Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions
CAPCIT is a specialist body of the Parliament of Catalonia, though its
work does not merely affect the 9 MPs who are among its members. The
counselling given on scientific and technical issues and the gathering
of information concerns all the bodies of the Parliament of Catalonia
and their members. Accordingly, CAPCIT distributes the reports prepared
by the various scientific and technical institutions among all
parliamentary groups who are then required to forward them to the MPs.
Likewise, depending on the topic, CAPCIT will send its reports directly
to the respective competent parliamentary committees. In a case such as
the one relating to the reports on genetic engineering, it was deemed
pertinent to forward the reports to the association promoting the
popular legislative initiative which collected signatures to call for
genetically modified crops to be banned.
The target groups are defined for each topic as part of the
methodological choice. Methods and communication means are chosen to
involve those actors who can make change. This often involves
Parliament as target group together with other important actors.
DBT separates between »need-to-know« and »nice-to-know« target groups.
The strategy for needs-to-know is to establish direct collaboration
(involvement) with the target groups around the assessment, since that
ensures the optimal communication situation. Nice-to-know target groups
are mostly reached through workshops, conferencing, publications,
newsletters and the press.
- The expert communities may be target groups when the
topic involves new orientation of research and innovation, or if
research ethics (responsible research and innovation) may be of
importance. There may be a need for bridge-building between academic
communities, or it may be good to introduce self-reflexion among
scientists on the societal impact of their research. Often this may be
facilitated by involving the experts directly in the assessments,
thereby making the assessments and effectively communicating them at
the same time.
- Stakeholders may be very important actors if change is going
to be induced. It may be that different stakeholders are blocking each
other, thereby inhibiting the necessary change. Or, stakeholders may
act on very different kinds of knowledge from which they define their
opposing positions. Mediation and knowledge sharing therefore may be
components in the involvement of stakeholders. Stakeholders are strong
communicators to policy-makers if they back up the assessments and
often they may even be able to induce change directly through their
- Citizens can be important target groups for technology
assessment, but cannot be reached directly because of the limited
resources available. Therefore, citizens mainly can be reached through
the media, which makes the press an important primary target group.
- Political decision-makers are most often a primary
target group because of the importance of legislation in many
technology fields, and because of the agenda-setting function of
Parliament. In a broader sense, political decision-makers (region,
municipalities) are important for administrative policy-making on
environment, health, education, infrastructure etc. Accordingly, DBT
considers all levels of political decision-making when selecting target
The work and products of STOA are primarily intended to aid MEPs in
their decision-making. The staff of the EP and other European
institutions may find STOA studies and events informative and useful
for their work.
STOA studies are systematically published on the STOA website and the EP Think Tank
pages, and the events are open to the public and also webstreamed for
those unavailable to attend in person. Therefore, since the activities
of STOA are accessible to anyone who is interested, researchers and
experts, policy-makers in countries around the world, other TA
institutions, but also civil society organisations and other citizens
may read and use those of interest to them.
Committee for the Future deliberates parliamentary documents referred
to it and, when requested to do so, makes submissions to other
committees on futures-related matters, which are included in their
spheres of responsibility and have a bearing on development factors and
development models of the future. The Committee conducts research
associated with futures studies, including their methodology. The
Committee also functions as a parliamentary body that conducts
assessments of technological development and the effects on society of
By this way The Committee is then bridging the Government, the
Parliament and Finnish Civil Society. The Committee should once in a
parliamentary term conduct a general exploration of the state of
Finland and the related scenarios and/or futures map. Efforts are made
to create joint steering groups with other committees and arrange joint
evaluation seminars and also to devise streamlined methods for
producing statements and comments. In accordance with the idea on which
the Committee is founded, the broad scope of its tasks and a high level
of Government-Parliament dialogue, the cabinet member with foremost
responsibility is the Prime Minister, who also chairs the Research and
Regional meetings alone and together with the corresponding
ministry, i.e. the Prime Minister´s Office, have been increased. During
the current parliamentary term, especially the cooperation with the
business world, municipal committees for the future as well as youth
councils that have been stepped up will be continued. This theme (Open
Committee) was addressed from several different perspectives in autumn
2011: from the perspectives of direct democracy, social media and
crowdsourcing, with a view to strengthening the formulation of the
Parliament´s futures-oriented policies as well as also from the
perspective of rationalising the Committee´s own work.
