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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 167 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

What if all our meat were grown in a lab? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Livestock production has an enormous environmental impact. The total land used for keeping animals and growing crops for their consumption amounts to around 30 % of the world’s ice-free land surface, and the livestock supply chain is responsible for about 14.5 % of global human-made greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Continue reading

How assistive technologies could make society more inclusive of people with disabilities

Assistive technologies (ATs) are designed to improve the functional capabilities of people with disabilities. Some are relatively low-tech and very familiar, such as reading glasses, crutches and hearing aids. Others are more advanced, using cutting-edge science and technology, with future ATs under development that could have a huge impact on all our lives. Continue reading

What if editing genes could fight rare diseases? [Science and Technology Podcast]

A new technique to simplify gene editing might herald a new era of genetic modification. What are the benefits and potential dangers of this technique, and how should policy-makers respond? Continue reading

MEPs meet scientists once again

The sixth round of STOA’s MEP-scientist pairing scheme kicked off with the ‘Science meets Parliaments’ event, co-organised with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) on 28 November 2017. Continue reading

What if mini-brains could help us understand dementia? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Organoids are artificially grown organs that mimic the properties of real organs. What new possibilities for treating diseases, drug development, and personalised and regenerative medicine do organoids provide? Continue reading

How should we manage media in the age of artificial intelligence?

This year’s STOA Annual Lecture focused on how media and other information is managed and distributed in the age of artificial intelligence (AI) – including how AI can be used to disseminate information and misinformation – and also in implementing new measures to counteract fake news. Continue reading

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

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