functions of
ParliamentÂ´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
Its TA advice function could be delegated to a committee that
consists of parliamentarians and scientists. Reference is made here to
the current Catalan PTA model, where the president of the parliament is
also chairman of this committee.
Its TA research function will disappear. The Flemish parliament
does not see itself as having to play a direct role in financing
research at universities or other research organisations. It based its
decision on the premise that parliament cannot finance research: what
can be done better elsewhere should be done there.
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:
the Flemish Council for Science and Innovation (VRWI)
the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)
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
ISTÂ´s budget from parliament to the government and the opportunity for
the current TA practitioners at IST to start working at VITO.
For sure, parliamentÂ´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 governmentÂ´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:
Concerning the TA advice function:
The Flemish parliament had to decide if and how it wanted to
incorporate the TA advice function in its own activities. In the months
following October 2011 it became soon clear that the initial suggestion
to implement the introduction of the Catalan parliamentary TA model
into the Flemish parliament was abandoned.
Concerning the TA research function:
The Flemish parliamentÂ´s decision of October 2011 was clear: the
parliament wished no longer to take up any role in TA research
activities and asked the Flemish government whether it is interested in
taking over TA activities of IST.
1. Study in progress
finding an effective balance between TA activities stimulating
public discourses and supporting existing and new policy initiatives on
science and technology issues,
positioning TA in the Flemish innovation landscape as a visible
knowledge actor that is a contact point for politicians, interested
citizens and science, technology & innovation promoters,
linking TA with other science and innovation discourses that are
used in national and transnational policy areas, academia and industry,
constructing organised reflection on short-term, salient and
immediately political/societal relevant issues and long-term, slow and "under the radar" collective interest goals.
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
then launched, probably in September-October 2012.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 MembersÂ´ constituencies, POST has been able
particularly to target the publication to their interests.
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 TAÂ´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
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. ThatÂ´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.
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
(c) EPTA, provided by ITA; version 01/2017