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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 116 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

What if your personal health tracker could save your life? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Christian Kurrer, Through advances in technology, big data has become a major asset and can open up numerous opportunities in all areas, but how can we use this in the context of health care and ensure it benefits everyone? Advances in healthcare have led to dramatic increases in life expectancy and quality of … Continue reading

Health systems for the future

Written by Gianluca Quaglio and Amr Dawood, The health care sector plays an important role in the overall EU economy, accounting for 8 % of the total European workforce and 8.5 % of EU GDP. All EU Member States face strong and growing economic pressures on their health and long-term care systems, driven by already high levels … Continue reading

Cybersecurity in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

Written by Zsolt G. Pataki with Victoria M. Joseph, Cybersecurity is an oft-used term today, and many seem familiar with its meaning. However, it is unclear where the responsibility for policy-making on cybersecurity and cyberdefence actually lies. While national security is sometimes accountable, the cyber domain does not confine itself to operating within traditional national borders, limiting the … Continue reading

STOA Workshop: Innovative financing for cross-border transport

Webstreaming Written by Mihalis Kritikos, While EU funding is available for large-scale trans-European transport infrastructures, less seems to be spent on smaller projects in Europe’s border regions, which rely on cross-border transport of goods and passengers. Cross-border projects to remove bottlenecks and bridge the gaps identified between national networks are vital for an efficient and … Continue reading

Blockchain stimulates a lively debate at the European Parliament

Written by Philip Boucher, On 11 May 2017, the STOA workshop ‘Spotlight on blockchain: a new generation of digital services’ provided a unique opportunity for the public to join policy-makers, technology experts and businesses to discover the wide-ranging opportunities and challenges presented by blockchain technology. In the course of the workshop, co-organised with the European … Continue reading

The role of citizens in the future of science

Written by Philip Boucher. The links between science and policy have been strengthened in recent years. We often hear about the role of scientific evidence in policy-making, but policy also has a substantial influence on the way that science develops. Scientific research is not only about advancing knowledge, but also responding to the most important … Continue reading

Opportunities and challenges of 5G in the EU

Written by Mihalis Kritikos. ‘The European Union will manage to gain a competitive advantage if it takes a leading role in the definition and standardisation of 5G technologies’ is how Eva Kaili, (S&D, Greece), Chair of Parliament’s Scientific and Technology Options Assessment (STOA), opened the workshop on ‘Opportunities and challenges of 5G in the EU’, which … Continue reading

What if blockchain changed social values? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Philip Boucher, Blockchain technology could shake up many aspects of our daily lives, from the currency we use to the purchases we make. But what is the impact on our social values, and what can policy-makers do about it? Blockchain technology is a remarkably transparent and decentralised way of recording lists of transactions. … Continue reading

Language equality in the digital age

Written by Zsolt G. Pataki with Amr Dawood, While multilingualism is one of Europe’s greatest assets, it is also one of the most substantial challenges for the creation of a truly integrated EU. Around 80 languages are used in the EU, and language barriers have a profound effect, not only on the establishment of a common … Continue reading

Using technology in the fight against drug addiction

Written by Gianluca Quaglio and Amr Dawood, Disorders due to the abuse of licit and illicit drugs are a major public health concern in the EU, with considerable interpersonal, physical and societal consequences. In the EU, 23 million people are affected by alcohol-related disorders, 24 % of the population smoke, and more than 16 million Europeans (aged 15–34) … Continue reading

Spotlight on blockchain: A new generation of digital services

Written by Philip Boucher, Blockchain technology is a remarkably transparent and decentralised way to record lists of transactions. The technology is complicated, controversial and fast-moving, but is also of increasing interest to citizens, businesses and legislators across the European Union. A new report, ‘How blockchain technology could change our lives’, published in February 2017 by … Continue reading

STOA Workshop: Opportunities and challenges of 5G in the EU

Webstreaming Hashtag: #STOA5G Written by Mihalis Kritikos 5G has been described as the most critical building block of our ‘digital society’, as it promises a new wave of technology services – from driverless cars to smart home appliances – and mobile broadband download rates up to 60 times faster than from the current 4G providers. … Continue reading

What if we were to build skyscrapers from wood? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Christian Kurrer, Can new technologies contribute to a revival of wood as a source for biomass and construction material, and play a leading role in the fight against climate change? Wood has been part of human civilisation for many thousands of years, playing a key role as fuel or construction material, as well … Continue reading

How can citizens influence the direction of European science?

Written by Philip Boucher, Recent years have seen strengthened links between science and policy. We often hear about the role of scientific evidence in policy-making, but policy also has a substantial influence on the way that science develops. Scientific research is not only about advancing knowledge, but also about responding to the most important opportunities … Continue reading

What if intensification of farming could enhance biodiversity? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with James Tarlton, Could introducing more precision agriculture in Europe allow us to obtain food resilience, while ensuring sustainability and jobs, and taking into account the EU’s wide agricultural diversity? Precision agriculture (PA), or precision farming, involves using technology to improve the ratio between agricultural output (usually food) and agricultural … Continue reading

How blockchain technology could change our lives

Written by Philip Boucher, At their simplest, blockchains can be described as lists of all transactions that have ever been executed in a specific domain. They are organised into ‘blocks’, connected in linear, chronological ‘chains’, and – unlike traditional records of transactions – public, and decentralised. This means that, instead of having a central ‘middleman’ … Continue reading

Ethical and social challenges of agricultural technologies

Written by Mihalis Kritikos with James Tarlton, ‘We shouldn’t hinder technological development, but we should … protect our citizens and our natural resources” is how Marijana Petir (EPP, Croatia), a member of the European Parliament’s STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment) Panel, opened the ‘ethical and social challenges of agricultural technologies – issues for decision-makers’, … Continue reading

Multilingualism in the digital age: The need for a ‘European language programme’

Written by Zsolt G. Pataki with Bianca A. Schranz, The first STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment) workshop in 2017, held on 10 January in the European Parliament, and titled ‘Language equality in the digital age – towards a human language project’, attracted many experts and six Members, all actively involved in the discussion. The workshop … Continue reading

Is organic food really good for our health?

Written by Gianluca Quaglio, Despite strong public interest in the subject, very few studies directly investigate the effect of organic food on human health. To help fill this gap, STOA commissioned a study to review scientific evidence regarding the impact of organic food on human health. The development of environmentally sustainable and healthy food systems … Continue reading

What if animal farming were not so bad for the environment? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with James Tarlton, What options exist, especially in terms of new technologies, for reducing the carbon footprint of the livestock industry, how effective might they be, and what could be done to encourage their implementation? The livestock industry is responsible for around 14.5 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. The … 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