Call for sessions

The call for sessions is CLOSED.

With the horizon set to 2020, the European Union has identified the grand societal challenges for Europe’s development in the coming years and beyond. Health and demographic change, clean and smart energy, green and integrated transport, climate change and resource efficiency, reflective societies, sustainable cities or the freedom and security of citizens are all issues that need to be tackled. In this pressing situation, advanced and “better” science and technology are pointed to as the way forward. Yet, at the same time it has become obvious that the challenges are also caused by science and technology as decisive driving forces. It seems today that societal problems and their possible solutions are seamlessly interwoven with science and technology. Concepts such as Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) aim to incorporate these linkages with the intention to consider possible social or ethical dimensions at an early stage of development. This intricate interconnectedness of science, society and policy making and the related decision-making problems are the central subjects of Technology Assessment (TA). TA as a concept of interdisciplinary, problem-oriented research, policy advice (such as parliamentary TA) and public dialogue is intended to support society and policy making by understanding the problems related to the challenges and by assessing available options for managing them. The hope is to identify socially sound, “robust”, resilient and practical ways of shaping the future.

PACITA’s 2nd European TA Conference highlighted the role of TA as well as related research and practice with regard to the contexts and circumstances described above. Reflecting TA’s capacities to deal with these big challenges not only includes insights into the scientific and technological developments involved (such as new and emerging technologies, ICT, or Ambient Assistant Living and service robotics). Besides analyzing societal debates, conflicts and problems of decision making it is also necessary to reflect upon concepts, methods and instruments to support democratic problem solving and decision making (such as sustainable development and consumption, public engagement, risk assessment, evidence-based policy making and communication). What kind of data, knowledge and dialogue do we need around decision making in our societies? What does it mean to support socially sound and robust ways of socio-technical development in terms of programs and projects, institutions and capacity building, methodology and knowledge transfer?

The overall aim of the conference was to take stock of and support the exchange on TA capacities throughout Europe. Following the successful meeting of researchers, TA practitioners, policy makers and civil society organizations at the 1st European TA Conference in Prague in March 2013 we aimed to continue the fruitful discussions and networking at the 2nd European TA Conference in Berlin. The Conference was organized within the framework of the four-year FP7 project PACITA (“Parliaments and Civil Society in Technology Assessment”). Generally, the PACITA project and the Conference define “Technology Assessment” in a broad sense. TA comprises methods, practices and institutions for knowledge based policy making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, including TA-related fields such as Foresight, Science and Technology Studies (STS) and research on Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects (ELSA) of science and technology.

For further information please contact Constanze Scherz, berlin@pacitaproject.eu, phone: +49 721 6082 6814.