Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions



Switzerland is known for its direct democracy. Citizens can participate in decision making with regard to their individual and their communal life. However, those who have felt the need for an institution carrying out technology assessment (TA) have formed a different opinion: »In our developed democracy it is possible to vote on milk prices but ... not on the great challenges ... as for instance the adoption (or the renunciation) of new technologies«, explains René Longet, a former National assembly member. It was Longet who demanded an institutionalised technology assessment in order to encourage public debate on science and society, technology and democracy.

In 1991, the Swiss Science and Technology Council (SSTC) was granted a mandate to originate a technology assessment programme for the years 1992 to 1995. The SSTC was assigned to the Federal Department of Home Affairs (Eidgenössisches Departement des Innern, EDI). After a successful test phase, the mandate was extended and became statutory as part of the Swiss federal law on scientific research (Schweizerisches Bundesgesetz über die Forschung). Thereby, technology assessment was definitely accepted into the scope statement of the SSTC. Another amendment followed in 2007. The issue of the administrative affiliation of TA-SWISS was taken up again. As in a few other European countries, technology assessment was entrusted to the academies of sciences, in this case to the Swiss Academies of Art and Sciences (Akademien der Wissenschaften Schweiz). Since January 1, 2008, TA-SWISS has become a centre of excellence and an organisation unit of its own within the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. 
This independence has been formally acknowledge by TA-SWISS becoming a foundation in October 2016. A foundation council with six members representing the political and academic world is now responsible for the overall management of TA-SWISS.


Chapter Institutionalisation - all countries

Country Report Switzerland



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