Draft minutes of the EPTA Directors' Meeting

Belfast, March 20th, 2002


Sergio Bellucci, Robby Berloznik, Graham Chambers, David Cope (Chair), Alessandro De Franciscis, Jane Farrell, Daniele Franz, Andrew Hardie, Leonhard Hennen, Lars Kluver, Osmo Kuusi, Markku Markkula, Petr Mateju, Antonio Menè, Paul Naesje, Aziz Naji, Seamus O’Tuama, Kostas Papadimitriou, Peter Pechan, Walter Peissl, Jean Francois Peyrot, Jacqui Russell, Jan Stamen, Tore Tennoe.

  1. Welcome and Introduction
    Those attending were welcomed to Stormont and to the Northern Ireland Assembly by John Power. Professor David Cope, Director of POST, assumed the chair.
  2. Work Programmes
    Each EPTA institution reported on current and future work plans. The details are listed in the annex to the minutes. It was agreed that, prior to future meetings, a one page written summary of the current future work programme of each EPTA institution would be circulated. This will give more time for consideration and for discussion at the meeting itself.
  3. The annex also contains information on significant recent developments at member organisations.
  4. Evaluation
    The Finnish Committee for the Future, STOA and the Swiss Centre for Technology Assessment reported that they are currently having, or are shortly about to have, an evaluation of their work. It was agreed that, where it could contribute to the success of the evaluation, the Presidency should write to the evaluating organisation describing the involvement of the institution with EPTA. This should be done at the invitation of the member organisation being evaluated.
  5. Application for membership
    Directors were reminded of the criteria for membership that were agreed at the 2001 Council meeting. Full EPTA membership can be obtained by a unit that:
    • operates in Europe
    • is devoted to TA or related activities
    • serves a parliament
    • has its own budget and secretariat
    • has a competence regarding issues with a scientific and technological component
    • submits a written membership application.

    Any other TA organisation may join as associate members. The presidency may invite representatives of other organisations to attend EPTA meetings as observers.

  6. The inclusion of TA institutions serving regional parliaments as full members of EPTA was discussed. It was agreed that decisions on membership should be made on a case by case basis using the criteria above.
  7. There was general recognition that as EPTA expands, decision making may become more complex. It was agreed that any decisions made by EPTA should be by consensus and that procedures for voting were not needed.
  8. At the 2001 Council meeting, the Swiss Centre for Technology Assessment, VIWTA and the Norwegian Board of Technology had indicated that they intended to apply to be full members of EPTA. POST, as President for 2002, was authorised to take these applications forward. Application letters had been received from the Swiss Centre for Technology Assessment and VIWTA, both of whom were welcomed as full EPTA members. The Norwegian Board of Technology would be accepted as members following submission of an appropriate application letter to POST.
  9. Council and conference 2002
    The Annual EPTA Council and Conference will take place in the Houses of Parliament, London on October 21/22, 2002, with a possible site visit on the 23rd. The overarching theme will be 'Transport and Mobility'. It was agreed that the conference should primarily be an opportunity for EPTA members to present their own work, rather than having presentations from third parties. Any suggestions for presentation/workshops should be sent to Jacqui Russell (russellja@parliament.uk).
  10. EPTA website
    It was agreed at the meeting that:
    • TAB are happy to host the EPTA website on their server and to pay for the registration of the domain name www.eptanetwork.org.
    • That the EPTA presidency organisation will maintain the content of the website.
    • A password will allow the presidency to access the TAB server in order to maintain the website. This would be the only information that needs to be transferred from one presidency to another. This should enable rapid and smooth transfer of the responsibility for maintaining the site from one presidency to the next.
    • The Presidency will circulate the membership of the mailing list to all Directors every 3 months.

    Update: TAB is not currently able to host the EPTA website. As a temporary measure the www.eptanetwork.org domain name has been transferred to POST.

  11. Presidency
    The Swiss Centre for Technology Assessment confirmed that they would be pleased to take the Presidency for 2003.
  12. OPECST indicated that they would be willing to take the Presidency for 2004.
  13. ENSIPP (European Network on Scientific Input to Public Policy)
    Seamus O’Tuama of University College, Cork, Ireland introduced the work of ENSIPP. The network will be active for a further year after which it is hoped to disseminate the network’s activities on the contribution of science to public policy. Further information is available from www.ucc.ie/ensipp/.
  14. Joint working
    DTB, POST, the Swiss Centre for Technology Assessment and TAB are working together on a project looking at Technology Assessment Methods and Impact (TAMI), funded by the European Commission, in collaboration with other research groups in Poland, the Czech Republic and Spain. The project is co-ordinated by the European Academy at Bad Neuenahr. The project team would welcome the participation of other EPTA organisations in the discussion meetings, to be held on 20/21 June in Brussels, 17/18 October in Bad Neuenahr and 12/13 December in either Madrid or Berne. EPTA Directors interested in attending meetings should contact either David Cope (coped@parliament.uk) or Leo Hennen (hennen@tab.fzk.de).
  15. Building on the work in the above project, POST and TAB have applied for funding to explore in more depth, directly with their respective parliaments, in a comparative study, the expectations that Parliamentarians place on the offices and how effectively these expectations are being achieved.
  16. Sergio Bellucci reported on an Italian initiative in the field of aerospace and circulated a paper to Directors.
  17. IPTS Meeting
    The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies in Sevilla are holding a conference on 13/14 May on Technology Foresight in the EU. Details are available on their website www.jrc.es/welcome.html
  18. Any Other Business
    Lars Kluver reported that the Danish Board of Technology was considering the production of a magazine on technology assessment and invited comments from those present.
  19. Graham Chambers updated the meeting on some information he had given at the last Council meeting in Helsinki on the ‘Aircar’ technology (www.theaircar.com) and proposed, given the theme of the forthcoming EPTA Conference, that Directors might like to make a visit to the production site in France. (Subsequently, this has turned out not to be possible for the moment).
  20. Any amendments either to these draft minutes should be sent to Jacqui Russell (russellja@parliament.uk) by June 28th 2002.
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