We invite you to propose papers for the selected conference sessions. The aim of the conference is to discuss how technology assessment and related activities such as science and technology studies, responsible research and innovation, public engagement, and foresight can contribute to knowledge-based policy-making on science, technology and innovation, to engage policymakers and other stakeholders in this endeavour, and to learn from each other’s perspectives.

The central topic of the 4th European TA Conference will be value-driven technologies, from smart grids to wearables, from autonomous driving to men-machine interactions, from robotics to bio-economy, from food security to ageing and well-being. All such technologies are changing our society today and will continue to do so even more in the near future. However, technologies are driven not only by innovations, but also by values that promote or inhibit these innovations. The more a technology changes and potentially impacts society, the more crucial are ethical debates that accompany it. The debate on nuclear energy, for instance, has not been shaped by technical arguments only and widespread digitalization is not only a matter of technology and business models. Technology is not neutral, it is envisioned, created, adopted, neglected or condemned and thus driven by a vast set of diverse values of diverse actor groups. In this conference, we want to shed light on the values that shape technologies, how they manifest and what socio-technical consequences they entail. At the conference, experts and policy-makers will have opportunity to discuss what role the society plays or could play in the design of new technologies, which new approaches to co-creation are subject of investigation in scientific disciplines, and which policy actions are necessary for governing innovations.

The proposals for papers should not exceed 500 words and should include the following:

  • Title and abstract of the paper
  • Name of the selected session from the below list
  • Contact information of the author(s)

The proposals for papers should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 31st May 2019. Applicants will receive notification of acceptance once all proposals have been processed by the scientific committee and session chairs.


CONFERENCE SESSIONS – OPEN FOR PAPER PROPOSALS (click on a session for pdf file or scroll down for short descriptions):



Session A1: Augmented Realities, Spatial Perception and Societal Impacts
Digital media shape our perception of spaces, e.g., by mapping and mobile navigation systems that structure our geographic reality, through augmented reality (AR) games, social media that floods us with news, customized advertisements or geo-tagged photos, videos, and comments about places of interest. Additionally, online and offline realities increasingly converge as AR technology evolves and spreads. There is however a wide research gap on how the use of AR affects individuals and society at large. For instance, how do digital media and AR change individuals’ perception of space? Which values drive AR development and use and how do these manifest? What are potential scenarios of AR propagation and pervasiveness? What are possible impacts of AR use on society and the environment? Which methods are suitable for investigating the use of AR and its impacts? Is there a need for regulation and what are the ethical considerations of this development?


Session A3: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work and Education

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a science fiction, but has become a part of our everyday life. The need for an active engagement in the deployment of AI technologies stems from the assumption that the economic growth in the following period will heavily rely on the use of AI-based technologies. High urgency of the relevant policy response related to the deployment of AI results from the expected disruptive impact of AI technologies on the labour market, businesses and the whole structure of society. The aim of this session is to discuss suitable policy responses that can help the society to prepare for the upcoming digital future. We invite presentations and case studies that cover among others the following topics:

  • What knowledge and skills will be the key to success in the labour market and in business?
  • How can the governments, companies and other actors effectively help develop these skills among students, active and vulnerable workers?
  • How does the need for social security change in the future economy? What types of new support tools should be tested and deployed?
  • What other threats will the society face in the era of advanced AI implementation? How should they be treated?


Session A4: Dual-Use in a Digital World
A 'technological race' is developing between several global players around strategic key technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence and robotics. This is not purely a civil research agenda, as technological supremacy is considered a strategic goal for both economic and military power. As a result, military and security interests are increasingly shaping the relationship between science, technology and society. They deserve a wide public and political debate in order to arrive at a though-out and democratic decision making about science and technology in society.


Session B1: “Limits to… Predictive Power” Policy Advice in the Age of Computational Modelling 

The relevance of computational modelling and simulation (CMS) in policy advice is continuously increasing, yet questions of interpretability and inherent values remain challenging for those involved in advising policy makers or societal actors. In Technology Assessment (TA), CMS may both serve as an object of analysis ‐ relating to questions of knowledge production, advisory systems or societal decision‐making‐, as well as support TA practitioners’ daily work as an epistemic tool. This session invites presentations that reflect on these relations along the following questions:

  • What kind of and whose assumptions and values are inscribed in computational modelling approaches and how?
  • How are model assumptions and results negotiated and communicated between different actors?
  • What opportunities and barriers does CMS provide for democratic deliberations of technology visions?


Session B3: New Methods for TA Computational Content Analysis: Experiences, Potentials and Challenges

TA studies frequently involve analysing large amounts of content: scientific articles, policy documents, newspaper articles, or social media contributions. With this session, we aim to explore whether and how Computational Content Analysis, including text mining, topic modelling and bibliographic research, offers methodological innovations for TA studies. We invite presentations that reflect on the experiences made with specific methods and tools of Computational Content Analysis, focusing on the following topics:

  • The role of methods such as topic modelling, network analysis or bibliographic analysis in literature reviews and the assessment of scientific fields and discourses. The role of these methods in identifying inherent values in the content;
  • Computational CA methods for quantitative and qualitative discourse analysis;
  • Methods and tools useful for the analysis of visual content (such as images);
  • Methodological and practical challenges of Computational CA use in TA studies, with a view to reliability, validity and accuracy;
  • Combination of Computational CA with other TA methods.


