Known as Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), drones have become increasingly present due to a sharp drop in production costs, as a consequence of recent innovations in light-weight materials, on-board computers, batteries and fuel tanks. Since their inception, drones have been developed for military purposes, with the inclusion of weapons in them, as well as for surveillance and policing efforts. Recently, however, other uses have proliferated, in the fields of climate data collection, scientific exploration, 3-D mapping, infrastructure maintenance, logistics and delivery services, professional photography and filmmaking, entertainment, wildlife protection and agriculture. The increasing diversity and affordability of drones will surely lead to their widespread use amongst corporations, governmental institutions and common citizens. Thus, the legal and ethical issues already associated with drones will most likely become more prominent and require the attention of European policy makers.
STOA is tasked with providing scientific evidence for decision-making in the European Parliament by conducting projects and organising workshops. In 2014 STOA completed projects on measuring scientific performance, methanol-fueled transport, e-ticketing systems, cloud computing and social networks, and mass surveillance of IT users. A number of workshops was held on the following topics: energy storage, governance of science and technologies, improving health programmes in developing countries, educational technologies, climate change, and the effect of technologies on our behaviours, relationships, norms and values. A new STOA Panel was formed in 2014, following the European elections.
Rafael Rivera Pastor, Carlota Tarín Quirós (Iclaves)
Educational technology encompasses a wide array of technologies and methodologies that are shaped by stakeholders’ behaviours and affected by contextual factors that, if adequately mixed, can contribute to students and teachers better achieving their goals. Such a wide and complex task cannot be addressed by a simple and single intervention. Comprehensive on-going policies are required, covering technology, methodology, economic and regulatory aspects; in addition, such policies are dependent on strong stakeholder engagement. This is a new process where we must learn by doing; therefore, carefully assessing the results of the different interventions is crucial to ensuring success.
Koen Rademaekers, Oscar Widerberg, Katarina Svatikova, Roel van der Veen, Triple E Consulting, Eleonora Panella, Milieu Ltd
Exploration and exploitation of the deep-seas in search of marine minerals and genetic resources have over the past fifteen years received increased attention. Developments in sub-marine technologies, rising raw material prices and scarcity, and advancements in biotechnology, are changing the business-case for further investments in the marine environment. This report provides a state-of-play overview on exploring and exploiting deep-sea resources. A Cost-Benefit Analysis identifies the main potentials and challenges in a scenario where exploitation increases. Policy options are suggested to balance trade-offs between economic, social and environmental aspects associated with future developments. This STOA project 'Technology options for deep-seabed exploitation - Tackling economic,environmental and societal challenges' was carried out by Triple E Consulting and Milieu Ltd. at the request of the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (DG EPRS) of the General Secretariat of the European Parliament.
We are living in a technological culture in which technologies penetrate every domain of our society. Techno-scientific innovations are often designed to make our lives easier, or to solve some societal issues. However, technologies pose unwanted and unintended impacts. This document describes a methodology for Scientific Foresight which offers the Members of the European Parliament legislative pathways to anticipate possible impacts of techno-scientific innovations.
This study was undertaken in support of the Scientific Foresight Unit's ongoing work to develop a methodology for carrying out foresight studies within the European Parliament. Ten different scientific and technological trends are investigated which reflect the interests of citizens, policy-makers and legislators drawn from across the European Union. A summary of each trend is provided followed by an overview of both the 'expected' and 'unexpected' impacts associated with the trend. A legal analysis is then provided which highlights procedural and legislative issues for policy-makers and legislators to consider when tackling policy-making in the EU in relation to each trend.
Company: Capgemini Consulting Authors: M. van den Berg P. de Graaf (editor) P.O. Kwant T. Slewe
The main objective of part two of this study is to provide the European Parliament with policy options, based on technology foresight, with regard to the protection of the EuropeanInformation Society against mass surveillance from a perspective of technology and organisational foresight. Four scenarios with two to four technology options each were developed in this study, leading to twenty-three policy options.
Company: TECNALIA Research and Investigation Authors: Arkaitz Gamino Garcia Concepción Cortes Velasco Eider Iturbe Zamalloa Erkuden Rios Velasco Iñaki Eguía Elejabarrieta Javier Herrera Lotero Jason Mansell (Linguistic Review) José Javier Larrañeta Ibañez Stefan Schuster (Editor)
This document identifies the risks of data breaches for users of publicly available Internet services such as email, social networks and cloud computing, and the possible impacts for them and the European Information Society. It presents the latest technology advances allowing the analysis of user data and their meta-data on a mass scale for surveillance reasons. It identifies technological and organisational measures and the key stakeholders for reducing the risks identified. Finally the study proposes possible policy options, in support of the risk reduction measures identified by the study.
Bea Mahieu, Erik Arnold and Peter Kolarz
In recent decades, developments in European research policy making have led to an enhancement of the role and function of evaluation to cope with the growing globalisation of research and the need to ensure effective research systems at the national level and in the European Research Area. These developments have led to a need for a more integrated way to understand research performance as well as its efficiency and effects, combined with a growing need for a European view. The desire for better evidence for public management, a growing movement calling for open access to the results of publicly funded research and the vastly increased power of computing and communications coincide to support policy interest in steering and sharing research results and data about them. Current trends in the extended use of research information systems - at institutional, national and European level, set the context and create the opportunity for the development of a European research information infrastructure that could provide the basis for an improved research policy development in Europe.
Stefano Faberi and Loriana Paolucci, reviewed by Andrea Ricci (ISIS) , Daniela Velte and Izaskun Jiménez (Tecnalia)
This study discusses the technological, environmental and economic barriers for producing methanol from carbon dioxide, as well as the possible uses of methanol in car transport in Europe. Costs and benefits are evaluated from a life-cycle perspective in order to compare different feedstocks for methanol production and to account for the potential benefits of CO2-derived methanol in the transition to a more diversified fuel mix in the transport sector. Benefits in terms of reduced dependence on conventional fossil fuels and lower risks to security of supply can be envisioned in the medium and long term. It is nonetheless evident that considerable and sustained research efforts are necessary to turn CO2 into an efficient and competitive prime materials, which would be attractive not only for the transport sector, but also other industries. Europe’s increasingly limited and expensive access to fossil fuels makes it obligatory to consider policy options and smart strategies, combining market, regulatory and planning instruments, to bring down the direct and indirect costs of alternative fuels, so that transport services remain affordable for citizens and companies during the transition to a less petroleum-dependent economy.