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Completed Projects

01/2013 – 04/2014: Integrated urban e-ticketing for public transport and tourist sites

The overall idea of integrated ticketing is to combine several modes of transport (e.g. tram, bus, car-, and bike-sharing) and other interesting fields of application (e.g. leisure offera and tourist attractions) on a single ticket. The aim is to facilitate the combination of transport modes for its users. Ticket issuers hope to receive a deeper insight into their customers’ habits and preferences. Modern multi-application smart cards are able to incorporate different fields of application (e.g. leisure and tourists schemes); the most successful schemes in Asia are already using such special features. While technologies are already available and ready to meet multi-function requirements, e-ticketing has not yet been implemented on a transnational scale in Europe. A prerequisite for implementation is that a number of stakeholders, such as public transport operators and authorities, financial service providers, mobile phone providers, standards bodies, and the tourism industry are working together to combine their products on a single card. Rather than technological aspects, one of the main barriers for functioning is the difficulty in agreeing on the same standards. Obviously, there is a need for organizational, management, and governamental changes to make such systems come true. The project will comprise a review of existing systems of urban transport and of tourism ticketing and will analyse possible impacts on the transport and tourism industry. The analysis carried out will lead to the elaboration of targeted recommendations for EU policy-makers and for local authorities and will address possible questions about data privacy protection.
Contact: Maike Puhe, ITAS

10/2012 - 2013: Feeding 10 billion people

The Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA) of the European Parliament has set up a new project titled “Feeding 10 billion people”. The project will investigate technological options for improving the global food supply. ITAS has taken over two sub-studies:

Technology Options for Plant Breeding and Innovative Agriculture

This study will analyze how farming management concepts, practices and technologies, including plant breeding technologies, could enable sustainable intensification of crop production, with the aim to increase food production and support food security. The study addresses agriculture in developing countries and industrialized countries (Europe), small-scale and large-scale farming, as well as extensive and intensive agricultural production systems, and intends to cover a wide range of practices (low to high tech). With a view to the vast majority of farmers in developing countries, which are small-scale farmers producing on less than two hectares, the study will built on a former STOA-project carried out by ETAG on "Agricultural Technologies for Developing Countries", which investigated the contribution of selected important agricultural production systems and technologies with a focus on small-scale farmers in developing countries.

Options for Cutting Food Waste

The aim of this study is to support the resolution of the European Parliament to reduce food waste by 50% by 2025. The resolution notes that every year in Europe a growing amount of healthy, edible food – some estimates say up to 50% – is lost along the entire food supply chain and becomes waste. The study will summarize existing research studies on food waste in Europe and will look into the various measures to avoid food waste that are suggested in the current debate. Besides persuasive, regulatory and economic approaches, the study will focus on the potential of behavior-changing technologies and technologies that minimize food waste or spoilage caused by retailers and consumers. Also the potential of management options and marketing techniques will be addressed. The results of a pilot survey carried out of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra in collaboration with the University of Bologna and the KIT on household food waste will feed into this study as well.
Contact: Leonhard Hennen, ITAS

4/2012 - 12/2013: Potential and impacts of Cloud Computing Services and Social Network Sites

The project will incorporate and assess the key findings and conclusions of the relevant research conducted in the field of Cloud Computing services and Social Network Websites. Based on the results of this research, options will be developed that are relevant for actions of European decision-makers. The project team is made up by colleagues from the Danish Board of Technology, the Austrian Institute of Technology Assessment, ITAS, and Fraunhofer ISI, the latter as the leading partner.
The project will analyze the technological, economic, and legal foundations of cloud computing. Based on the analysis of technical features and requirements, the project aims at identifying driving factors for the diffusion of cloud computing services. Different layers of services will be distinguished, making the difference between basic infrastructure layers (such as google docs for instance) and value added services that can be added on top of it (such as document management for business, for instance).
The main task of the project will be to analyze possible economic and social impacts of cloud computing. Impacts considered are, e.g., the impacts caused by Cloud Computing on the European industry in general as well as on the IT industry in particular, Impacts on public authorities, the science and innovation system, and on private households will be considered as well. The project will finally deal with questions related to privacy and security threats including their technical and legal aspects.
Contact: Michael Friedewald, Timo Leimbach, Fraunhofer ISI

