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Theory & Principles underpinning successful Technology Assessments Michael Decker Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis Forschungszentrum.

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Presentation on theme: "Theory & Principles underpinning successful Technology Assessments Michael Decker Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis Forschungszentrum."— Presentation transcript:

1 Theory & Principles underpinning successful Technology Assessments Michael Decker Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (Research Centre Karlsruhe)

2 (ITAS) Successful Technology Assessment (TA) Scientific Excellence for Policy Advice Theory of TA? Structure

3 ITAS Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis Research Areas: Environment and resource management Innovation processes and technology impact Knowledge society and knowledge policy Addressees: European Parlament Deutscher Bundestag Federal Ministry of Education and Research European Commission Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environment Agency) Ministry for nutrition and agriculture in rural areas (regional)

4 European Technology Assessment Group (ETAG) provides scientific services for the European Parliament on social, environmental and economic aspects of new technological and scientific developments STOA-Panel (Scientific Technological Options Assessment; Chairman Philippe BUSQUIN) Members of ETAG: Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (coordinator) Danish Board of Technology Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology of the British Parliament, Rathenau Institute

5 Technology assessment (TA) is a scientific, interactive and communicative process which aims to contribute to the formation of public and political opinion on societal aspects of science and technology. TAMI-Project (Technology Assessment in Europe: Between Method and Impact) Definition of TA

6 Impact of TA is defined as any change with regard to the state of knowledge, opinions held or actions taken by relevant actors in the process of societal debate on technological issues TAMI-Project (Technology Assessment in Europe: Between Method and Impact) Definition of Impact

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8 Scientific Challenges In response to the challenges of policy issues of risk and the environment, a new type of science – post normal – is emerging Decision making situations of high uncertainties and high decision stakes In the area of post-normal science the problems of quality assurance of scientific information are particular acute and their resolution requires new conceptions of scientific methodology all the stakeholders in an issue form an extended peer review (Funtowicz, RavetzPost-normal Science)

9 Scientific Challenges Problem solving in application contexts… … needs to involve practitioners from a number of communities … needs to overcome disciplinary barriers … needs extra-ordinary quality control Needs to be transdisciplinary ! (Gibbons et al.; Mode 2 Knowledge Production)

10 Scientific Challenges Extension of inter-disciplinary research: The co-ordination of all disciplines and interdisciplines in the education/innovation system on the basis of a generalized axiomatics (introduced from the purposive level) and an emerging epistemological ("synepistemic") pattern. (Jantsch) In certain problem solving contexts transdisciplinary research makes the original idea of the unification of science, understood as the unification of scientific rationality […] concrete. (Mittelstraß; Translation MD)

11 Scientific Challenges Extension of the science system: We characterize transdisciplinary science as (1) cognitive and social co-operation across disciplinary boundaries, (2) an intention towards the direct application of scientific knowledge in both political decision making and societal problem-solving, and (3) the participation of non-scientific stakeholders within research processes. (Burger, Kamber) The core idea of transdiscipinarity is different academic disciplines working jointly with practitioners to solve a real-world problem. It can be applied in a great variety of fields. (Klein et al.)

12 Scientific Challenges Quality Control: Scientific Quality Criteria (Reliability of the scientific inputs and of the interdisciplinary results, etc.) Interactive Quality Criteria (Social fairness, process fairness, transparency of the interactive processes, argumentative quality) Technology assessment (TA) is a scientific, interactive and communicative process which aims to contribute to the formation of public and political opinion on societal aspects of science and technology.

13 Policy Advice Challenges Quality Control: Communicative Quality Criteria Flexibility related to the ongoing debate, keep track with social, political and scientific reality, political embedding, diffusion of results, striving for synergies

14 Theory of TA ? There is no Theory of TA Strict context reference makes TA untheorize-able ? You can find - guidelines for a successful TA-project management - theoretical statements in descriptions of TA-concepts - a long tradition of successful TA-projects (best practice)

15 Theory of TA ? Example Consequences 1.Intended versus unintended 2.Desirable versus undesirable 3.Expected versus unexpected 4.Short-term versus long-term 5.Main- or most relevant versus side- or less relevant 6.… Common aspect in TA: 5. after 1.

16 Conclusion Successful TA… … needs to be scientific excellent … needs to be transdisciplinary … needs to be communicative … needs to quality controlled There is no Theory of TA

17 Conclusion Successful TA… … needs to be scientific excellent … needs to be transdisciplinary … needs to be communicative … needs to quality controlled There is no Theory of TA (up to now)

18 Michael Decker Institute for Technology Assessment and System Analysis (ITAS) Phone: +49/ Fax:+49/ Contact Thank you for your attention !


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