Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions



Many of the issues coming before the European Parliament (EP) nowadays have a scientific or technological dimension to them. Technological and scientific advances lie at the heart of economic growth, and it is necessary to understand the impact of these technologies and how to best support scientific and technological innovation.
In this context, there is a growing need for legislators and policy-makers at national and European level to rely on independent, impartial and accessible information about developments in science and technology (S&T), the opportunities they offer, but also the risks they entail and their ethical implications.

STOA´s mission

The launch of STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment), in 1987, was the European Parliament'´s response to this need.
The main components of the STOA´s mission are (STOA Rules, Article 1):

Brief STOA history

In October 1985, the EP adopted a report "on the establishment of a European Parliament Office for Scientific and Technological Option Assessment", which stressed "the particular needs of the standing committees and political groups in technical and political decision-making, which can be met only by an autonomous technology assessment office" and proposed "that a European Parliament office for scientific and technological option assessment should be set up ... to coordinate assessment work and award external contracts in support of its work".

Following a decision by the EP Bureau in June 1986, STOA was officially launched in March 1987 as an 18-month pilot project, at the end of which, in September 1988, the EP Bureau authorised STOA to continue its work on a permanent basis, on condition that it make its services available to all standing parliamentary committees. As such, STOA celebrated its 20 years of existence in 2007 with a major exhibition ("The STOA Experience") during the EP plenary session in Strasbourg in June of that year. In 2012 STOA marked its 25th anniversary with a very successful event on the discovery of the scalar boson predicted by R. Brout, F. Englert and P.Higgs, followed by a festive reception attended by all past STOA Chairmen.

STOA’s activities were initially governed by a series of Bureau Decisions, which were assembled in the Consolidated Internal Rules of Procedure of STOA and approved by the EP Bureau on 25 October 1999. On 13 January 2003, the EP Bureau adopted STOA Rules defining the nature of STOA, describing STOA bodies and setting the framework conditions for STOA projects. These rules were in force until the end of the 1999–2004 legislative period, whereupon the new STOA Rules, approved by the EP Bureau on 19 April 2004, entered into force.

In 2009, the STOA Rules were further modified, based on proposals submitted by the EP Vice-President responsible for STOA. The main purpose of these modifications was to add a European dimension to STOA’s mission and include an additional criterion for selecting STOA projects in alignment with the priorities defined by the STOA Panel, as well as to stipulate a second Vice-Chairman and simplify certain procedures. In 2015 the Rules were modified once again to account for the increase in STOA membership: from 15 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) representing six EP Committees, to 24 Members from eight Committees.


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