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European Technology Assessment Group (ETAG)

New project "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; one dealing with “Technology options for plant breeding and for innovative agriculture“ and the other investigating “Options for cutting food waste”. First results of the project are expected to be available in September 2013.

About ETAG

Since October 2005 a group of European scientific institutes - with the Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Research Centre Karlsruhe, Germany as the leading partner - has been providing scientific services for the European Parliament on social, environmental and economic aspects of new technological and scientific developments. Like many other parliaments in Europe (see: http://www.eptanetwork.org) the European Parliament at the end of the 1980s set up an institution for scientific advice regarding complex social, ecological and economic implications of modern technology and scientific research. At the European Parliament the process of consulting was and is organised by the so called STOA-Panel (Science and Technology Options Assessment, a parliamentary body consisting of 15 Members of Parliament representing several parliamentary committees. In view of the growing importance of a European science and technology policy the European Parliament decided in 2005 to support STOA's activities by establishing permanent co-operation with a group of institutions with relevant expertise in the field of Technology Assessment. Starting from May 2009 the European Technology Assessment Group for a second period of 3 years will support STOA by carrying out TA-studies. The focus of ETAG's activities on behalf of the European Parliament will be on studies in the fields of Transport, ICT and Information Society, Nanoscale Science and Technology, Life Sciences and Human Well Being as well as Agriculture, Food and Biotechnology.

Apart from being leading institutions in the field of Technology Assessment in their home countries most members of ETAG have long-term experience in policy consulting for parliamentary bodies. The group is made up by the following organisations:

  • the Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, which operates the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Parliament
    http://www.itas.kit.edu
  • the Danish Board of Technology, which provides consultancy services for the national parliament
    http://www.tekno.dk
  • Institute Society and Technology (IST)
  • the Rathenau Institute, the central TA institution in the Netherlands working for the Dutch parliament
    http://www.rathenau.nl
  • the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, supporting ITAS in carrying out TA studies on behalf of the German Parliament
    http://www.isi.fraunhofer.de
  • the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI), rendering scientific services for the Parliament of Catalonia
    http://www.fundaciorecerca.cat
  • the Institute of Technology Assessment at the Austrian Academy of Sciences
    http://www.oeaw.ac.at/ita
  • and Technology Centre AV CR, an institute active in TA related research run by the Czech Academy of Sciences
    http://www.tc.cz

The scientific responsibility for each TA-study tailored according to the information needs of the European Parliament lies with one of the partners. ITAS is responsible for administration, communication with the European Parliament and co-ordination of the activities of ETAG as well as of the group's co-operation with a wider network of TA-institutes in Europe which expressed their willingness to support the work for the European Parliament.