Why technology assessment? This question was discussed even before the establishment of TA-SWISS. An instance that poses questions on new technologies in an impartial way is vital, and the following criteria are still valid today: how do new technologies develop, what has to be taken into account, how do they change everyday life in society and how might future scenarios look like? Additionally, the public debate needs to be encouraged today, too.
Politicians and citizens have to be supported in their decision making process by comprehensible illustrations and documentations of facts and circumstances. The results of TA-SWISS studies provide the required basics, information and recommendations on selected specialist fields. By contrast, the participative proceedings show how citizens rate specific future oriented technologies and topics. It reveals the advantages and disadvantages they ascribe to a certain technological development and it documents the needs of the population, e.g. the need for more transparent information or better protection. The discussions show where citizens see a need for action. In these projects, citizens are the experts representing the population at large. Studies as well as participative methods are employed by TA-SWISS in order to give a comprehensive survey of the chances and risks of new technologies and to favour a knowledge-based technology debate.
As the term Â»studiesÂ« anticipates: Studies are often very extensive and complex. Therefore, TA-SWISS prepares abridged versions of its technology assessment studies. The easily understandable abbreviated versions are essential in communicating the results to politicians and to an interested population. For the participative projects information brochures are first compiled. These brochures brief the citizens involved in a well-balanced way in order to familiarize them with the technological topic that is to be discussed in the citizen debate. A synthesis report will then be issued on the actual discussions. It will not only contain the results, but also the different chains of reasoning showing what was supported and what was criticized by the citizens and why. All these products are important for the realization of the formulated objectives: to support the public debate and to help politicians and citizens in making knowledge-based decisions.Extensive public relation efforts are vital to reach these target groups. TA-SWISS organises media conferences or publishes articles to draw attention to its projects. Policy makers as well as the interested public receive printed and electronic newsletters and are invited to public presentations, workshops and debates on a regular basis. Politicians are confronted with the projects in personal dialogues and in discussions, and political groups, administrative authorities and expert groups are addressed by presentations and provided with written information material.
Chapter Work Procedures and Methods - all countries
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