STOA is a Panel of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), established in 1987, with a mission to provide independent expert assessment of scientific and technological developments and related policy options for informed political decision-making in the European Parliament (EP). STOA carries out Technology Assessment and Scientific Foresight projects and organises events such as workshops and presentations. These are intended as discussion forums between MEPs, experts and the public.
The STOA Panel decides on STOA's activities and is politically responsible for STOA's work. It is composed of 27 MEPs nominated by 11 parliamentary Committees. The STOA Bureau prepares the Panel meetings. The EP's Vice-President responsible for STOA is ex officio member of the STOA Panel and Bureau. The decisions of the Panel are executed by the staff in the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) that is part of the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value of the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS). The projects are mostly carried out by external experts (institutes, universities, consultancies, individual researchers) through contracts they sign with the EP.
STOA projects provide state-of-play overview of different topics with scientific and/or technological dimension and assess a range of policy options for responsibly deploying and promoting the use of existing and emerging technologies. STOA projects cover a wide range of topics, focusing on the priorities defined by the STOA Panel. Recent examples range from online platforms ('Liability of online platforms' or 'Online platforms: Economic and societal effects'), 5G ('Environmental impacts of 5G', 'Health impact of 5G', 'Privacy and security aspects of 5G technology') and public health ('EU health data centre and a common data strategy for public health' and 'How are we coping with the pandemic? Mental health and resilience amid the Covid-19 pandemic in the EU'), to the use of hydrogen ('The potential of hydrogen for decarbonising EU industry') and the Green Deal ('Meeting the Green Deal objectives by alignment of technology and behaviour'). Moreover, to intensify its activities in the field of AI, STOA launched its Centre for AI (C4AI) in 2019. C4AI provides expertise on the possibilities and limitations of AI and its implications from an ethical, legal, economic and societal perspective. Its purpose is to promote public trust, transparency and reflection on the future development of AI; it provides numerous resources for Members and the public on the subject.
The European Science-Media Hub (ESMH) is another project of the STOA Panel and was launched in 2017. The main mission of the ESMH is to promote reliable, science-based information and knowledge dissemination at the interface between policy makers, the scientific community and the media. The ESMH organise training sessions and workshops for journalists and communicators on current scientific and technological developments helping to improve their ability to identify trustworthy sources and report on sound science.
Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA)
Head of Unit: Marcus SCHEUREN
EPTA contact: Eszter FÀY