Herbert Paschen celebrates his 80th birthday on June 14, 2013. The pioneer of technology assessment in Germany and first head of ITAS started his professional career at the "Studiengruppe für Systemforschung" in Heidelberg. Until its dissolution in 1975, he was head of the research division "Planning and Innovation". In the same year, the research division was transferred into the IASR (Institut für Angewandte Systemtechnik und Reaktorphysik) of the former Nuclear Research Centre Karlsruhe. On January 1, 1977, AFAS (Abteilung für Angewandte Systemanalyse) was founded under the direction of Herbert Paschen. This department can be considered the first professional institution in the emerging field of technology assessment.
After being established, AFAS conducted several comprehensive and exemplary TA studies under his aegis, among others on the large-scale use of nuclear energy in Germany, on the use of coal as substitute for oil, and on renewable resources. These studies were not only exemplary TA studies but probably also the first extensive projects of interdisciplinary cooperation. Herbert Paschen and AFAS were also strongly involved in the conceptual discussion of TA in the 1970s and 1980s. For example, he organized a highly regarded conference entitled "Technologies on the test stand: the role of technology assessment in the decision-making process" in which the worldwide leading TA experts participated. He was also a member of the second Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag on the institutionalization of TA (1987-1989).
One of his major successes was that AFAS was commissioned to establish a TA unit at the German Bundestag – the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) – despite strong competitors. Of particular importance for establishing the TAB was one of the first TAB studies on the space transportation system Sänger, which was carried out by Herbert Paschen as project leader. Its results were used for important decisions on the direction of space research funding. In 1995, the successful work of AFAS and TAB under the head of Herbert Paschen resulted in a scientific upgrading of AFAS to the "Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis" (ITAS) which was managed by Herbert Paschen until his retirement in 1998.