1/2011 - 2012: Security of eGovernment Systems

The world is becoming increasingly digitalized, and this presents opportunities for everyone - including governments. The ability to make public services easily available online is an alluring prospect for governments, not just because of the immediate benefits this would give to the citizens in terms of easy access to the public sector, but also because of the potential benefits of cost-savings and increased efficiency. Consequently, governments are looking to exploit these advantages to address the ever-present universal problem of stressed public finances. But eGovernment is no panacea; it brings benefits but also new threats that need to be addressed. Some of these are the security challenges related to the increased use of eGovernment systems. To handle these issues on a European level the Danish Board of Technology, the Rathenau Institute, and ITAS has been asked by STOA, the European Parliament's panel, for Science and Technology Option Assessment, to carry out a project to examine the challenges and threats that the implementation of eGovernment might pose to the privacy and security of the data of European citizens, organizations, and institutions.
The STOA project will focus on some of the main areas in which the implementation of eGovernment will have an influence on European citizens. These will be areas such as eProcurement, eID and eHealth. The issues addressed will range from data security to privacy, usability, interoperability, and more. As part of the project, a conference debating security of eGovernment will be arranged in 2012.
Contact: Anders Jacobi, The Danish Board of Technology

01/2010 - 10/2011: Nanosafety

The project will deal with the potential environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks of engineered nanomaterials (ENM). Because of the great uncertainties regarding their actual health and environmental effects and numerous methodological challenges to established risk assessment procedures (toxicology, exposure and hazard assessments, life cycle assessment, analytics, and others), risk management of ENM is confronted with serious challenges. On the other hand, precautionary regulatory action with regard to ENM is demanded by a number of stakeholders and parts of the general public.
Regulation under uncertainty raises fundamental political questions of how lawmakers should regulate risk in the face of such uncertainty. To explore this issue in greater detail, the project focuses on two important perspectives of regulation: Risk management strategies for ENM as discussed or proposed for the EU or its member states, and risk communication problems and needs for EHS risks of ENM.
Findings of the project will be discussed with MEPs in several workshops. In addition, the project will use a participatory method in order to investigate the risk communication expectations of the general public.
Contact: Torsten Fleischer, Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS)

08/2009 - 12/2011: Making Perfect Life

"Making perfect life" refers to a broad spectrum of developments in science and technology, from modifying existing living organisms to synthesizing new life forms, and from improving the mind to brain-machine interaction and artificial intelligence. These developments are not seldom off-springs of the so-called converging technologies. Converging technologies refer to a mutually empowering set of advanced research areas and key technologies, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and neurosciences. Technological convergence can take place in completely different domains, sharing two dominant characteristics: informatization and miniaturization. Informatization refers to understanding and controlling processes in terms of information, while miniaturization implies studying and manipulating matter on ever smaller scales. These two trends strongly increase our engineering capabilities with respect to biological and cognitive processes. On the one hand they promise to enhance these processes. Moreover, this promise is extended to (re)designing and (re)constructing living and thinking artefacts. We are making perfect life. Or are we?
Contact: Rinie van Est, Rathenau Institute

01/2010 - 09/2011: E-Democracy – Technical possibilities of the use of electronic voting and other Internet tools in European elections

The project will deal with the potential of Internet-based applications to improve political participation and the quality of democratic decision-making at the European level. To this end, the role of new media technologies in creating a European public sphere will be investigated. A major focus of the project will be the formal opportunities for European citizens to participate at the European level by the means of Internet-based applications, including e-voting solutions. Good practice examples of e-participation activities of the member states will provide a useful basis for recommendations for European decision-makers.
The findings of the project will be discussed with experts and MEPs in two workshops.
Contact: Ralf Lindner, Fraunhofer ISI

01/2010 - 12/2011: Technology Options in Urban Transport: Changing paradigms and promising innovation strategies

