The Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has been entrusted with the continued operation of the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) in the next five years until 2028. This unanimous decision was taken by the Parliament Committee for Education, Research, and Technology Assessment during today’s meeting (June 21, 2023).
Repeated assignment of KIT is commented as follows by Kai Gehring, Chairman of the Committee for Education, Research, and Technology Assessment: “Today, the Committee unanimously decided to continue the excellent cooperation with the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis in the next five years. With their independent expertise and concentrated knowledge, the researchers help us, the members of Parliament, identify technological developments and innovation potentials and their opportunities and risks at an early stage. As Committee Chairman, I am very happy to continue our successful work, to advance it in an agile way, and to make it useable for Germany as a location of innovation.”
“Assuming responsibility means developing new technologies for coping with the big challenges facing society, from the climate crisis to the energy and mobility transition, to digitalization, to healthcare. Accordingly, potential effects of these technologies must be studied in a scientifically substantiated and independent way, in dialog with society,” says the President of KIT, Professor Holger Hanselka. “Technology assessment is of crucial importance, in particular in advising politics. The fact that KIT has been awarded the contract to operate TAB for another five years reflects the outstanding achievements of ITAS researchers. With their expertise, they have again won a close competition with strong competitors.”
“The trust expressed by the decision of the Committee reflects TAB’s visibility and acceptance in the German Parliament and in society,” says Professor Armin Grunwald, Head of ITAS and TAB. “We are looking forward to continuing to provide the Parliament with agile and forward-looking options for action by analyzing current and controversial sociopolitical and technology policy issues with excellent scientific expertise and in dialog with politics and society. With our work, we also want to enhance the society’s resilience and increase Germany’s innovative strenght.”
The decision of the Federal Parliament to renew the contract with KIT covers the period from September 1, 2023 to August 31, 2028. Use of the vast competency and know-how of KIT and ITAS with respect to systemic relationships and technology impacts will be continued. At the same time, TAB will keep on cooperating with the partners IZT - Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment gGmbH (Berlin) and VDI/VDE Innovation und Technik GmbH (Berlin).
To identify more custom-fit action options for Parliament, TAB will apply an extended spectrum of methods, such as digital data analyses and participative scenario methods. Foresight activities focusing on innovation and transformative resilience will be extended and sharpened. Moreover, it is planned to intensify science communication and public relations work in order to enhance the visibility of technology assessment within and outside of Parliament.
TAB is an independent scientific institution that advises the German Bundestag and its committees in matters of scientific-technical change. Since 1990, TAB has been run by ITAS. TAB analyzes latest scientific-technical developments and their impacts on the society, environment, and economy and, in this way, contributes to informed decision-making by politicians and to public opinion forming also outside of Parliament.
The direct client of TAB is the Committee for Education, Research, and Technology Assessment that decides on topics proposed by the committees and groups of the German Bundestag in close exchange with TAB. The TAB projects and later acceptance of reports submitted by TAB are approved by all parliamentary groups.
TAB’s studies focus on digitalization in society and economy, critical infrastructures and crisis preparedness, applications of artificial intelligence, innovative energy carriers and environmental technologies, mobility and transport systems, biological and medical technologies. Additional studies cover hotspots of innovation, strengths and weaknesses of Germany as a location of research, and current challenges in research and science policies. To deal with this variety of topics, TAB has a team of ten experienced researchers from different disciplines (among others, engineering, biology, physics, economy, philosophy, political science, sociology, future research). Their work is complemented by the know-how and experience of the cooperation partners IZT and VDI/VDE-IT in the areas of future research, transformation, and resilience as well as by the expertise of external experts contracted by TAB.
For the operation of TAB, Parliament has concluded a contract with KIT. Presently, the annual budget of TAB amounts to about EUR 2.6 million. This includes payments to the cooperation partners of TAB and funds for external expert opinions. TAB is member of the Technology Assessment Network of institutions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (NTA). As founding member of the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment Network (EPTA), it also contributes to a responsible innovation policy on the European level.
KIT’s ITAS is the leading institute for technology assessment in Germany and worldwide. ITAS studies the whole spectrum of potential impacts of technologies and, in this way, contributes to using the potentials of progress and to minimizing and avoiding risks at an early stage. ITAS offers knowledge for action and presents approaches to mastering current global challenges. The research results address politics, industry, and society, i.e. the stakeholders designing scientific-technical progress.