The current medium-term research programme 2012-2014 defines three major research areas, namely the information society, governance of technology controversies, and technology and sustainability. Besides its thematic research areas, ITA focuses on cross-cutting issues, e.g. monitoring and horizon scanning activities as well as critical reflection on and further development of TA methods.
In the "Information society" area, ITA addresses three topics. E-governance deals with the potential of ICT in the field of the state and its effects. The analyses initially concentrated on the launch of electronic administration (e-government) and currently focus on the potential and obstacles of online political participation, which can be ascribed to the overall concept of "electronic democracy". In the topic "Privacy" the network of relationships between technologies, fundamental rights and social/political consequences is analysed as a basis for deriving options for action. The analysis takes the effects of new and future ICT on the private sphere as its starting point and core. In a broader perspective, however, the ITA also addresses other fields of technology and other basic rights affected. In the third subtopic, "Networked environments", the ITA deals in particular with the social consequences of pervasive computing and ambient intelligence and with the effect of the use of new media on geographical and social structures and modes of work in science, most recently specifically in connection with Web 2.0 (cyber science).
The field of "Governance of technology controversies" studies controversies about new technologies and their significance for the governance process. Technology controversies have left deep traces in modern society. Disputes concern not only specific applications (such as in agro-biotechnology) but also what and how research and development are to be pursued (for instance with respect to stem cell research). Current topics in this field are nanotechnology and synthetic and system biology.
In the field of "Technology and sustainability", against the background of the social discussion concerning concrete problems such as climate change or resources shortages and the problems these give rise to, the ITA examines and evaluates the possible consequences of technology, and investigates the conditions under which technology can make a contribution to sustainable development. Current projects address energy technologies in particular.
Chapter Topics - all countries
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