European Parliamentary Technology Assessment
The EPTA Partners advise parliaments on the possible social, economic and environmental impact of new sciences and technologies.
The common aim is to provide impartial and high quality accounts and reports of developments in issues such as for example bioethics and biotechnology, public health, environment and energy, ICTs, and R&D policy.
Such work is seen as an aid to the democratic control of scientific and technological innovations, and was pioneered in the 1970s by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) of the US Congress.
EPTA aims to advance the establishment of technology assessment as an integral part of policy consulting in parliamentary decision-making processes in Europe, and to strengthen the links between TA units in Europe.
The EPTA network was formally established in 1990 under the patronage of the President of the European Parliament, Mr Enrique Baron Crespo. The network has a light structure, guided by the EPTA Council and by meetings of the Directors of the EPTA partner organisations.
The EPTA Council is the steering committee of the EPTA network, and consists of members of Parliament or representatives of the advisory boards for the respective EPTA organisation. The council decides on organisational matters such as co-operation within the network and the status of members and associates.
The presidency of EPTA moves each year. The tasks of the EPTA member organisation holding the presidency are to coordinate the EPTA network activities and to host the annual EPTA Conference, Council Meeting and Directors' meeting.
The members of the EPTA network are European organisations, which carry out TA studies on behalf of parliaments.
The following criteria for full EPTA membership were accepted at the Council Meeting in Helsinki in October 2001:
"Regular EPTA membership can be obtained by a unit that pursues TA activities and
- Operates in Europe,
- Is devoted to TA or related activities,
- Serves the parliament,
- Has its own budget and secretariat,
- Has a competence regarding issues with a scientific and technological component, and
- Submits a written membership application."
Europe is by EPTA regarded as the geographical Europe as defined by The Council
of Europe. Associate membership can be granted to salient TA units, which have
a TA programme and resources to realise it, but do not fully live up to other
criteria for full membership. Associates are involved in all EPTA activities
but are not represented in the EPTA council. Further, units interested in the
work of EPTA can act as observers.
Parliamentary TA is institutionalised in different ways, ranging from permanent parliamentary committees for TA; separate TA units as part of the parliamentary administration; to independent institutions with a mandate to serve as a permanent consulting institution for the parliament.
EPTA can decide to make 'common EPTA projects', in which EPTA members and associates can join forces and make trans-European TA activities. EPTA projects are based upon the 'Joint EPTA Project Framework', which makes use of a bottom-up principle, according to which three or more members can initiate a project if it is open for active participation from other EPTA members. The project is decided during a Directors' meeting or Council Meeting after being scrutinised by the boards of the members. The outcome of an EPTA project is the sole responsibility of the participating members.
Member Organisations of the EPTA Council
Scientific and Technological Options Assessment (STOA), European Parliament
Teknologirådet - Danish Board of Technology (DBT)
Committee for the Future, Finnish Parliament - Tulevaisuusvaliokunta
Instituut Samenlevingen technologische (IST) - Institute Society and Technology, Flemish Parliament, Belgium
Office Parlementaire d'evaluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques (OPECST) -
Parliamentary Office for Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Options, French Parliament
Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag (TAB) - Office of Technology Assessment at the German Parliament
Committee on Technology Assessment, Greek Parliament
Comitato per la Valutazione delle Scelte Scientifiche e Tecnologiche (VAST) - Committee for Science and Technology Assessment, Italian Parliament
Rathenau Institute, Netherlands
Teknologirådet - Norwegian Board of Technology (NBT)
Zentrum für Technologiefolgen-Abschätzung - Centre for Technology Assessment at the
Swiss Science and Technology Council (TA-Swiss)
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), UK
CAPCIT (Consell Assessor del Parlament sobre Ciència i Tecnologia) -
The Advisory Board of the Parliament of Catalonia for Science and
- The Parliamentary evaluation and research unit, Swedish Parliament
Sub-Committee on Science and Ethics of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Strassbourg
Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung (ITA), Austria
Belgian Federal Office for Scientific, Technological and Cultural Affairs (OSTC), Belgium
The Bureau of Research (BAS), Polish Parliament
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), USA
The presidency of EPTA moves each year. The tasks of the EPTA member organisation holding the presidency are to coordinate the EPTA network activities and to host the annual EPTA-Conference and Council Meeting.
For the year 2013 the presidency is held by the Committee for the Future, Finland
Ms. Tuija Mäkipää
Committee for the Future
FI-00102 Parliament of Finland
Tel: +358 9 432 2091
Fax: +358 9 432 2140
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