Two European conferences (2013 in Prague and 2015 in Berlin) aimed at taking stock of and supporting exchange on TA capacities available in Europe are being organized in the framework of the FP7 funded project “Parliaments and Civil Society in Technology Assessment” (PACITA). PACITA is a four-year project aimed at increasing the capacity and enhancing the institutional basis for knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the diversity of practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment (PTA). Such practices involve a range of methods of cross-disciplinary expert studies, stakeholder involvement, citizen consultation and parliamentary discourse. A major aim of PACITA is to spread knowledge on technology assessment and similar activities to areas of Europe currently unfamiliar with them.
Technology Assessment itself was the subject of three European Conferences on Technology Assessment in the late 1980s and early 1990s and the European Commission's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies has organised four conferences on FTA. The two conferences scheduled in the PACITA project seek to link with this tradition.
The First European Conference on Technology Assessment titled "Technology Assessment and Policy Areas of Great Transitions" will be organized in Prague, March 13-15. Examples of societal areas witnessing such great transitions are health care and medicine, energy supply, climate change and mobility in addition to the use of computer technology in all areas of society.
The main subject areas the conference seeks to cover include:
- The kinds of knowledge and dialogue needed for decision-making in societies in order to accomplish the great transitions,
- The kinds of projects and programs, institutions, approaches and methods needed by technology assessment in these processes,
- Novel methods, such as the use of various art forms, to reach different types of actors and target groups,
- The special interests and needs of EU member states in the various areas of the European Union with respect to policy advice for the great transitions,
- Results of projects on topics related to the great transitions, for example:
- Health care in an ageing society (e.g. e-Health, robotics for home care, ambient assisted living)
- Energy supply in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster (e.g. renewables)
- Mobility (e.g. urban transport, e-mobility, logistics)
- Changes to societal relationships through ICT (social computing etc.)
- The use of project results in policy-making and other activities.
Due to the strong client orientation of the studies, the conference seeks to address all groups of actors in science and policy studies: policy makers in legislation and administration, civil society organisations as well as academics and TA practitioners. Instead of sessions consisting purely of presentations of papers, the conference planners welcome contributions in novel forms, such as tandem presentations by the clients of studies and practitioners, and use of the new media or forms of art to stimulate debate or present results.
The conference is held under the auspices of Mr. Petr Fiala, the Minister for Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic.