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Running Projects

10/2016 - 01/2018: Additive Bio-Manufacturing: 3D Printing for Medical Recovery and Human Enhancement

The production of personalized and cost-effective products is becoming more and more important in the biomedical sector. Therefore, additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) is a promising technology in this area. Possible applications include biological implants such as organs and tissues, nutrients, drugs and their transport mechanisms, equipment such as surgical knives and drilling guides, tissues for research, development and training, and personalized prostheses, supports and exoskeletons.

With the involvement of external experts, the project will systematically analyze the technological state of the art, while also taking into account regulatory issues as well as future trends, with a special focus on sociotechnical imaginaries (e.g., in science fiction), human enhancement and DIY cultures. Thereafter, the project will carry out a 360° envisioning exercise with contributions by external experts, entailing an in-depth analysis of selected applications of bio-AM. The project work will end with the development of several scenarios in order to show the potential impact of the analyzed AM applications as well as the potential policy challenges relevant to the Members of the European Parliament.

Contact: Arianna Ferrari (ITAS)

06/2016 – 01/2017: Technology options and systems to strengthen participatory and direct democracy

The growing use of ICT tools and social media significantly affects the way citizens can become involved in policy- and decision-making processes. Digital tools might create stronger connections between European citizens and the EU decision-making process and, by doing so, might contribute to reducing the EU democratic deficit. At local and national level, and to some extent also at EU level, digital tools have already been used for citizen involvement in policy- and decision-making.

The proposed project will investigate what lessons can be drawn from local, national and European experiences of the use of digital tools for the functioning of EU decision-making procedures and institutions. For that purpose, a review of current literature on e-democracy, the EU governance system and the European public sphere will be carried out; 15-20 local, national and EU experiences with existing digital tools will be investigated and evaluated; and an analysis will be made of the suitability of the most promising digital tools for implementation and use at EU level. Informed by the review of current literature, an evaluation framework will be formulated for the assessment of experiences of existing digital tools, and for the assessment of the usability of the tools at EU level. The project will provide recommendations with regard to the use of digital tools at EU level.

Contact: Ira van Keulen (Rathenau Instituut)

02/2016 - 04/2017: Assistive technologies for the inclusion of people with disabilities in society, education and jobs

The project focuses on future trends in assistive technologies (ATs) and their impact on disabled people, specifically on their learning and working environment and their inclusion into society. Focusing on a foresight methodology, the current and emerging trends and prospects of ATs and regulatory frameworks pertinent to ATs will be analyzed forming the basis for an interview and survey based evaluation that links ATs to the needs, perceptions and opportunities for people with disabilities in the EU. Three different types of disabilities will be focused, namely deaf and hard of hearing; blind and visually impaired and people with autism.

To accomplish these aims, a horizon scanning as 360° envisioning method will be employed which involves also the contribution of external experts. This will provide for a solid knowledge basis for the development of four scenarios which will be complemented with a video-sequence. Our work will empower members of the European Parliament for knowledge-based decision making on assistive technologies for people with disabilities and aid legislative backcasting and sense-making.

Contact: Linda Nierling (ITAS)