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Since its creation in 1995 at the University of Liege, SPIRAL developed a unique expertise in Belgium. The overall integrated research approach relies on many disciplines and competences, but focuses more specifically on interactions between (1) science, technology and society (STS) and Technology Assessment (TA), (2) risk and public policies analysis and evaluation (3) participatory methodologies (focus groups, scenario workshop, open-process workshop, citizen conferences, citizen panels, roundtables, Delphi, deliberative polls and hybrid forums). In these different contexts, in addition to classic quantitative techniques in human and social sciences, SPIRAL has focused on methodological and epistemological issues together with the development of software programmes in qualitative data collection and data analysis in social sciences.
SPIRAL has developed strong links with the Walloon Parliament since 2008, which materialized in the writing of numerous scientific or press articles on TA in and for Wallonia, the design and facilitation of a series of TA working lunches (i.e. ageing societies, cloud computing and data mining, sustainable consumption) with parliamentarians (2012-2014) or the organization of international conferences on TA and TA-related issues (i.e. health claims and nutrition, technologies of democracy) at the Walloon Parliament. In 2014, they contributed to the draft of a parliamentary decree that is currently under discussion with the Committee for Democratic Renewal and that aims to set up an "Walloon Institute for Sciences, Democracy and Society".
SPIRAL is an associate member since the end of 2015.
Associate Director: Dr. Pierre Delvenne