Technology assessment has experienced a renaissance during the last 5 years, mostly connected to the appearance of visible and widely accepted “grand challenges” of the modern societies, such as problems connected to climate change, pandemics, public health, security, etc.
Globalization and the global financial crisis add challenges of new demands for competitiveness and innovation, and the increased speed of the technological development gives rise to a parallel need for proactive technology assessment and public/political clarification processes. This development has increased the focus on inclusive, proactive and forward-looking activities, such as technology assessment and foresight, including a strong emphasis of broad societal engagement in policy-making, which has been a trademark of participatory TA for more than 20 years.
However, the professional discourse on TA has not followed troop, leaving an undesired gap in the mutual learning between practitioners and STS academia in Europe which needs to be counteracted. For this purpose two European TA conferences were and will be held: