Interdisciplinarity in TA: Case Studies Two case studies (TA in medicine and climate change) will be analysed for the realisation of interdisciplinarity in TA-projects on the basis of results achieved so far. How, in fact, was the socio- economic knowledge base improved? Technology Assessment (TA) is a well-established tool for supporting the development of scientific and technological policy in Europe. Almost all experts agree that TA is an interdisciplinary task, since the assessment of technological and scientific advance in view of societal (e.g. social, political, ecological) consequences requires more than only one scientific approach. However, the interdisciplinary approach of TA is realised in
very different ways. This becomes most apparent in regard to the participation (participative TA) or exclusion (e.g. expert TA) of laypersons in the process of assessment, which is handled differently in different member states of the EU. During the last few years a trend to device participative TA-projects (cp. EUROpTA) can be observed. The conference will focus on the realisation of interdisciplinarity in different TA-methods and in different fields of application with a special concern for the role of laypersons participating the discussions or not.
The conference will have three sections:
1. Methodological aspects of interdisciplinarity in TA.
In this section, the fundamental questions of interdisciplinary research as basis of TA are treated. How will-interdisciplinary knowledge be generated out of separate scientific disciplines? Which criteria for success must be fulfilled beyond the well-established disciplinary requirements in order to reach successful interdisciplinary research?
From Interdisciplinarity to Transdisciplinary Validity Asocial, political or ecological problem will be tackled by interdisciplinary methods of TA. How will the validity of the results be legitimised? How succeeds the transfer of the interdisciplinary knowledge "back to society? Which part could or should be given to participation of laypersons? In which manner is the consultation of politics realised, as a main target of TA? The focus of the conference will be set on the discussion of keynote lectures. Therefore the ratio between duration of task to duration of discussion will be at least 1:1. In addition, every talk will be commented by an invited commentator in order to initiate a constructive discussion. The integration of young researchers into the concept of the conference will be realised in all categories: At least two or three keynote lectures or comments should be given by young researchers, the scientific organisation committee is partly constituted of young researchers and all young researchers being present have the opportunity to participate in the discussion.
The European countries Denmark, Netherlands, Great Britain, Hungary and Germany are standing for TA concepts with different degrees of participation. Therefore the Keynote-Speakers and Commentators will be invited from these countries. The participation of young researchers should be encouraged by sponsoring their travel expenses and participation fees.