Studies and Options Briefs

 
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Prospects for e-democracy in Europe02-2018
Reference
Author

The study was carried out by the European Technology Assessment Group (ETAG), and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (DG EPRS) of the European Parliament. AUTHORS: Iris Korthagen, Ira van Keulen (Rathenau Institute), Leonhard Hennen (KIT/ITAS), Georg Aichholzer, Gloria Rose (ITA/OEAW), Ralf Lindner, Kerstin Goos (Fraunhofer ISI), Rasmus Øjvind Nielsen (DBT Foundation)

Summary

The most important factors for successful e-participation identified in the comparison of 22 case studies are: a close and clear link of e-participation processes to a concrete formal decision-making process; the participatory process and the contribution of its outputs to the overall decision-making process have to be clarified to participants from the start; feedback to the participants about what has been done with their contributions is an indispensable feature of the process; a participative process should not be limited to one event but should be imbedded in an institutional 'culture of participation'; and e-participation must be accompanied by an effective mobilisation and engagement strategy, involving communication instruments tailored for different target groups.

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Study : Prospects for e-democracy in Europe
Annex 1: Prospects for e-democracy in Europe_Part I_Literature review
Annex 2: Prospects for e-democracy in Europe_Part II_Case Studies
Annex 3: Prospects for e-democracy in Europe_Part III_Policy options
Annex 4: Prospects for e-democracy in Europe_Part IV_BRIEFING
What if all our meat were grown in a lab?01-2018
Reference
Summary

Laboratory meat is grown from a small number of cells taken from a live animal and placed in a growth medium in a bioreactor where they proliferate independently. If meat cultured in this way became widely available, it could significantly alleviate the environmental problems currently caused by livestock production - such as greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen pollution of waterways - without requiring humans to alter their consumption patterns. This publication provides an overview of the potential impacts of laboratory meat on environment, public health and farming, and makes suggestions for anticipatory policy-making in this area.

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At a glance : What if all our meat were grown in a lab?
Assistive technologies for people with disabilities01-2018
Reference
Summary

By analysing first the regulatory, health and demographic aspects of assistive technologies, this report prepares the groundwork for a scientific foresight study on the subject. The regulatory analysis focuses on four countries that have successfully adopted the UNCRPD but that have experienced varying levels of success in its implementation. The analysis of disabilities focuses upon three common types of disability: deafness and hearing impairments, blindness and visual impairments and autism spectrum disorders. It also considers the demographic context in terms of an ageing population, which could be a key driver for increasing demand for assistive technologies in the future.

Files
In-Depth Analysis : Assistive technologies for people with disabilities
Annex 1: Part I_Assistive technologies for people with disabilities _Regulatory, health and demographic aspects
Annex 2: Part II_Assistive technologies for people with disabilities_Current and emerging technologies
Annex 3: Part III_Assistive technologies for people with disabilities_Perspectives, needs and opportunities
Annex 4: Part IV_Assistive technologies for people with disabilities_Legal and socio-ethical perspectives
Achieving a sovereign and trustworthy ICT industry in the EU12-2017
Reference
Author

EPRS, DG

Summary

Fighting cybercrime effectively and ensuring the protection of privacy is critical to guaranteeing the trust of individuals in a digital environment where the number and complexity of cyber threats is growing. The European Union (EU) faces a number of challenges to its goal of achieving a trustworthy and cyber-resilient digital single market: (1) a lack of funding for European cybersecurity companies to scale up; (2) fragmentation of the European cybersecurity industry; (3) strong dependence on non-EU providers; (4) misalignment between public R&D programmes and market needs; (5) regulatory fragmentation; and (6) a lack of common standardisation and procurement requirements across Member States.

Files
Study : Achieving a sovereign and trustworthy ICT industry in the EU
Annex 1: Achieving a sovereign and trustworthy ICT industry in the EU - BRIEFING
What if mini-brains could help us understand dementia?12-2017
Reference
Summary

Organoids are artificially grown organs that mimic the properties of real organs. What new possibilities for treating diseases, drug development, and personalised and regenerative medicine do organoids provide?

Files
At a glance : What if mini-brains could help us understand dementia?
Precision agriculture in Europe:Legal, social and ethical considerations11-2017
Reference
Summary

The aim of this study is to illustrate the different ways in which the current EU legislative framework may be affected by the digitisation and automation of farming activities and the respective technological trends. The study analyses the issues that might have to be dealt with, identifying the European Parliament committees concerned and the legislative acts that might need to be revisited, especially in view of the forthcoming Commission communication on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It also provides a series of overarching recommendations that EU actors may wish to take into account when dealing with precision agriculture. To do so, an analysis of the multiple ethical and legal challenges associated with precision farming technologies has been performed, along with a scanning of current legislation in a wide range of areas of EU policy-making, including agricultural policy and related fields, such as environment, health, food safety and climate change.

Files
Study : Precision agriculture in Europe:Legal, social and ethical considerations
What if we could 3D-print our own body parts11-2017
Reference
Summary

The 3D-printing sector has proven its commercial viability in recent years, reaching the high street and, indeed, many homes. The technology is already used in some medical domains, such as dentistry and prosthetics, and many scientists are now exploring methods of printing biological materials – even if reports about lifesaving 3D-printed hearts are certainly premature.

Files
At a glance : What if we could 3D-print our own body parts
Towards a circular economy-Waste management in the EU09-2017
Reference
Author

EPRS, DG

Summary

A general conclusion cited in research is that much of the EU policy on waste centres on the diversion of waste from landfill to incineration or recycling. As such, it is very much an end-of-life disposal perspective (waste as a problem). The goal of a circular economy is to create value-added from waste (waste as a resource). It therefore aims to separate waste into high quality waste streams for re-use, recovery and recycling. This transition will require the active cooperation of waste industries with businesses engaged in the circular economy. It will also mean that more attention to end-of-life recovery options are needed as early as the design phase.

Files
Study : Towards a circular economy-Waste management in the EU
Annex 1: Towards a circular economy-Waste management in the EU
What if manmade biological organisms could help treat cancer?09-2017
Reference
Summary

Synthetic biology is expected to begin to design, construct and develop artificial (i.e. man-made) biological systems that mimic or even go beyond naturally occurring biological systems. Applications of synthetic biology in the healthcare domain hold great promise, but also raise a number of questions. What are the benefits and challenges of this emerging field? What ethical and social issues arise from this engineering approach to biology?

Files
At a glance : What if manmade biological organisms could help treat cancer?
Forward-looking policy-making at the European Parliament through scientific foresight08-2017
Reference
Summary

The European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel, supported by the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA), decided two years ago to experiment with a process involving scenario development and assessment to explore possible future techno-scientific developments and their potential impacts, while backcasting possible future opportunities and concerns to options available to policy-makers today. This was achieved with the involvement of experts from a variety of backgrounds, together with stakeholders, using a multi-perspective approach. In this setting, various types of possible impacts are explored, which provide the foundations for imagined exploratory scenarios. From these scenarios we can learn about the possible challenges and opportunities arising from them. By communicating these challenges and opportunities to the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), together with related legal and ethical reflections, the MEPs are provided with potential insights into how to anticipate future policy issues. The MEPs might thus be able to identify options for working towards the most desirable futures and avoiding undesirable futures, and even for anticipating undesirable scenarios. Therefore, foresight-based policy preparation can help the European Parliament stay well prepared for what might lie ahead, allowing informed, anticipatory action.

Files
Briefing : Forward-looking policy-making at the European Parliament through scientific foresight
 
 
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