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Doing Cross-European Technology Assessment

Marianne Barland, Danielle Bьtschi, Edgaras Leichteris and Walter Peissl

Abstract: The authors give a case-based state-of-play account of cross-European TA cooperation in service of national parliaments as well as the European Parliament. Most TA units have formed their role around the specific needs of

their national or regional parliaments and other national or regional target groups, making it challenging to shift focus and create new roles for themselves in a European sphere. This article presents recommendations on how cross-European

TA can be done in the future with a focus on three aspects of cross-European TA: (1) the added value of cross-European work and lessons from past experiences; (2) the identification of efficient and credible modes of cooperation to conceptualize cross-European TA; (3) the identification of relevant target groups and addressees and the bringing about of impact on the European level.

Klьver, Lars, Rasmus Шjvind Nielsen, and Marie Louise Jшrgensen, eds. Policy-Oriented Technology Assessment Across Europe: Expanding Capacities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. doi: 10.1057/9781137561725.0014.

As a consequence of globalization and European integration, politics is moving upwards, and policy making on many scienceand technologyrelated issues needs a cross-border approach. However, when we look back at the history of European TA, the development and use of technology assessment has been characterized by national and regional efforts, with little capacity for doing cross-European work. As the EU grows, and all European countries become more connected, cross-European TA can contribute to knowledge exchange and capacity building between countries and regions – and as a result provide robust and independent policy advice for European policy makers as well as other traditional target groups in the national context. Issues related to science and technology are often discussed at a European level, and it seems only natural that these discussions should inform each other and contribute to a broader knowledge base for decision making – whether on a regional, national or European level. The PACITA project, therefore, aims at encouraging practices of cross-European TA in order to strengthen the knowledge base for policy making in Europe.

In this chapter, we discuss the challenges of doing cross-European TA in practice and the framework conditions for using TA transnationally at the European level. In the introduction to this book, we have seen how cross-European TA may fit within existing frameworks for European cooperation. This chapter supplements the introduction by providing an 'on-the-ground' account of the practical and organizational work that it takes to carry out TA projects in trans-European cooperation. We base our discussion on case studies of previous cross-European projects and on new experiments carried out within the PACITA project, all of which have produced important insights on the added value of cross-European TA and how it may be done in the future. These insights show the diversity and inclusiveness which have become characteristic for cross-European projects. Cooperation and communication across borders not only provide knowledge exchange but create arenas and networks for knowledge production and policy learning among European member states and European institutions. Participation in cross-European projects will therefore benefit society's ability to comprehend issues related to science and technology and at the same time open up the process of policy making, making it more understandable and accessible for European citizens. Our findings, however, also show that cross-European TA has so far been conducted on a project-by-project basis, which means that new cooperation forms and capacities have to be established for each project. There is therefore a need to develop a European platform that would ensure support for cross-European projects, with regard to both financial and human resources.

 
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