Institutional and stakeholder issues in parliamentary technology assessment: A case study
Society looks to science and technology when confronted with challenges such as terrorism, climate change, ageing society, and sustainable consumption. However, not all change is perceived by all stakeholders to be positive. The public sector has an increasing role in influencing the application of modern technologies: policy makers are confronted with technological challenges with far-reaching and often unpredictable impacts: stem cell research, fracking, eCommerce and so on all provide striking examples of the need for elected representatives to have access to unbiased scientific knowledge to underpin evidence-based decision making. This paper reports preliminary results from an on-going research program related to the issues of Parliamentary Technology Assessment (PTA) and citizen participation in related processes. Findings so far - presented in the form of a case study - relate to the institutional structure enabling PTA; while current and future phases of the program address ICT related technology assessment on the one hand and use of ICT and especially e-Government solutions in improving citizen access to and participation in PTA. The case study of Ireland addresses the implementation of a formal PTA capability and it investigates the role played by existing agencies and the gaps that remain to be filled - potentially through the utilization of e-government solutions.
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