Session D1: Industry 4.0 in the Light of Demographic Change
Industry 4.0 and demographic change are developments which affect European societies now and in future: The EC aims to tackle (an ageing population) and foster them (growing economies via re-industrializing Europe) within the Grand challenges. Their consequences are expected to be manifold. Yet, it may be worthwhile investigating them by taking a closer look at how they affect each other, how they interact or even reinforce each other’s implications and consequences as opposed to implications expected when regarding these developments separately. Demographic change describes a change in societies´ age structure – there will be less young people as birth rates decline and more individuals who pertain to older age groups. Industry 4.0 embraces digitally connection of all components along the value chain: machines, components, raw material, workers, products and consumers.  This effects on work environments and a broad spectrum of positive and negative implications are discussed.


Session E1: Governing Energy Policy – Value Driven or Smart Choices?
The recent IPCC report (2018) which examined the impacts of global warming at 1.5 °C clearly highlighted the slow progress of the world in reducing our global emissions. Critical to achieving such goals is the need for a range of carbon dioxide removal technologies as a way of managing the transition to a sustainable energy future. At the same time while the number of people without access to reliable energy hit its lowest record of less than 1 billion people, carbon dioxide emissions have been rising. Many attribute this to policy decisions that while seemingly popular with the general public, are not necessarily motivated by climate mitigation goals or other rational decision points. This session is seeking papers from those working across the energy policy arena. It would be made most interesting if a cross section of countries with varying strategies can be represented (not just those in Europe) where their energy strategies and decision points and how they were informed can be highlighted.


Session E4: Energy Transition and Work Organisation Changes

The socially accepted and cost-efficient realization of the energy transition based on renewable energies has been a major challenge for a variety of industry sectors in Europe. It also implies important capacities on the R&D policies for the emergence of new technologies for energy management. Simultaneously, it becomes a challenge for the emergence of forms of work organisations that encompasses such new needs. Flexible energy demands are new requirements that are already framed in terms of policy measures in several EU and also OECD countries, but these measures have to be articulated with social needs and industry conditions. We expect papers to cover the following aspects:

  • Which are the social, economic, technical and value-driven determinants of operational problems due to fluctuating energy supply in process industry companies?
  • Which risks are identified and which challenges for the assessment of such technology?
  • Which experiences and operational strategies have already been developed in this context?
  • How are the employees involved in these strategies?
  • Which evaluation methods of socio-technical systems with regard to a fluctuating energy supply have been applied?


Session H1: Genome Editing in Human Reproduction: Society, Ethics and Governance
The session will focus on the development and application of heritable genome editing interventions and key ethical and social considerations raised by such interventions at individual and collective level, for current and future generations, for the human species. The session aims to provide an open and inclusive discussion on the opportunities and challenges as wells as risks and concerns presented by this technology, by asking for an open call for papers considering a broad range of diverse positions and views. The session welcomes innovative and value-driven reflections on questions including governance of the technology and guiding principles; involvement of society and other stakeholders on the role of such technology in our society, and how to best promote it; working definition for human ‘genetic identity’; condition ‘deserving’ genetic modification; and distinction (or not) between treatment and enhancement.


Session H2: Non/Acceptance of Human Enhancement – Societal and Ethical Considerations for „Good“ Decisions

The term “enhancement” contains the moral ambivalence which reaches from “improvement” to “the subversion of humanity”. The basic methods of human enhancement are nano-bio—info-cogno technology based. Their aim is to increase three basic characteristics: healtspan, cognition and emotion, or physical, intellectual and psychological capacity. As for extent, enhancement is a very broad phenomenon; its extent reaches from “improving” on a genomic level, through pharmaceutical “improvement” of emotions and physical possibilities of the human organ- ism and the physical appearance, all the way to the cognitive functions and memory (Gerlai 2003, Glannon 2006) and connecting the human brain to a computer, surpassing the limits of human intelligence with artificial intelligence and reaching a state of singularity (Kurzweil 2005).

  • The symposium should enable framing the ethical discourse/s on human enhancement, in order to make it a productive platform for „good“ decisions. What should be the criteria for approval? Who should define them?
  • The symposium should gather a diversity of arguments – both theoretical and empirically based, that and enable dialogue between value-driven (demand) and technology driven (supply) human enhancement initiatives.


Session H3: Assessing Similarities and Gaps in Ageing and Disabilities: Towards Better Assistive Technologies 

In this session, we intend to bring together different perspectives which share practical examples and conceptual approaches in this empirical field and try to assess how these findings can be integrated into scientific and public debates. We will also reflect on what lessons can be learned from disabilities and ageing studies relating to the value-driven role and use of Assistive Technologies (ATs). The following questions can be helpful to inspire session contributions and further debate:

  • Are there good methods for discussing interactions between values of and needs for ATs?
  • What role does TA and its related activities play to ensure value-driven inclusion through ATs?
  • What is the importance and impact of the DIY assistive technology movement? What lessons can be learned from this movement?
  • What are the governance challenges or solutions for ATs in order to secure fairness, dignity, and well-being?


Session H4: The Change of Health Technologies – Citizens’ Engagement in Their Own Health Situation
The session addresses the engagement of hackers, cyborgs, and the DIY movement in developing health technologies on their own or extending the possibilities of already existing ones (e.g. https://openaps.org/). The analysis of the underlying approaches, ideas, and visions might lead to an understanding of the actors’ social and cultural images that potentially lead to desires for achieving a change in and/or of society. We encourage contributions that, inter alia, focus on how to merge the conventional health care system and the perspectives of hackers, cyborgs, and the DIY movement responsibly and on how their approach can be understood as empowerment and a way to democratize the health care system. Furthermore, we ask how we could draw a line between health and enhancement devices and what constitutes the difference between a patient and a cyborg. Legal issues coming along with the subject and possible approaches of dealing with legal complications might be examined as well.


Session N2: Technology Assessment in Forestry Sector under Climate Change

The analysis of social and environmental aspects of forest science and technology are crucial for increasing resilience and conserving biodiversity in times of climate change. In this session we welcome presentations dealing with assessment of science and technology in forestry sector. The presentations may address one of the following questions (but not limited to):

  • How carbon footprint could be reduced in forestry sector? And what are the value-driven mechanisms that influence the scientific and societal debates?
  • What are indicators for sustainability assessments and how could they be standardized in forestry sector (nationally and internationally)?
  • Which transdisciplinary innovations are needed to increase public dialogue and awareness in forestry sector?
  • How to create a framework of technology assessment that can be used for policy advice at local, regional, and national/global level for the forestry sector?


Session N3: Food Waste Reduction – Possible Solutions
Food Waste is a global challenge related to the value of food in different cultures, efficiency of food supply chains, local and global markets, etc. Global initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction promoting sustainable food systems including sustainable food production on the one hand and sustainable diets and consumption on the other. The issue of food waste is high on the political agenda in industrialized countries and it is expected to constitute a growing problem in developing countries (rapid urbanization, expansion of supermarket chains and changes in diets and lifestyles). The aim of the session is to identify TA-relevant issues on food waste reduction and to discuss public approaches towards sustainable consumption and food waste.


Session P2: How to Serve Parliament as a TA Institute
This session is based on the assumption that TA institutes should strive for better support of parliament with their publications and other activities. Why? Our societies are becoming more and more technology and science driven which calls for a need for politicians to think and decide on how these technologies can serve public values in the best possible manner. Another reason is that more parliaments want to be more self- supporting in their knowledge provision (and thus less depending on government to provide them with evidence). And last, there is an increasing public cry for more citizen participation in the process of political agenda setting and decision making, also on technological issues. Parliaments are also nowadays experimenting with ways to involve citizens in their parliamentary process. Many TA institutes have expertise and experience with citizen participation and thus can support parliaments in this matter.


Session P3: Exploring the Roles and Opportunities of Co-creation
In this session we invite participants to reflect on their experiences with the conceptualisation, design and organisation of co-creative processes. Co-creation has emerged as popular approach for conceptualisation and design of responsible research and innovation (rri) processes in practice. In this session we would like participants to reflect on the differences and similarities between co-creative and participatory process designs. What role do they play in e.g. democratisation of R&I, knowledge-based policy-making, innovation and research processes – what roles could, or should, they play? What are the requirements for good practice, and what are the strengths and limitations of different designs and approaches? What role is provided for participants in co-creation and how is expertise, power and expertise delegated among participants and to what effect? The session will be interactive in its format. Authors are asked to prepare short pitches for their position, and audiences are facilitated to co-develop argumentation and outcome of the session.


Session U1: Technology Assessment and Ethics for Value-driven Technologies: Educational Aspects

The session addresses the conceptual, methodological and organizational challenges of integrating TA principles into educational systems. Educational institutions are regarded as space of (re)production of values and attitudes, sociocultural meanings and epistemological optics for technical practices, while being constrained by the structural limitations of globalizing markets and growing specialization. We invite educationalists and all those interested in disseminating the value-driven approach to technologies to share their visions and experience in the field of technical and non-technical education, within a wider comparative perspective on educational systems, including pre-university training and life-long learning. Agenda:

  • TA in the Curriculum: How to Teach and Who is to be Educated?
  • From Ethics of Technology to Value-driven Technologies: Innovative Forms and Tools of Education
  • Re-conceptualizing Professionalism in Engineering: Global Standards and National Policies


Session OC: Open Call for Papers
Any other topics not listed or described in the above mentioned sessions which fit into the main topic of the conference: Value-driven Technologies: Methods, Limits, and Prospects for Governing Innovations.