The main section of this edition is devoted to the strategy fund ect "Global Sustainable Development - Perspectives for Germany" of the Hermann von Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres (HGF). The overall aim of the ect is to develop viable strategies for the implementation of the "Leitbild" Sustainable Development for Germany. The core of the approach of the HGF study is the integrative consideration of the economic, ecological, social and institutional dimensions of sustainable development. At the beginning of this comprehensive ect, a pre-study was performed in which five of the sixteen HGF Research Centres with in all ten different organisational departments were involved, with ITAS as the leading institution. The results of this pre-study, which was financially supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the title "Investigation for an integrative concept of sustainable development: state-of-the-art, problem analysis, further development", and the perspectives for the further work on the ect are presented in this main section.
In the section TA institutions and -programmes, the "Program Group Systems Research and Technological Development" of the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Department "Technology-induced materials flows" of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe are presented. In a further contribution, the Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung Speyer outlines the concept of the assessment of the consequences of legislation (Gesetzesfolgenabschätzung/GFA). In addition, the Phase II Report of the "Sustainability Impact Assessment" (SIA) approach of the European Commission by Kirkpatrick and Lee is critically analysed.
The TA-ects described in this issue deal with the topics "Digital signatures - Cultural controllability and moral responsability" and "Technology Assessment and Ethics". On the latter, a review of the final ect report by Barbara Skorupinski and Konrad Ott can be found in the section TA-relevant books. This also includes a review of the final report of the BMBF research promotion programme "Ecological concepts for urban regions (urban ecology)" which offers an overview of the extensive research activities in this governmental research programme.
In the Events section, the topic Sustainable Development is supplemented by two conference reports: the first one deals with the problems of "Sustainable Development and Transdisciplinarity. Research methodological experiences, models and institutional requirements", which were discussed at a workshop of the University Erlangen-Nürnberg; the second is a report on the third international conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE) "Transitions Towards Sustainable Europe: Ecology - Economy - Policy" in May this year. A further report presents the main issues connected with the utilization, treatment and disposal of biogenous wastes which were discussed at a seminar of the VDI Association of German Engineers in April this year. These conference reports are, as usual, followed by the event announcements.
The ITAS-News contain information on new ects of ITAS on Online Book Trade, E-Commerce, and the "Electronic Payment Systems Observatory" (ePSO) of the European Union, as well as on planned conferences and the concretization of scientific cooperation with Russia and Poland.