In a Draft Report on an action plan for urban mobility the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism states that the complexity and interdependence of travel systems and personal and collective modes of transport in urban areas makes a purely technical approach focused on various modes of transport very limiting. The report emphasizes the need for an integrated "urban travel systems" approach together with a "user-centered" approach, taking the behavior of the users adequately into account. In line with these statements, the STOA project proposed in this opinion is looking at technologies from an innovation-oriented angle. It provides an inventory of both existing and future technology options in urban transport as well as an overview on the scientific knowledge about their (potential) impacts on health and/or environment. Taking this as a basis, the project will also look at the socio-economic context in which these technologies are or will be implemented. It will analyze the knowledge about perceptions, motivations and the changeability of behavioral patterns of the actors, in particular of users that are relevant for the successful implementation of technological and organizational innovations in urban transport. The overall aim will be to highlight promising innovation pathways to a more sustainable urban transport system.
Contact: Jens Schippl, Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS)

02/2008 - 05/2009: Human Enhancement

The umbrella term "human enhancement" refers to a wide range of existing, emerging and visionary technologies, including pharmaceutical products, neuroimplants that provide replacement sight or other artificial senses, drugs that boost brain power, human germline engineering and existing reproductive technologies, new brain stimulation technologies, gene doping in sports, cosmetic surgery, anti-ageing medication, highly sophisticated prosthetic applications that may provide specialised sensory input or mechanical output and others. All these technologies signal the blurring of boundaries between restorative therapy and interventions that aim to bring about improvements extending beyond such therapy. In the STOA study human enhancement primarily is regarded as offering a specific perspective on developments in science, technology, medicine and society. The effects of human enhancement technologies (HET) can be either long term or even permanent (as in the case of genetic enhancements), or temporary (such as improved concentration levels brought about by drugs). The aim may be to improve our natural abilities (for example by making us stronger or happier) or to give us characteristics or abilities that no human being has ever possessed before, such as full night vision, or even extra senses. Faced with the often highly visionary and strongly ideological character of the debate on human enhancement, the report strives for a balance between advancing a rational discussion through critical analysis of the relevant visions and normative stances, and taking a close look at the diversity of HET and their actual social, technological and political significance.
Contact: Christopher Coenen, Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag (TAB)

08/2008 - 05/2009: ICT and Energy Efficiency

Regarding the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on climate change two different aspects can be distinguished. On the one hand, ICT is discussed as a technology that enables an increase in energy efficiency, a reduction of energy consumption, as well as a reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in general. On the other hand, ICT have become a significant energy consumer themselves. The overall contribution of ICT (as energy consumer) to climate change is estimated to be around 2%. However, future growth rates in ICT will probably be impressive, especially in the emerging countries, so the potential as well as the need for further savings will increase as well. The report concentrates on the GHG-saving potentials in PCs and Server farms. In addition, a focus is put on new and promising concepts such as virtualisation and "cloud computing". Reasons for this selection are the fast global growth rates in PCs, server farms, as well as the strong global tendency to use more and more the Internet and Internet- based application. ICT as an enabling technology is of even more complex nature, many relevant linkages are more implicit. The STOA-report puts the focus on the following key-areas: electricity distribution grids (smart grids), smart buildings and smart metering, transport and dematerialisation, industrial processes and organisational sustainability.
Contact: Jens Schippl, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)

07/2008 - 04/2009: Agricultural Technologies for Developing Countries

Around half of the world's population is living in rural areas, with agriculture being the centre of their lives. The vast majority of farmers in developing countries (85%) are small-scale farmers, producing on less than 2 hectares. Furthermore, most of the poor in developing countries (75%) live in rural areas. Climate change will disproportionately affect developing countries and the poor, demanding for adaptations of agricultural production systems to climate change. Increasing production and strong economic growth in agriculture - with small-scale farmers in the centre of attention - are urgently needed for achieving poverty reduction and other Millennium Development Goals. In this context, the STOA project "Agricultural technologies for developing countries" investigated the contribution of selected important agricultural production systems and their technologies as well as their management practices to higher food production and food security with focus on small-scale farmers. The production systems assed were: Conservation Agriculture, System of Rice Intensification, Agroforestry Systems, Organic Farming and Transgenic Crops.
Contact: Rolf Meyer, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)

08/2007 - 04/2009: Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is a pressing public concern in the EU. At present, animal welfare status on-farm is usually inferred from external parameters, such as cage size or feeder space. This approach has serious limitations because the relation between such design parameters and animal welfare is not clear. Current research offers the possibility of assessing the welfare of animals more directly, in terms of their condition, health, performance and behaviour. This animal-based approach, although still work in progress, is very promising. The STOA project 'Impact of Animal Welfare' investigated the potential for introducing a European system of on-farm assessment of animal welfare using animal-based indicators. Part 1 of the report describes the scientific and technological state-of-the-art with regard to animal-based welfare indicators and monitoring technology. Part 2 explores the socio-economic impact of introducing an animal-based welfare monitoring system on livestock production in EU Member States.
Contact: Geert Munnichs, Rathenau Institut, The Hague

10/2007 - 11/2008: Direct to Consumer Genetic testing

Starting at the end of the 1990s offering genetic testing direct to consumers has entered the market as a new "business model" for genetic testing. Genetic testing so far had been carried out by specialised institutes in the medical sector at referral by a medical doctor. In recent years new companies offering DCGT merely via internet are showing up constantly. The STOA report provides an overview on the current discussion on DCGT among experts and public authorities on the current state of offers of DCGT via internet. Guided by analysis of the development of the market and the pros and cons of DCGT the report discusses possible options and needs for political intervention. The most obvious problem of DCGT is that - as is supported by an assessment of 38 DCGT websites carried out in the context of the project - the majority of tests offered to consumers directly are tests for susceptibilities for disease based on so called SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). These tests are most interesting from a commercial point of view since they are related to widespread common diseases (such as cancer). Experts regard most offers of testing based on SNPs to be meaningless from a scientific point of view, since the clinical validity of most of the tests has not (yet) been sufficiently proven. At the European level opportunities for regulating the market are opened up by the running amendment of the In Vitro Diagnostic Devices Directive (98/79/EC). To provide for a broad scope of gene tests being covered by the Directive would allow for the establishment of a European system of pre-market approval of gene tests which would possibly restrict the leeway for DCGT drastically.
Contact: Leonhard Hennen, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)

12/2006 - 11/2008: Global Human Health

The project revisits the necessary conditions, resources and collaborations for joint, effective health research and drug development in Europe. The goal of effective R&D is a shared goal for all Member States and the EC alike, yet realities show that the strategies employed are not yet successful. The project focuses on Europe's role in combating poverty related diseases (PRDs) such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and other (neglected) infectious diseases. Since PRDs primarily affect people in developing countries, of all priority diseases the battle against the PRDs is most dependent on political/ public action by first world countries. Based on the project's findings options for the setting up of a European action plan on PRDs are discussed.
Contact: Frans Brom, Rathenau Institute, The Hague

12/2006 - 10/2008: Future Energy Systems in Europe

Based on the objectives of improving the security of fuel supply and significant reductions in future oil consumption and CO2 emissions, the STOA project on "Future Energy Systems in Europe" has developed a set of technology scenarios for energy supply in Europe by 2030. The different characteristics, opportunities and priorities for the energy sector in different parts of Europe have been integrated in the energy scenarios for five archetypical EU countries representing different conditions in their existing energy sector and different opportunities to meet the objectives. As a key outcome of the project, two essentially different developments of the European energy systems have been described and quantified through a so-called Small-tech scenario and a Big-tech scenario. Both scenarios aim at achieving two concrete goals for 2030: reducing CO2 emissions by 50 per cent compared to the 1990 level and reducing oil consumption by 50 per cent compared to the present level. The final report presents a Small-tech scenario and a Big-tech scenario, the key measures in each scenario, the systems' impacts and environmental and economic consequences. The modelling tool, including all data and results, can be downloaded from the website of the Danish Board of Technology.
Contact: Gy Larsen, Teknologirådet, Copenhagen

12/2006 - 10/2008: The Future of European Long-Distance Transport

The projected heavy growth rates in European transport volumes, especially in the long-distance sector, are a serious challenge in several respects: transport contributes to climate change, the transport system is strongly depended on oil - a finite resource, and a functioning transport system is a basic pillar for economic growth in Europe. Against this background, the STOA project on "the future of European long-distance transport" focused on the challenges mentioned above in order to contribute to transparency and improved governance in this highly complex field. The project developed scenarios for a sustainable, efficient and less oil dependent European transportation along with related policy options. Results indicate that heavy changes and significant trend-breaks are needed if the targets should be fulfilled; this is especially true for air transport and trucking. A combination of several policy measures is needed. Improved competitiveness of the rail sectors is playing a key-role. Since several measures are only able to achieve mid- to long-term effects, action has to be taken right now. European leadership is important and, thus, a coherent European vision of a carbon-lean transport system is needed. Citizens' consultations carried out in the course of the project indicate that Europeans are aware of future challenges and to a certain degree willing to accept effective measures even if they have personal disadvantages in the short term.
Project Description
Contact: Ida Leisner, Teknologirådet, Copenhagen / Jens Schippl, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)

11/2007 - 07/2008: ICT and Media Industries

The project consists of a review of literature and expert opinions on current and expected technological and market developments in the field of ICT with an impact on the media industry. In particular the impact of "convergence" and "web 2.0 / user created content" is addressed. In the stock-taking part of the study, up-to-date information is provided about the position of European players in the global market for digital media - their strengths and weaknesses. A mid to long-term foresight perspective has been taken in order to identify emerging disruptive technologies and services likely to further change the media business. Taking current legislative and regulatory efforts into account, the study discusses regulatory challenges and requirements stemming from the anticipated changes.
Project Description
Contact: Knud Böhle, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)

10/2007 - 05/2008: Food Issues and Human Health

A workshop at the European Parliament with participation of European experts and parliamentarians discussed the importance of substances in food, which may compromise health. The workshop set out to answer whether naturally occurring substances in plant derived foods pose any health problems. The focus was on naturally occurring plant derived compounds and naturally occurring plant derived allergens. The workshop identified a requirement for better food labelling, improvements in food education, and scientific research to better establish optimal dietary doses (including better biomarkers of relevance for nutrition).
Contact: Bjoern Bedsted, Teknologirådet, Copenhagen

01/2007 - 10/2007: Interaction between new technologies and the job market, flexicurity and training / vocational training

Since the beginning of the 1990s information technologies have played an important role as an example of the influence of new technologies on working structures. Based on technological innovations new forms of division of labour have taken place with new local and global dimensions. These processes are still going on. In nearly all European countries these developments affect on the one hand the political and institutional framework of labour conditions and on the other hand, the individual work profiles and the whole work organisation on different levels. A literature study will first pinpoint the most important issues of the qualitative changes caused by these developments and second examine their importance for the development of labour markets. In order to meet the demands of local and global labour markets the question will be raised whether a political strategy like 'flexicurity' as well as improving training methods for employees can improve adaptability to the new situation. These questions will mainly form the basis for a discussion at a high level European expert workshop.
Contact: Bettina-Johanna Krings, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis

12/2006 - 10/2007: Assessment of the Safety of Tunnels

In the context of an overall growing sensitivity of European citizens about public safety issues, and resulting in part from some serious accidents in recent years in tunnels, the issue of tunnel safety has become a subject of concern. Numerous indicators suggest that this is likely to remain a significant factor - overall mobility (including between EU countries) and traffic densities are increasing, as are speeds, at least on railways. The realisation of the trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) heightens the need for an overall EU focus on the subject - several of the 30 'favoured' routes involve considerable investment in tunnel sections. The study will focus on technical as well as management aspects of safety of tunnels for road and rail transport. A first assessment is carried out on the basis of a literature review and expert opinion gathering, which will result in a workshop. In a second phase aspects are further explored with the aim to explore routes to a European system of tunnel risk analysis.
Contact: David Cope, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, London
The project is carried out in co-operation with Alan Beard, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh.

01/2006 - 09/2006: Technology Assessment on Converging Technologies

A literature study of relevant European level publications and a vision assessment on future societal needs and challenges will form the basis for a discussion within a high level European expert workshop. Central question of this workshop will be: 'What are the domains (combinations between the different science and technology areas) within converging technology that European Commission should prioritize (in FP 7 and the different JRC's) to meet future societal needs and challenges?
•    Technology Assessment on Converging Technologies – Final Report, October 2006 (PDF)
•    Technology Assessment on Converging Technologies.
•    Literature study and vision assessment. Background document for the STOA Workshop "Converging Technologies in the 21st Century: Heaven, Hell or down to Earth?" (PDF)
Contact: Robby Deboelpaep, viWTA, Brussels

01/2006 - 10/2006: Antibiotic Resistance

An interdisciplinary working group of experts will convene in workshops and produce a plan of action suggesting a series of initiatives to counter the problem of antibiotic resistance.
Contact: Ulla Holm Vincentsen, Teknologiradet, Copenhagen

01/2006 - 10/2006: The Role of Nanotechnology in Chemical Substitution

On the basis of literature research interviews with experts are performed to identify the potential of nanotechnology to substitute chemical substances or processes which are hazardous for humans or the environment. The results will be validated within a workshop the end of the project.
Project Description
Contact: Ulrich Fiedeler, who was at that time with the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)

01/2006 - 06/2006: Galileo-Applications

Based on an available STOA Working-Paper, expert opinions will be commissioned and a workshop on policy options with regard to the deployment phase of the European satellite programme, the GALILEO project, will be carried out.
Project Description
Contact: Leonhard Hennen, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)

01/2006 - 06/2007: Intellectual property rights

A cross-disciplinary working group will examine potential changes to the patent system. Issues studied would be about balancing society/inventor benefits; remuneration-based patenting; systems for protecting rights; transparency. At a workshop ideas will be collected. The working group will present and debate the political options at a dissemination workshop.
Contact: Bjørn Bedsted, Teknologiradet, Copenhagen

03/2006 - 03/2007: RFID and Identity Management

A number of case studies on different settings in which RFID is implemented is carried out in order to explore the choices that are available to the users and owners of the RFID systems in managing personal information, the degree to which the purpose of the information collection is overt, how RFID is used in combination with other technologies, and whether or not legislation applies. The findings will be presented and discussed in a workshop.
Document: RFID and Identity Management in Everyday Life: Case Studies on the Frontline of Developments towards Ambient Intelligence, October 2006 (PDF)
Contact: Christian van't Hof, Rathenau Institute, The Hague

03/2006 - 10/2006: Overview of sustainable energy sources

Preparation of an Energy Catalogue describing selected energy technologies based on renewable sources and suitable for European use. The catalogue will be have its main purpose in communicating the state of the technologies to non-experts, giving an overview on e.i. state of development and time for competitive development level; the estimated investments and energy price; potential production etc.
Contact: Søren Gram, Teknologiradet, Copenhagen

03/2006 - 05/2006: Global Human Health

The project comprises the organisation of a workshop to investigate how to provide incentives for developing new medicines to help tackle the global burden of disease.
Contact: Elisabetta El-Karimy, Rathenau Institute, The Hague

04/2006 - 02/2007: Alternative Tech. Options for Road and Air Transport

On the basis of available literature a catalogue of alternative fuel and propulsion options for road and air transport is developed. The assessment of technical options is discussed in a workshop. A final report will discuss possible source-fuel-drive-infrastructure combinations.
Project Description
Contact: Torsten Fleischer, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)

06/2006 - 02/2007: Future Developments of Cancer Therapy

Based on available literature (especially from TA-studies covering aspects of the subject) and on an analysis of the status of cancer research in the European Framework Programmes 4 to 6 an overview on the state of research on cancer aetiology and therapy is given. This is meant to deliver a basis for decisions on more comprehensive and detailed analysis of the subject.
Project Description
Contact: Arnold Sauter, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)