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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 25 MEPs nominated by nine EP Committees. The STOA Panel forms an integral part of the structure of the EP.
Scientific Foresight (STOA) has written 181 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

How the internet can harm us, and what can we do about it?

The internet has received much negative news coverage in recent years. Articles focus on major privacy scandals and security breaches, the proliferation of fake news, rampant harmful behaviours like cyber-bullying, cyber-theft, revenge porn, the exchange of child porn and internet predation, internet addiction, and the negative effects of the internet on social relations and social cohesion. Continue reading

Building a renewable energy future on dialogue and cooperation

The STOA workshop ‘Responding to public opposition to low-carbon energy technologies’ gathered academic experts, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), regulators and grid operators to share their perspectives on managing public opposition to and support for low-carbon energy technologies. Continue reading

What if we could design better technologies through dialogue? [Science and Technology Podcast]

While we often worry about the acceptance of technology in the face of real and potential public opposition, there are frequently gaps between how regulators, developers and experts conceptualise acceptance and opposition. Continue reading

A week celebrating science at the European Parliament

A packed Science Week at the European Parliament from 5 to 7 February 2019, organised by the European Parliament’s 2019 Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) Continue reading

Scientists and journalists team up to tackle disinformation in science

The European Science-Media Hub (ESMH) is organising a workshop, on Wednesday, 6 February 2019, to take a closer look at some initiatives aimed at tackling misinformation and disinformation in science. Continue reading

Achieving digital democracy through knowledge sharing

The EPTA Conference 2018 entitled ‘Towards a digital democracy – Opportunities and challenges’ focused on democratic processes in the era of breakthrough technologies such as quantum technologies, artificial intelligence and blockchain. Continue reading

Why are people opposed to low-carbon energy technologies?

In the context of climate change, we often talk about the need to achieve public support for low-carbon energy technologies. However, new installations frequently face public opposition, and there are gaps between how regulators, developers and experts conceptualise and respond. Continue reading

What if we let consumer electricity prices fluctuate? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Allowing consumer electricity prices to fluctuate from one time of the day to another could help accelerate the transition towards renewable energies and drive down the costs of this transition. Electricity production from renewable sources, such as wind and solar energy, is expanding rapidly in Europe and around the world. Continue reading

A novel approach for better delivery of precision medicines in Europe

The STOA workshop entitled ‘Innovative solution for research in healthcare’, chaired by Paul Rübig (EPP, AT), first STOA Vice-Chair, is an opportunity to discuss the implementation of an ‘innovation-centred’ system, exploring a truly ‘patient-centred’ paradigm with systematically coordinated applied clinical research carried out in conjunction with drug development. Continue reading

Galileo satellite navigation: many benefits back on earth, but challenges remain

Probably the best-known satnav is the American GPS, but China (BeiDou) and Russia (GLONASS) have also developed their own global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). All these systems are under military control. Continue reading

What if we genetically engineered an entire species? [Science and Technology Podcast]

A gene drive is a technique for manipulating ecosystems by introducing self-propagating custom genes among a population of sexually reproducing organisms, using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology. Continue reading

Digital democracy in the age of new technologies

Technologies permeate all levels of modern society and economy, the internet and electronic devices are basic tools in our everyday lives; we are increasingly dependent on technologies. Continue reading

Can technology help to win elections?

At the STOA-ESMH workshop ‘How to win Elections: Reflections on the use and misuse of technology in electoral campaigns’, a full house of parliamentarians, journalists and citizens heard a panel of distinguished scholars and practitioners discuss the role of technology and analytical techniques in contemporary election campaigns. Continue reading

What if algorithms could abide by ethical principles? [Scientific and Technology Podcast]

Algorithms are step-by-step procedures for solving a problem, usually expressed in computer code as a set of instructions for a computer to follow in order to complete a task. Continue reading

Use and misuse of technology in contemporary election campaigns

Until recently, discussions of technology and elections focused primarily on e-voting. Controversies highlighted the potential for modernising the voting system, as well as the security flaws that open opportunities for interference and manipulation Continue reading

What if ‘nudging’ good habits could make us healthier? [Scientific and Technology Podcast]

The link between high consumption of trans fats, sugar and salt, found in large amounts in processed food, and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), type 2 diabetes and various cancers is well established. Continue reading

What if gene editing became routine practice?

Gene-editing techniques are still relatively new, but are constantly multiplying, and they seem exciting in their promise, especially since a more precise version – CRISPR-Cas9 – has recently been used for the first time in a human trial. Continue reading

What if blockchain were to be truly decentralised? [Scientific and Technology Podcast]

Technological systems, once introduced in a particular socio-economic context, often evolve in unforeseen ways and may fall prey to unexpected power relations. Continue reading

What if technologies challenged our ethical norms? [Scientific and Technology Podcast]

Ethical considerations concerning the impact of research and innovation (R&I) are increasingly important owing to the quickening pace of technological innovation and the transformative potential and complexity of contemporary advances in science and technology. Continue reading

New STOA study examines 3D bio-printing for medical and enhancement purposes

3D printing refers to the production of physical artefacts by the gradual addition of layers of material. Scientists are now exploring methods of 3D bio-printing, defined here as the production of biological and ‘biologically relevant’ materials for medical and human-enhancement purposes. Continue reading

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