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The journal "Technikfolgenabschätzung" No. 1, 2002, with the main theme on material flow analysis, online available [02.04.2002]


The first issue of the 11th volume of the TA journal of ITAS appears under its new name "Technikfolgenabschätzung - Theorie und Praxis" (formerly: "TA-Datenbank-Nachrichten"). The reasons for chosing Technikfolgenabschätzung/Technology Assessment as title are explained in detail in an introductory article.

The focal theme of the issue is devoted to the topic of "material flow analyses". During the last 10 to 20 years the dramatically rising amounts of material used for production and consumption in the industrialised countries, which after utilization constitutes waste burdening the environment, have led to a new dimension of environmental pollution. Material flow analyses are performed with the aim of identifying or qualifying, and subsequently quantifying the input of material and energy as well as the fate of the substances used in a defined analytical system (e.g. related to an enterprise or a product, region). First, articles are presented which give a general overview of the methodology, application areas and problems of material flow analyses. In the following articles, concrete analyses of material flows in different areas are described for the example of the global zinc balance, waste management , the use of new materials in aircraft construction, and, finally, cement production. The focal theme concludes with a book review of a study performed on behalf of the German Federal Environmental Agency on "Konzeption für ein Stoffstromrecht"" (Conception for a legal framework for material flows) which outlines the legal problems of the material flows approach and analyses possible steering instruments using the example of two man-induced material flows (construction materials and motorcars).

The TA institutions section contains an article on the efforts presently being made in the USA for a revival of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). In addition, the International Institute of Infonomics is presented. This was set up in 1999 at the University of Maastricht, Netherlands - "infonomics" is defined as "the interdisciplinary science investigating the 'digitisation' of society".

In the newly created section TA concepts and methods four articles can be found which deal with the topics of TA and industry, the utilization of integrative modelling for the evaluation of technology, normative rationality and the development of a conceptual framework for technology assessment studies in the area of transgenic crops of the 2nd generation (trN2).

The TA projects section is devoted to an article on an ongoing study by the Center for Technology Assessment in Baden-Württemberg on "Scenarios for more responsibility and freedom of choice for patients in the health sector".

The book reviews deal with publications on sustainable development, genetic engineering, renewable energies and the question of successful marketing strategies for an ecologically oriented supply of electricity (eco-electricity). As usual, a number of interesting new publications are also presented in brief.

In the conference reports section several articles on events dealing with Technology - Philosophy - Ethics and the report on the international conference "Debating Privacy and ICT" in January this year in Amsterdam deserve special mention. On the occasion of the Amsterdam conference the so-called "Declaration of Amsterdam" was formulated. The organisers of this conference, the parliamentary TA bureau of the Netherlands "Rathenau Institute", will present this declaration which is dealing with the theme "Trust in the Information Age - Securing Privacy and Safety" to the Parliament of the Netherlands.

The ITAS News contain information on the cooperation of ITAS with countries of Central and Eastern Europe and on a project funded by the European Commission on "Technology Assessment in Europe; between Method and Impact" (TAMI) where ITAS is one of the core partners. In addition, ITAS is organising together with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) a workshop on "Nachhaltige Entwicklung und Globaler Wandel - Bestandsaufnahme, Bewertung und Handlungsbedarf" (Sustainable Development and Global Change - State of the Art, Evaluation and Requirements for Action), which will take place in June 2002. The aim of the workshop is to discuss possible stronger links between Global Change research and research on Sustainable Development using the examples of water resources, human capital/education/knowledge, and Global Governance.

In an appendix, the publications and conference papers of ITAS in 2001 are listed.


  • To contents of issue 1/2002 of "Technikfolgenabschätzung - Theorie und Praxis" here