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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, under the guidance of the STOA Panel of 25 MEPs. The STOA Panel forms an integral part of the structure of the European Parliament.
Scientific Foresight (STOA) has written 95 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Making difficult decisions in agriculture: STOA Workshop

Written by Mihalis Kritikos and Nera Kuljanic, Scientists have new technological answers to the twin challenges of limiting emissions and feeding a growing population which is simultaneously shrinking the space left for cultivation. However, these answers in turn pose their own ethical and risk management questions. Societal actors and a wide range of stakeholders have … Continue reading

What if computers were trillions of times faster? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with James Tarlton, Could the theory of quantum mechanics one day revolutionise commonplace technical devices such as sensors, communication devices and computers? Quantum mechanics is a scientific theory that has revolutionised our understanding of the Universe. In the world of classical physics, a system is always in one particular state … Continue reading

STOA Workshop ‘Can technology help remove language barriers in Europe?’

Workshop hashtag: #LanguageTech STOA website & registration Live-streaming  Written by Zsolt G. Pataki with Bianca A. Schranz Multilingualism is an essential feature of the European Union and respect of linguistic diversity one of its fundamental values: there are 24 official languages and more than 60 regional and minority languages. However, persisting or increasing language barriers are … Continue reading

What can European farming expect from new technologies?

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with James Tarlton, How will information technology revolutionise agriculture in the 21st century? That is the question investigated by a recently published study on ‘Precision Agriculture and the Future of Farming in Europe’, which was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel. The lead panel … Continue reading

What if electric cars became an affordable and convenient way to travel? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Christian Kurrer with James Tarlton, Are electric cars on the verge of becoming the norm, should we encourage this transition, and what would be the consequences for the environment, the automobile industry and our electricity grid? Over the past century, cars have become an integral part of our society. They generally offer greater … Continue reading

Towards a space-enabled future for Europe

Written by Nera Kuljanic with James Tarlton, As well as being a symbol of human curiosity, Outer Space is hugely important for technologies that we use every day, such as mobile phones, live TV broadcasting and weather forecasting. The number of space-faring nations and the amount of space commercialisation are increasing, and, as space research … Continue reading

Understanding the Human Brain: A New Era of Big Neuroscience

Written by Gianluca Quaglio with James Tarlton, Decoding the human brain remains one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. On 29 November 2016, the STOA (Science and Technology Assessment) Panel will host a workshop entitled ‘Understanding the Human Brain: A New Era of Big Neuroscience’, at which representatives from some of the world’s leading brain … Continue reading

Evidence-based policy-making: Science meets Parliaments

Written by Dr Zsolt Pataki with James Tarlton, The European Parliament must ‘produce results which are evidence-based’. This is how Paul Rübig, Chair of the STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment) Panel, set the scene for this year’s round of the MEP-scientist pairing scheme. The objective of the scheme is to foster better connections between the … Continue reading

What if I had to put my safety in the hands of a robot? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with Sarah McCormack, Will intelligent robots bring us benefits in relation to security and safety, or will the vulnerabilities within these systems mean that they cause more problems than they solve? Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are currently found in a wide range of services and applications, and their numbers are rapidly … Continue reading

Europe’s outermost innovation frontier: STOA Annual Lecture on Space

Written by Nera Kuljanic with James Tarlton, Webstreaming: http://eptwitter.eu/faCD It fires the imagination and drives innovation. For centuries, ideas about exploration and exploitation of outer space have been occupying our minds and shaping the identity of our species. Today, space could play an increasing role for our daily lives and development. As our ambitions for … Continue reading

Science meets Parliaments – Launch of the MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme 2016

Written by Zsolt G. Pataki, Expert information on scientific and technological developments is crucial to MEPs’ policy-making role. Ensuring MEPs have regular access to reliable information is an essential part of the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel’s mission. It is in this context that STOA is co-organising, with the European Commission’s … Continue reading

What if blockchain technology revolutionised voting? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Philip Boucher, Is blockchain the revolution in security and transparency that is needed to enable e-voting and, if so, what are the implications for the future of democracy? Despite the digitalisation of several important aspects of modern life, elections are still largely conducted offline, on paper. Since the turn of the century, e-voting … Continue reading

Technology and inequality: Can computers help or is it ‘all their fault’?

Written by Dr Mihalis Kritikos, On 11 October 2016, the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel will host a workshop, chaired by Panel member Georgi Pirinski (S&D, Bulgaria), to discuss the effects of new technologies on labour markets. The workshop will bring together policy-makers, experts from academia, industry representatives and NGOs to assess … Continue reading

Precision Agriculture, what is it and how can it affect farming in Europe? A new study

Currently the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel is conducting a study entitled ‘Precision agriculture and the future of farming in Europe’. This Scientific Foresight study aims to identify relevant legislative pathways by mapping concerns regarding future developments in precision agriculture. The first part of the study, the technical horizon scan, has been published. Continue reading

What if cars became crucial for the energy grid? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with Brian Kelly, Smart transportation is widely seen as creating a world in which the vehicles of the future have the ability to make decisions without human input. But in addition, car batteries can serve as an electricity storage mechanism, supporting stabilisation of the electricity grid through vehicle-to-grid technology. Smart … Continue reading

How will robotic applications in the energy grid change our lives?

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with Brian Kelly Today, more and more services and applications are functioning based on interconnected computers and robots interacting with the physical world. These are known as Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). A recently-published study on the ‘Ethics of Cyber-Physical Systems’ for the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel examines seven … Continue reading

Robotic applications will bring about major changes in healthcare

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with Sarah McCormack, The use of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) in healthcare is ever increasing, and we have to examine what impact they will have on the lives of citizens, especially those of patients, disabled and elderly citizens. CPS are technical systems where networked computers and robots interact with the physical … Continue reading

Will robots change the face of agriculture and food production?

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with Sarah McCormack, A study on the ‘Ethics of Cyber-Physical Systems’ has recently been published by the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel. The study examined seven key areas, where cyber-physical systems (CPS) will have a significant impact. CPS are technical systems where networked computers and robots interact with … Continue reading

Cyber-Physical Systems and their application in modern manufacturing

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with Brian Kelly, CPS are technical systems where networked computers and robots interact with the physical world. Found in a wide range of services and applications, CPS are quickly becoming a part of modern manufacturing processes, making it necessary to examine the impacts they will have in this area. The … Continue reading

How will robotics applications change the transport of people and goods?

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with Brian Kelly, A study on the ‘Ethics of Cyber-Physical Systems’ has recently been published for the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel. The study examined seven key areas where Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) could have a significant impact. This blog post has been made using information from a technical … Continue reading

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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved