A new impetus for parliamentary technology assessment in Germany

Armin Grunwald presented the 2023 Activity Report to the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment
Cover text: The TAB in 2023: The background image shows a view into the mirror column of the dome of the Reichstag building, in which various people walking up and down the spiral corridors are reflected like prisms.
Our 2023 Activity Report provides a brief review with many links for further reading. (only in German)

One of TAB's challenging tasks is to constantly question and develop our analysis and communication formats in dialogue with our client, the German Bundestag. The reapplication and reorganisation in 2023 was therefore an opportunity for TAB to innovate and expand TA at the German Bundestag.

A recent innovation is the public presentation of TAB's activities to the Committee for Education, Research and Technology Assessment. On 20 March 2024, the head of TAB, Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald, presented the 2023 Activity Report, which had been redesigned in consultation with the TA Rapporteur Group. On this occasion, he also gave an overview of the new impetus for parliamentary technology assessment agreed with the Bundestag for the new contract period.

One focus is on a more flexible provision of knowledge through short formats, as already tested in 2023 with the highly acclaimed study on ChatGPT. In addition, the results will be better communicated to the public (e.g. through cooperation with the Science Media Centre, as in the Sustainable Cooling and Bacteriophage projects). Last but not least, the TA studies will be complemented by further foresight activities (Resilience Radar, Resilience Check), in addition to the horizon scanning that has been ongoing for some time.

In the outlook for the 2024 plans, it became clear that these focal points will be further expanded:

  • Two more compact TA studies of short duration are underway (on fusion research and home office), and short formats will also play an important role in the forthcoming round of topic identification.
  • The first Foresight Report will be published at the end of April in the new online format of a microsite. In the future, it will be published annually in order to proactively identify trends and analyse their impact on selected infrastructure systems.
  • The look and feel of TAB's publications and communication formats will be gradually developed in collaboration with a communications agency.

Following the presentation, the members of the committee agreed on one point in their statements: all emphasised the great importance of the provision of neutral scientific expertise by TAB in times of particularly rapid technological change, growing uncertainty and increasing crisis-like developments. The lively question and answer session also focused on the challenges of science communication, which is seen as a particularly important joint task for TAB and the German Bundestag and its committees.

The meeting can be followed in full on the website of the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment.


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(only in German)