main target group of the IST is first and foremost the members of the
Flemish Parliament. The Institute is aware of the fact that a TA
project can only lead to the desired impact, if the political network
and the general public are well informed and if the policy options are
perfectly clear. Communication is paramount to achieve that goal,
…it is tailored to the target group;
reports are relevant for scientists and for the knowledge building
within the Institute. Nevertheless, to address specific target groups,
including policymakers, specially adapted and attractive means of
communication should be put into action. …it joins reality;
It is key to communicate at the appropriate moment. As far as the
content is concerned, communication should keep in touch with reality.
…it considers the media as partners;
communicating with the media is crucial, not only with specialist
journals or with the so-called quality newspapers, but also with the
popular papers, magazines, radio, television, and on the internet. The
media constitute a very important factor in raising public and
…it is supported by the organisation as a whole;
dissemination of the results of a TA research should not be limited to
the director and the communication manager. It is the responsibility of
every TA researcher to propagate the results of his or her project.
…it is a continuous effort.
The actual work only
begins when a study comes to an end and the results are being
published. TA will only have an impact if its results are continuously
communicated and commented, in a way that appeals to people and makes
it belong to various contexts. In other words, TA communication also
takes place outside the offices and the meeting rooms.
First, Members of parliament. But also research institutions, academies of science, universities and civil society.
In accordance with its mandate, the work of TAB
is focused on the German Bundestag. An important role in parliamentary
proceedings is played by the committees to which TAB reports are
routinely forwarded for deliberation. These committees are crucial
actors in using and disseminating the findings of TAB. Over time, the
range of committees initiating TA studies (and discussing TAB reports)
has grown considerably.
Besides this primary audience, all other Members of Parliament,
parliamentary committees, staff of the parliamentary political parties
and of Members of Parliament as well as the Scientific Service of
German Bundestag comprise the audience for and potential users of the
results of TA processes. In addition there are study commissions, to
which there are often close informal contacts. The Federal and State
ministries also follow the work of TAB with close interest. Finally,
companies, government agencies, research institutions and educational
institutions and - not least - interested members of the public also
call upon TAB findings.
Parliamentary TA is also designed as a forum for public
discussion. Intensive communication of project results, e.g. by
presentations at public sessions of the Committee, workshops with
experts and representatives of societal organisations (interest groups,
NGOs), and press conferences and discussions enhance the visibility of
parliamentary TA. In this way it becomes clear to a broad public that
German Bundestag is also looking beyond daily business, to take a
scientifically well-based approach to long-term prospects in
technological and social development.
The main target group where the Committee communicates its findings is the Hellenic Parliament.
All special standing committees after the study of a topic, submits a report to the Speaker.
Each committee at the end of every parliamentary year also submits
a report to the Plenary, which is recorded in the minutes and on which
a debate follows, without a vote at a special meeting at the beginning
of the next year.
target groups of the Rathenau Instituut consist of both Houses of
Parliament, government, policymakers and other national public
institutions and decision-makers, science and technology organisations,
the European Parliament.
For strengthening the public debate, the Rathenau Instituut
focuses on reaching the national media and through them the wider
general public, and on reaching and involving issue-related
stakeholders, such as citizens, NGOs, businesses and other interested
Board´s main target for communicating its work is the Parliament. Here,
all the different political parties are represented, and there is also
a broad field of topics represented in the standing committees. The
Government is also an important addressee, and is often approached
after the initial presentation of conclusions and recommendations to
Another important target group is the public. The terms of
reference state that the Board should actively stimulate public debate
on technology related issues and raise public awareness concerning the
impacts and options of technology. The press plays an important role in
reaching the public and raising new items on the societal agenda.
committees are the main target group for the PER. Reports and seminars
are planned in collaboration with committee groups in order to
formulate the assignments in accordance with the needs of the
committees. Some committees have been very active since 2007 and over
time a broader range of committees have in one way or the other been
involved in TA activities. As described above, TA projects can be
performed at a cross-committee level. Involving more than one committee
has two main advantages: the results of the assignment are spread to a
wider group of MPs and the involvement of a cross-committee reference
group implies that the subject is treated in a wider context.
