Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions



As in other industrialized countries, public debates on technology assessment (TA) started in Germany in 1972–1973, prompted by the creation of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) of the U.S. Congress and the prior intensive debate on TA and its institutionalisation. This debate only bore fruit in 1989 with a parliamentary resolution to create the »Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag«. The organisational model adopted has two key features.

The Governing Political Body

The Research and Technology Committee, which was given the responsibility for initiating TA investigations and controlling them politically, was renamed »Committee for Research, Technology and Technology Assessment«. The Committee’s secretariat was expanded in line with these new responsibilities.

The Operational TA Unit

Under the terms of the Bundestag resolution, an appropriate scientific institution outside Parliament must be selected through tender and commissioned to establish and operate the TA unit. The legal basis for this is a supplement to section 56 of the Bundestag’s Rules of Procedure. The TA unit to be established will work exclusively for the Bundestag. It has to ensure parliament-specific presentation and communication of the results of its work.

On 29 August 1990, after a tendering procedure and at the proposal of the then Committee on Research and Technology, a contract was signed with the Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Centre for a three-year pilot phase and the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) was founded. Since then, it has been operated by the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) Centre (before 1995 it was named AFAS, Department for Applied Systems Analysis) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), a merger of the Karlsruhe Research Centre and the University of Karlsruhe.

After the conclusion of the pilot phase, the German Bundestag decided on 4 March 1993 to establish a permanent advisory institution »Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag«, as a result of the positive findings of the responsible Committee for Research, Technology and Technology Assessment. Since that time, the TA unit is run on the basis of a series of contracts with a duration of five years each. The last major change was in 2002 the decision that ITAS would cooperate in specific areas with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Karlsruhe. The current contract runs till September 2013.


Chapter Institutionalisation - all countries

Country Report Germany



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