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Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag

Mix of Methods

TA projects, monitoring and innovation reports

TA projects, monitoring activities and innovation reports are central fields of operation for TAB. These fields have proved their worth to channel the numerous requests for topics received from the committees and parliamentary political parties into analytical processes suitable for the purposes of the German Bundestag.

  • TA projects use a broad analytical approach to tackle complex issues relating to scientific and technological developments. These issues are frequently of a pronounced transdisciplinary nature and have long-term societal significance. Comprehensive sustainable development is the key principle underpinning the analysis and assessment of scientific/technological, economic and social potentials and associated research and policy options.
  • Relevant constituent aspects of scientific, technological and societal change (e.g. status of research and development, regulation, international comparisons) and possible impacts are explored in monitoring projects with a defined thematic focus.
  • Innovation reports address areas which feature highly dynamic innovation activities in both scientific/technological and societal respects. These hold out the promise of substantial application benefits and thus have the potential to fundamentally affect the structural transformation of the economy, science and society.

Horizon Scanning, discourse analysis and dialogue with stakeholders

These analytical approaches are used to open up specific additional prospects:

  • Horizon scanning enables scientific/technological trends and associated socio-economic developments to be monitored at early stages and placed into the context of societal debates with the objective of identifying innovation signals as early as possible and assessing their societal, technological, economic, political and ecological potential for change. In addition, the relevance of the identified topics for political and strategic decision-making processes is assessed. After an open horizon scanning, carried out by consortium partner VDI/VDE IT, the focus is usually on topics to be defined by the Rapporteur's group TA.
  • Encouraging public discourse and the formation of opinions in society is a fundamental constituent of TA in the German parliament. Systematic sharing of experiences and opinions with stakeholders is of particular importance in the process of identifying and structuring new topics and in the public discussion of results. Participative discourse analyses are used to examine the attitudes and approaches of representative stakeholders in order to take systematic account of societal demands and positions in TA studies. As a central dialogue platform consortium partner IZT established the Internet-based stakeholder panel TA. The stakeholder panel TA involves various socially relevant groups from politics, science and education, business, environmental and consumer protection as well as non-institutionalized citizens. Based on the stakeholder panel TA, their perspectives can be incorporated into the work of the TAB.