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Home arrow Sociology arrow Policy-Oriented Technology Assessment Across Europe: Expanding Capacities

Possible new approaches to the adoption of TA

A short opinion poll was taken at the end of the PACITA project among the countries, and these have been classified according to their selfevaluation of the institutional positioning in the STI policy advice. The opinion poll was based on four categories, defined as follows:

Content marketer shall give politicians their desired 'shortcut', but the content marketer institution shall make it as methodologically correct and objective as possible within the limits of available financial and human resources.

Eyes opener shall give politicians a glimpse what is going on at

EU level or in other European countries and raise awareness on important issues. TA can be understood as a broad set of practices

aimed at informing, shaping and prioritizing technology policies and innovation strategies, by deliberately appraising in advance their wider social, environmental and economic implications.

Lobby organization shall aim at building up big coalitions and

putting issues on political agendas, not at defending particular

interests. Networking shall be used intensively to make personal

relationships with policy makers and to form some general positive

public opinion on knowledge-based policy making. If the resources

allow, policy evaluations can be performed – showing shortcomings

of current policies and providing general recommendations for

action.

Knowledge sharer shall concentrate on cross-border European

exchange. There will always be a constant need for various

examples of how one or another issue is solved in other countries.

If Germany, Austria, The Netherlands or some other TA country

can afford large-scale research on the impact of technologies

developed in their countries on society in general – in the case of

Eastern European countries and their budgetary constraints and

undeveloped R&D systems – then adapting already existing EU

knowledge into the local context might be a more feasible solution.

That's why cross-European cooperation of TA-like institutions is so

important.

Representatives were asked to prioritize what is the likelihood that their institution would take over a particular function in the near future. The results are presented in Table 3.1 below.

table 3.1 Likelihood of institution taking over a particular function

Function/Country

Hungary

Czech Republic

Lithuania

Bulgaria

TA as a 'content marketer' TA as an 'eyes opener'

TA as an 'lobby organization' TA as a 'knowledge sharer'

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By way of concluding this inside look, it is clear that adopting a TA role does not equate to taking a step up an evolutionary ladder. Rather, the tradition of parliamentary TA provides ideas and practices, which each organization cherry-picks from in ways that suit their organizational style and institutional role. From the point of view of these organizations, the ambition to expand TA across Europe thus provides a welcome source of new inspiration for already ongoing processes of institutional development and refinement in the STI field.

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