Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions


In 2006, the Riksdag – the Swedish Parliament – adopted new guidelines concerning the work of the committees on research and future issues. The guidelines imply, among other things, that technology assessments will be included more often in committee reports.

TAs are performed with the aim of providing the committees with an evaluation of the consequences of research findings and the introduction of new technology concerning both opportunities and risks. The overall goal is to provide the Parliament with high-quality background material which can be used in debates, committee reports and for evidence-based decisions.


From 2007, the committees have been able to submit proposals and requests to the Parliamentary Evaluation and Research Unit (PER), which can assist in conducting technology assessments (TAs) within different areas. The unit, situated at the Committee services division, works on behalf of the committees of the Riksdag. Sweden has thus adopted the »Parliamentary unit model« which means that the parliament has its own office for TA studies.


Technology assessments often concern more than one committee. The Riksdag´s work with issues relating to the future therefore, wherever possible, is carried out at a cross-committee level. The committees are to cooperate in initiating joint technology assessments. The committees´ proposals and requests are submitted to the PER, which can assist in conducting the analyses. This will promote a coordinated management of issues relating to the future. The committees are encouraged to cooperate actively and to inform each other and spread examples of best practices, for example, at chairmen´s conferences and meetings of committee secretaries.

The PER works on the behalf of the committees and has thus not the mandate to initiate large projects of its own. Within the framework of a proposal the unit can, however, propose focal points and methods. Two full-time scientists are employed at the unit and external experts can be hired for scientific support and for writing background material. The unit also has one person who is mainly responsible for organising workshops, seminars etc. In addition, two temporary staff members, one via a fellowship-scheme and the other via an internship, work at the unit.

In most cases, an all-party steering group is assigned to provide guidelines for a TA assignment and to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with the Committee´s terms of reference. A contact person from the Committee secretariat is assigned to assist at the meetings with the reference group. A group of experts is also assigned to scrutinise the content of the reports.


Committees 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 upon.


Generally, the TA projects start at the beginning of the year and the report is finalised and released at the end of the year in connection with the budget debate. A seminar is often held initially with different experts in order to involve MPs and to present the state of the art in the field. The presentations and discussions are summarised and communicated to the MPs via the intranet of the Parliament.

External experts are, whenever necessary, engaged to write background material. An expert group is also formed with the task of scrutinising the report with regard to its content and to ensure the balance of different aspects. The expert group will also help to formulate the conclusions of the study.

The parliamentary reference group discusses the final report and the concluding remarks. In most cases, a public hearing is held at the Riksdag when the report has been printed in order to both discuss the content of the report and to supplement the content with other aspects. The seminar is webcast and broadcast on television. These seminars are also open to the public.

Most of the TA projects, so far, have been expert-based but trials with public involvement have been carried out. Social media have also been used in order to involve the public. Some of the assignments from the committees have been inventory studies in different scientific areas and these can be used in order to:


The topics have covered different subjects since 2007, many of which have a bearing on the environment and sustainable development. Recent assignments have focused mainly on health issues.


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 reports are published in the Riksdag Report Series and can be downloaded from the website ( Short versions with conclusions of the larger reports are compiled in Swedish and English. A website has been published on the Riksdag intranet summarising the work on research and future issues. The website will also shortly be available on the official Riksdag website


TA - reports are often cited in committee reports and in chamber debates but can also be used in other forums such as the government, local authorities etc. Most of the committee seminars are webcast and broadcast on television.


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.


Evaluation and Research Secretariat at
the Swedish Parliament
Committee Department
Sveriges Riksdag
100 12 Stockholm

Helene Limén
Senior Research Officer, PhD

Fon  +46 8 786 57 92

© EPTA, provided by ITA; version 19 Oct 2012