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ITAS-Journal "Technikfolgenabschätzung - Theorie und Praxis" (Technology Assessment - Theory and Practice), issue 2/2003, with the focal theme "Foresight", online available [16.07.2003]


The focal theme of this issue is devoted to "Foresight".The topic is en vogue at the moment as the annual conferences on foresight attracting hundreds of delegates demonstrate that seem recently to have become a regular feature of European Commission activities. In the introduction to the theme, Michael Rader and Knud Böhle, ITAS, sketch the development of the "Future Studies" wave of the 1970s till today. They argue that Foresight and Technology Assessment have much in common. e.g. the innovation orientation and the inclusion of a broad range of stakeholders, including science, various parts of industry (manufacturing, service providers etc.) , users and other affected parties.

The focal theme itself starts with a contribution by Heiko Prange, Technical University of Munich, who describes and analyses the complex interrelations between responsibilities for technology and innovation policy in Europe. The subsequent five contributions, by Kerstin Cuhls (Fraunhofer ISI), Volkmar Dietz (BMBF), Knud Böhle and Ulrich Riehm (ITAS) as well as by Ian Miles/Michael Keenan (PREST, UK), deal with national Foresight experiences in Germany and the UK. Foresight at the European level is the subject of the articles by Werner Wobbe, a member of the Science and Technology Foresight unit of DG Research of the European Commission, Luk Van Langenhove, the Chairman of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on European Foresight of the European Commission, Angela Guimaraes Pereira and Silvio Funtowicz of the Joint Research Centre - IPSC, Ispra, and by Carsten Orwat, ITAS. The articles by Barend van der Meulen, University of Twente (NL), Michael Rader/Knud Böhle (ITAS) as well as by Balint Dömölki/Ferenc Kovats, Hungary, deal specifically with the treatment of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in broader national Foresight studies.

With the exception of two articles, the entire focal theme is in English. Arrangements for the translation of the two remaining articles into English have already been made.

The section on TA-Institutions is devoted to the closure of the Center of Technology Assessment in Baden-Württemberg and its consequences for the TA landscape in Germany.

TA-Concepts and Methods feature an article by Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem, judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court who argues for a trans- and interdisciplinary dialogue between legal science and technology research. He proposes a reorientation of legal science in the direction of legal science based innovation research geared towards enabling technical, social and cultural innovations while at the same time guaranteeing the protection of affected parties.

The TA Projects section comprises an article on reproductive cloning: The Rathenau Institute, the Dutch parliamentary TA unit in Den Haag, has initiated a fictional lawsuit where the first human clone, aged 20, takes legal action against his parents and the scientists who created him. The other articles in this section deal with social and economic evaluation as an instrument for decision making in land use (University of Merseburg), sustainable development and innovation in the energy sector (European Academy Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler) and the ITAS project on the change of working and living conditions in the multimedia sector from the gender perspective.

Apart from 3Book Reviews and some book presentations in brief, the Conference Reports section is quite substantial: it reports on seven events and the themes range from transport telematics, "ubiquitous computing", scientific expertise and policy consulting to a new paradigm for sustainability research.

In the Discussion Forum, the VDI, the German Association of Engineers, presents the main features of the new concept of "Innovation and Technology Analysis (ITA)" of the BMBF and invites the readers of the journal to send in their comments. The editors of TA-TuP encourages readers to give their opinions and comments on the ITA-concept which we will gladly publish in the journal.

The News from ITAS and TAB contain the usual information on projects, events and publications. One of the main items is the conclusion of the cooperative project of the HGF - Association of German Research Centres on "Global sustainable development - perspective for Germany" which was led by ITAS. The main results of the project were presented at a final conference in Berlin at the end of Mai 2003; a report on this conference is contained in the conference reports section in this issue. The main outlines of the final report of the project are also described in the ITAS News.

To contents of issue 2 / 2003 of "Technikfolgenabschätzung - Theorie und Praxis" here