Project Member: Helge Torgersen

About: The Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) is a research facility of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. It performs inter-disciplinary scientific research at the interface of technology and society. Its work focuses on development trends, on societal consequences and on options for shaping technological change. Investigations into the applications of new technologies in their societal context and the analysis of technological and societal conditions, of risks and opportunities provide the basis for developing technological and organisational design alternatives and regulatory options. A pre-condition for ITA’s work is solid basic research and the effort to detect fields of future problems as early as possible. ITA has been involved in many research projects on the European level under various Research Frameworks and under initiatives such as ESTO or EPTA. ITA’s research covers several thematic areas including Biotechnology, especially the conditions for the approval and regulation of genetically modified organisms and products; comparative investigations into attitudes towards biotechnology, biotech policies in Austria and Europe; and analyses of societal conflicts over technology implementation. As the specialist TA institution in Austria, ITA also functions as a local point in the TA network: maintaining the TA data bank entries, editing a national TA newsletter, organising conferences, etc.

Role and Tasks in the Project:
ITA’s role in the project includes the following tasks:

  • Monitoring of the survey and fact-finding exercice to search and pool information and open questions on biosafety and bioethical aspects of synthetic biology;
  • Contact point to further European Technology Assessment Institutes;
  • Contribution to biosafety and public perception issues.