Policy Sciences

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 271–299 | Cite as

Technology assessment and technology policy in Europe: New concepts, new goals, new infrastructures

  • Ruud Smits
  • Jos Leyten
  • Pim Den Hertog

Abstract

Starting from the observation that the technological potentials are underutilized in economic and in social tems, this article raises the question of what role technology assessment (TA) can play in technology policy to address this problem. The causes of the problem of underutilization are analyzed and discussed in relation to developments in technology policy and TA. Against this background, the actual state of TA in Europe at national and supranational levels is described, gaps and flaws in the European TA Infrastructure (ETAI) are identified, and suggestions for improvement are made. It is concluded that TA can play an important role in increasing the social and economic returns on investments in the development of new technology. Growing interest in, and budgets for, TA at European level — together with the shift from a supply side toward a more demand oriented technology policy — create a favorable environment for this. However, attempts to strengthen TA will only be successful if the TA community recognizes this role and is not satisfied with the marginal position it still has.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruud Smits
    • 1
  • Jos Leyten
    • 1
  • Pim Den Hertog
    • 1
  1. 1.TNO Centre for Technology and Policy StudiesNetherlands Organization for Applied Scientific ResearchApeldoornThe Netherlands

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