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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 161 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Precision agriculture: legal, social and ethical considerations

Precision agriculture, or precision farming, is a modern farming management concept that, based on a number of technologies coming concurrently from outside the agricultural sector, is of increasing interest to of increasing interest to actors in related fields, as well as legislators across the EU. Continue reading

MEPs renew their annual rendez-vous with scientists in Brussels

The STOA Panel comprises 25 MEPs with a shared interest in techno-scientific developments, and their implications for daily life and policy-making. Encouraging the exchange of ideas between scientists and MEPs is an essential part of STOA’s mission. Continue reading

Therapies for the future – Advanced therapies & nanomedicine

Advanced therapy medicinal products constitute a heterogeneous group of biopharmaceuticals encompassing gene therapy and somatic cell therapy medicinal products, as well as tissue-engineered and combined products (tissues or cells associated with a device). Continue reading

What if we could 3D-print our own body parts? [Science and Technology Podcast]

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. Continue reading

STOA Annual Lecture 2017: Media in the age of artificial intelligence

This year, STOA’s Annual Lecture will focus upon how media and other information is managed and distributed in the age of artificial intelligence (AI). Continue reading

New technologies and regional policy: Insights for the next cohesion policy framework

These are some of the policy options for the legislator that emerged during the workshop organised by the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel of the European Parliament (EP) on 16 October 2017 in Brussels. Continue reading

Is it rational to be optimistic about artificial intelligence?

The STOA workshop ‘Should we fear the future? Is it rational to be optimistic about artificial intelligence?’ gathered speakers from the fields of sociology, policy, computer science and philosophy to contribute their perspectives on the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Continue reading

Radio frequency identification tags: a new technology which could change our lives [Science and Technology Podcast]

The Internet of Things is slated to transform our way of life – while radio frequency identification tags, and other short-range communication devices, are already with us – how might this technology change our way of life? Continue reading

Will artificial intelligence really improve our lives?

Humans are, on the whole, living longer and healthier lives than ever before. For many, these basic measures are enough to conclude that the world is becoming a better place. Continue reading

Precision agriculture: animated infographic explains how it revolutionises farming in Europe

Precision agriculture may revolutionise the future of farming in Europe. We have developed an animated infographic to guide you through precision agriculture’s potential and the risks it poses. Continue reading

Therapies for the future – Exploring the potential of innovative treatments in Europe

The purpose of this workshop is to report on the status of nanomaterial-based and advanced therapy medicinal products, as well as on possible pathways for the future development of these new therapies in Europe. Continue reading

New technologies and regional policy: Towards the next cohesion policy framework

The workshop and in-depth report implement a STOA project aimed at highlighting the importance of the territorial dimension for economic growth at European level. Continue reading

Intelligent urban transport systems: a new technology which could change our lives [Science and Technology Podcast]

Over 70 % of all Europeans live in cities, and as this percentage continues to increase, cities become even more congested. Inhabitants suffer from increasingly poor air quality and more noise, as their cities become generally less liveable. Continue reading

Turning waste into a resource

Around 476 kilograms per person of municipal waste (1 300 grams per person per day) were generated in the EU in 2015, with a significant portion — around one-third of all municipal waste in 2012 — still being disposed of in landfills. Continue reading

Technologies for humanitarian aid

The number of people in need due to humanitarian crises resulting from conflicts, climate change-related events or population growth is on the rise. The crises are becoming more complex and protracted, while, at the same time, technological progress advances at an ever increasing pace worldwide. Does technology offer a means for preventing or mitigating the implications of crises? Continue reading

Achieving a sovereign and trustworthy ICT industry in the EU

An increasing number of European citizens, enterprises and public bodies depend on ICT tools (both hardware and software) to run their critical processes, while the internet is becoming a crucial platform in the citizens’ daily lives in the European Union (EU). However, the core of critical services and the protection of key assets and critical infrastructures are mainly based on technologies developed by non-EU companies. Some of these companies are closely linked to foreign governments, whose interests may differ from those of the EU, and who do not always follow European standards and certifications. Continue reading

What if manmade biological organisms could help treat cancer? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Mihalis Kritikos, 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 … Continue reading

New ways to finance cross-border transport infrastructure

Written by Mihalis Kritikos, Border regions face considerable challenges when it comes to cross-border transport infrastructure. These regions therefore need Member States’ support to develop their own unique mobility and transport plans. Publication of a forthcoming STOA study on innovative transport infrastructure funding, expected in November 2017, will follow a presentation to the STOA Panel on … Continue reading

Foresight: a policy tool for anticipating technology trends

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with Victoria Joseph, Since early 2015, the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel at the European Parliament, has been experimenting with science and technology foresight, to provide Members with insights that will help them anticipate possible future developments. Foresight is a fundamental path in policy-making, as policy-making is often … Continue reading

Organoids: a new technology which could change our lives

By Mihalis Kritikos. Organoids are artificially grown organs that mimic the properties of real organs, providing new possibilities for treating diseases, drug development, and personalised and regenerative medicine. Organoids are small clusters of human cells, grown in a laboratory environment to form three-dimensional structures that mimic the functionalities of real organs such as the liver, … Continue reading

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