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Scientific Foresight (STOA)

The Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) carries out interdisciplinary research and provides strategic advice in the field of science and technology options assessment and scientific foresight. It undertakes in-depth studies and organises workshops on developments in these fields, and it hosts the European Science-Media Hub (ESMH), a platform to promote networking, training and knowledge sharing between the EP, the scientific community and the media. All this work is carried out under the guidance of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), composed of 27 MEPs nominated by 11 EP Committees. The STOA Panel forms an integral part of the structure of the EP.
Scientific Foresight (STOA) has written 214 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

What if smartphones could help contain COVID-19?

The recent outbreak of respiratory diseases triggered by the new coronavirus poses a challenge to public health worldwide. As governments evaluate how to stop further contagion, what role could smartphone apps play in the overall effort? Continue reading

What if we could fight coronavirus with artificial intelligence? [Science and Technology podcast]

Analytics have changed the way disease outbreaks are tracked and managed, thereby saving lives. The international community is currently focused on the 2019-2020 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, first identified in Wuhan, China. Continue reading

‘Mind the gap’ between drug development and clinical practice

For a drug to be prescribed to a patient, it must first be rigorously tested for efficacy and safety and subsequently be approved by relevant authoritative bodies, such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Continue reading

What if artificial intelligence made work obsolete? [Science and Technology podcast]

The world of work is regularly disrupted by technology development. From mass production to word processing, innovations have regularly transformed our working lives and, with them, the broader economic system. Continue reading

What if crop protection were environment-friendly? [Science and Technology podcast]

Synthetic pesticides are often denounced as harmful to both human health and the environment. European Union (EU) policy has a tendency to encourage a reduction in their use. But what effective alternatives are there to protect plant health and boost crop yields? Continue reading

What if internet by satellite were to lead to congestion in orbit?

Internet satellite companies, such as Starlink, OneWeb and Blue Origin (Amazon), aim at providing global internet access via satellites. This will bring many benefits to citizens, isolated regions and the global economy, but what if internet satellites collide with other satellites? Continue reading

Artificial intelligence made in Europe

Positive, reliable and human-centric artificial intelligence (AI) relies on the willingness of Europe as a whole to design a balanced and inclusive governance framework that would allow it to become a leader in the development of trustworthy AI technologies worldwide. Continue reading

What if we lived up to 150 years? [Science and Technology podcast]

Life expectancy has been projected to continue to rise in industrialised countries, including in Europe, mostly due to increases in people reaching the age of 65 years and older. Continue reading

What if hydrogen could help decarbonise transport? [Science and Technology podcast]

The use of hydrogen as a fuel for transport might hold the key for decarbonising our overall energy system, by complementing the generation of electricity from fluctuating renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Continue reading

STOA Panel gears up for the new parliamentary term

During the latest plenary session in Strasbourg, on 24 October, MEPs appointed to the European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) held their first meeting to elect a Chair and two Vice-Chairs for the first half of the 9th parliamentary term. Continue reading

What if technologies replaced humans in elderly care? [Science and Technology podcast]

Europeans are ageing. In 2016, there were 3.3 people of working-age for each citizen over 65 years. By 2070, this will fall to only two. As the population lives longer, our care needs grow, but fewer people will be available to deliver them. Could assistive technologies (ATs) help us to meet the challenges of elderly care? Continue reading

International research collaboration – a key feature of the new global science landscape

The phenomenal growth in collaboration between scientists and institutions located in different countries began 30 years ago, when the bipolar world, in which most internationally active scientists belonged either to the Soviet block or to Western countries, collapsed. Continue reading

What if Libra disrupted the financial system? [Science and Technology podcast]

As of 2020, Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra promises to connect everybody to the global, digital world of banking. The introduction of a privately governed currency could fundamentally challenge the current EU financial framework, conflict with EU law and tax requirements, and violate consumer rights. Continue reading

What if we didn’t need cows for our beef? [Science and Technology podcast]

With the help of cells from a single cow, scientists can produce 175 million hamburgers. When fully commercialised, this type of technology could greatly impact the way we produce and consume meat. Continue reading

What if policy anticipated advances in science and technology? [Science and Technology podcast]

What if blockchain revolutionised voting? What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you? And what if we genetically engineered an entire species? Continue reading

Artificial intelligence, machine learning & automation: what future for journalism?

Some 70 enthusiastic young journalists from all over the EU met in Strasbourg from 4 to 7 June 2019, for the first edition of the European Youth Science and Media Days (#eysmd2019) – the summer school on ‘Artificial intelligence and journalism’ organised by the European Science-Media Hub (ESMH/STOA) in cooperation with the European Youth Press network of media-makers (EYP). Continue reading

How can technology and the arts work together to benefit society?

Technology and the arts are generally considered as distinct sectors of contemporary society, albeit with some important links akin to those between commercial, industrial and legal sectors. However, technology and the arts have a long and special relationship that permeates all stages of human development. Continue reading

Using technology to help those in need

As a result of conflict and protracted crises, 200 million people are currently in need of international humanitarian assistance around the world. Providing timely and adequate assistance to everyone who needs it is an increasingly challenging task, due to the growing needs of people and the complex nature of the crises. Continue reading

Is algorithmic transparency and accountability necessary and/or feasible?

The expected benefits of algorithmic decision systems (ADS) may be offset by the variety of risks they present for individuals (discrimination, unfair practices, loss of autonomy), the economy (unfair practices, limited access to markets), and society as a whole (manipulation, threat to democracy). Continue reading

The challenges of regulating disinformation with artificial intelligence

The spread of false information is not merely a reputational threat for news providers in general, but is a risk factor for democratic order. People are increasingly concerned about the influence of fake news on elections in the USA and Europe. Continue reading

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