Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT - SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS ASSESSMENT
WORK PROCEDURES & METHODS
STOA's mission is fulfilled with generally recognized success through:
Projects ranging over several S&T areas and executed by eminent scientific institutions, which provide the MEPs and the parliamentary committees with insights into medium to long-term, complex interdisciplinary issues related to the impact of S&T developments on society. The methodology traditionally applied to STOA studies has been that of Technology Assessment. STOA has recently expanded its science-advice toolkit to include an internally developed Scientific Foresight approach for the European Parliament.
Several projects, in the fields of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), sustainable energy sources and future energy scenarios, alternative transport technologies and the future of European transport, sustainable management of natural resources, converging technologies and human enhancement, nanotechnology, life sciences for human well-being and intellectual property rights, were concluded and the respective studies were published in recent years.
Events, such as conferences, seminars and workshops organised by STOA, alone or in collaboration with other organisations, fostering a closer interaction between policy-makers, scientists and society in its multi-faceted components.
Among these, the Annual Lecture, the high-level STOA annual event, is an opportunity for MEPs and other guests to listen to renowned scientists and experts, often Nobel Prize winners, speaking on topics of political relevance. For instance, in 2009 the event hosted Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. The 2012 edition of the Annual Lecture featured Peter Higgs and Francois Englert, laureates of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics, speaking about recent developments in Elementary Particle Physics at CERN. Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria and former World Bank Vice-President for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, and Monica Kircher, CEO of Infineon Technologies Austria AG, spoke in 2013 on ‘Sustaining sustainability: making economics work for the global environment’. In 2014 Thomas Südhof, Nobel Prize in Medicine 2013, spoke about his research on the brain. The 2015 event entitled ‘A discovery tour in the world of quantum optics’ featured Serge Haroche, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physics.
Enhancing mutual understanding and establishing long-term cooperation between scientists and policy-makers by organising the MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme. STOA is currently running the 5th edition of this project. It will be launched on 8 November 2016 during a 'Science Meets Parliaments' event STOA co-organises with the European Commissions' Joint Research Centre (JRC).
The participation of STOA, beyond the premises of the EP, in key events at the European and global level, such as the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), the World Science Forum (WSF), the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum in Kyoto, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and BioVision – the World Life Sciences Forum in Lyon.
The active role STOA has continued to play within the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA) network, contributing to the consolidation and further development of Parliamentary Technology Assessment (PTA), as part of a democratic governance culture.
The STOA Secretariat executes the decisions of the Panel with the assistance of external contractors who are selected based on the expertise needed by STOA and the financial regulation of the EU institutions.
STOA's external contractors can be research institutes, universities, laboratories, consultancies or individual researchers contracted to help prepare specific projects. In 2014 STOA signed new framework contracts with expert consortia covering the delivery of technological and scientific expertise in a broad range of areas, valid until 2018.
Once the projects are completed, but also when important interim results are obtained or when current events render some subjects politically interesting, STOA approaches the relevant committees and organises presentations by the experts. Similar presentations are also regularly organised in the context of the STOA Panel meetings.