Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions


The full name of the Danish Board of Technology (DBT) is the Danish Board of Technology Foundation - Fonden Teknologiradet. DBT aims to further the technology debate, assess technological impacts and options and advise the Danish Parliament, the Government and other political decision-makers in matters pertaining to technology.


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 (Teknologiradet) 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).


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.

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 "arms´ length" from those who pay, and second, to keep certain business areas separate in their own companies if needed.


DBT conducts technology assessments with a view to generating debate and clarification among the target groups – these being politicians, industry, NGOs, experts, citizens, etc. – depending on the issue at stake. This also includes groups in society which do not necessarily already see the need of debating technology.

To assess the functionality of actual technologies is not the task of DBT. Instead the focus must be on opportunities for and impacts on people, the environment and social conditions. The objective is to clarify dilemmas and conflicts. This does not always mean that technology assessments have to conclude in recommendations for a solution; technology assessments may provide knowledge, identify joint views, conflicts and options as a step towards finding a solution.

DBT draws on the best available expertise – in the widest sense – and often across professions and sectors. Expertise may be found among the traditional academia, but it may also be found among stakeholders, users, consumers, and lay people. This wide concept of expertise ensures that many types of knowledge and different values and interests are represented in the assessments.


DBT considers it an essential task to contribute to the development of methods for assessing technology, especially in connection with methods involving the citizens, users and employees - those affected by the technology in question. DBT applies different methods for assessing technology:


The 2011 work plan of DBT includes the following issues on which projects are initiated:

Besides, DBT is working on externally financed projects, for example:


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.


DBT communicates and co-operates directly with the relevant parliamentary committees who seek advice on examining a specific subject. This advice can consist of answering specific questions from members of parliament, making information meetings for committees, arranging hearings for parliamentary committees, or providing an issue of the briefing note "From the Board to the Parliament". DBT issues a range of publications with a view to stimulating debate on technology among them reports, books, newsletters, booklets and pamphlets. The e-magazine TeknologiDebat contains news stories, background information, articles and debates, all primarily related to the projects of DBT. The website is a very important communication tool for DBT. It has around 1 million visits a year and some publications are downloaded at figures exceeding 250.000. The website delivers all publications of DBT, pages on all projects, podcasts from conferences, hearings, workshops etc., and a web-version of the eMagazine TeknologiDebat.


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.


Fonden Teknologiradet
The Danish Board of Technology Foundation
Toldbodgade 12
1253 Kobenhavn

Chairwoman of the Board of Governors: Ms Annette Toft
Director: Mr Lars Klüver

Fon  +45 33 32 05 03
Fax  +45 33 91 05 09

(c) EPTA, provided by ITA; version 03/2013