Even if committees are the main target group, reports are
disseminated to a wider audience such as the government, authorities,
universities, and NGOs etc. Seminars are also broadcast on television.
Trials using social media have been carried out in order to invite the
public to discuss specific issues within an ongoing project.
resulting from TA projects are intended to be used by parliament and the
Federal council as an aid for decision making – especially when controversial
technology topics are being discussed. In addition, the project results are
communicated to interested politicians, to experts in the fields of science and
administration, as well as to the media and interested citizens.
primary target for POST´s activities is individual members of either of
the two Houses of the UK Parliament. Parliamentary committees of either
House (sometimes, joint committees) are another important target. POST
also engages extensively with government departments and the wider
scientific and technological communities within the UK and overseas,
while strictly maintaining its parliamentary independence. Part of its
role is to demonstrate to these interests that the UK Parliament
possesses the analytical capacity that is POST.
All POST publications are also made available to the public at
large and are used extensively in higher and further education
a political and advisory instrument, the aim of TA is not only a
reflective analysis of social changes that result from technological
innovations but above all the provision of information and advice to
decision-makers. The possible technology-policy actors in the public
sector include Parliament, the administration, federations and other
public institutions, and the ITA has conducted work for all of these.
As occurred in a number of other European countries, the ITA
also worked directly for Parliament in the early days of its existence.
The reasons why this institutionalisation of TA at Parliament was not
continued are to be found both on the level of actors and financing.
Furthermore, there is also the legitimate question of whether
Parliament is the "right place" for technology policy discussions and
decisions within Austria´s realpolitik structures. There are, however,
links to Parliament at personal level, since ITA staff is regularly
invited as experts to Parliamentary hearings. Since 2007, these
relationships have again been cultivated more intensively. Thus in
2008, an information discussion was held in the National Council
concerning the possible parliamentary institutionalisation of TA. In
2009, the ITA had the opportunity to present itself in detail to the
Committee for Research, Innovation and Technology. Representatives of
all parties welcomed a closer cooperation between Parliament and the
ITA. Since 2011 the self-description of the Parliamentary committee of
Research, Technology and Innovation includes a direct reference to TA;
negotiations regarding a closer relationship between Parliament and ITA
are under way.
Otherwise, in accordance with technology policy reality in
Austria, the ITA focuses its main attention on those elements of the
administration that are in close proximity to the political actors
through the provision of advice to various federal ministries and the
Council for Research and Technology. Furthermore, ITA addresses at the
international level the EU, and in particular the European Commission
and, most recently, the EU Parliament within the framework of the
European Technology Assessment Group (ETAG).
As for all the work of the Assembly, the key target groups are:
Of course, all the Assembly reports are also intended to reach European
citizens, in order to raise awareness and gain their support for policy
proposals and guidelines addressed to state authorities.
works primarily for the parliamentary committees and MPs. Public
participation projects or projects aimed at communication towards
broader public have not been undertaken yet.
In previous years several parliamentary committees in the Sejm
debated over subjects with an important TA component (e.g. GMO and
biotechnology - Agriculture Committee; deployment of nuclear energy -
Economy Committee; mitigation of CO2 emission - Environment Committee)
but so far the TA as such has not been in a centre of parliamentary
debate. Until recently there was no science and technology committee in
the Sejm (such committees are usually the most effective bodies
promoting development of parliamentary TA). This situation has changed
with the establishment of new standing Committee for Innovation and New
Technologies (October 2010). The Committee´s main field of interest is
promotion of smart economic growth through widespread application of
innovation and new technologies. The Committee´s agenda includes also
some TA issues. One on the first joint projects undertaken by BAS in
cooperation with the Committee for Innovation was a debate devoted to
digital exclusion and financial services for generation 50+. Recently
(January 2012), BAS on the request of the Committee organised a
conference on innovativeness of Polish economy.
work, including technology assessments, is primarily written to respond
to the legal mandate or congressional request that initiated the work.
However, GAO reports are also issued to other relevant committees and
members of Congress, and in keeping with its mission of accountability,
the GAO customarily posts as many of its products as possible on the www.gao.gov website for public consumption and use.
- the parliaments and governments of member states;
- the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe;
- The European Union and other international organisations (e.g. WHO).
© EPTA, provided by ITA; version 01/2017