IST - Institute Society and Technology
A brief history
The Flemish Regional Parliament and Government are responsible for legislation and policy in the fields of education, environment, and science and technology policy, though some competences are shared with the Belgian federal level. In Flanders the emergence of parliamentary TA as a multidisciplinary practice has come a few years after it happened in neighbouring countries. In the past, TA was conducted mainly by autonomous semi-governmental institutes and at universities.
However, it became increasingly difficult to ignore the ever more intensive social and public debate on waste disposal, genetic engineering and food safety (dioxins). The last became a key issue in the 1999 general elections and in November 1999, a proposal for a TA institution was laid before the Flemish Parliament and discussed in Joint Committees. In June 2000, the Flemish Parliament voted for the establishment of a parliamentary TA institution. viWTA, the Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment, became operational in April 2002. In 2009 the institute changed name and became IST; Institute Society & Technology
IST in the Flemish Parliament
IST is first and foremost a parliamentary TA institution. It is one of the few institutions attached to Flemish Parliament, though it functions independently of the parliamentary committees. Half the seats on the 16-strong Board of Directors, as well as the presidency of the Institute, are reserved for members of Parliament. The other members on the board represent scientific, academic and socio-economic institutions, i.e. the Flemish Board for Science Policy (VRWB), the Social and Economic Council of Flanders (SERV), the Environment and Nature Council of Flanders (MINA) and the Flemish Health Board (VGR).
IST’s research areas include both foresight studies and upstream TA as well as analysis of current technological developments by promoting public debate. This provides a consistent stream of information on the interaction between society and technology, to the benefit of Parliament, interest groups and the general public.
IST has an advisory role in which it addresses questions from the Flemish Parliament on science and technology policy. However, IST defines its working program independently, and the director has, if he considers it essential, the right to be heard in Parliament.
List all projects
Director: Robby Berloznik
IST, Instituut Samenleving en Technologie
B- 1011 Brussel
Tel +32(0)2/552 40 50
Fax +32(0)2/552 44 50