The popularity of the "participative" TA approaches in the 90s seems to have further increased an already apparent confusion. Is "participative TA" a matter of achieving the goals which have accompanied TA since its emergence in the 60s, or should we regard the corresponding processes as a competing range of TA concepts which should now be considered "classic" or even obsolete? Conversely, we might just as well ask if "participative TA" can be regarded as TA at all. If the corresponding controversies are not to remain entirely arbitrary, the first thing is to establish an overriding reference framework with derived points of view for comparative consideration of the TA approaches addressed here.
Following an international comparative research project supported by the EU, "Participatory TA" (EUROpTA), in which ITAS and TAB were involved as German participants, theoretical analysis and programmatic conclusions are to be elaborated on the relationship between decision-supporting TA as problem-oriented research and organised actors and lay members of the public in the technology-related policy arena. Beside more intensive consideration of structural conditions and limits to "participatory TA", the question to be studied in particular is if (and if, how) participation of organised interests or individual citizens in problem-oriented research procedures could be helpful in increasing their capabilities.