The term "integrative technology assessment" was coined to designate the integration of aspects of technology assessment within research and development projects. The integration of TA has the aim of recognising the undesired impacts of technology early on in the process, so that they can be eliminated, or at least considerably lessened, prior to practical application. Positive effects should achieve optimum exploitation with the aim of improving competitiveness and the acceptance of technological products.
While the original aim of the project was to draw general conclusions from a selection of successful approaches which had been applied in practice, it rapidly became apparent that there are only a few such approaches, and that these differ in detail rather than their overall "philosophy", and, above all, that there is no such thing as a general "methodology of integrative TA".
Following discussions with the client, the goal was modified in the sense of compiling a handbook of sources and methods which can be applied at various stages of subsidised R&D projects:
- during the writing of a request for funding by an applicant, who receives assistance in identifying likely areas of impact, affected parties, etc;
- during the evaluation of project proposals by Commission officials and external experts, who are equipped with the handbook to support the development of criteria assessing the need for a TA component and gauging the adequacy of proposals for the performance of TA; and, finally,
- during the design and execution of "integrative" TA within the framework of the actual R&D project.