This study resulted in the identification of four main future opportunities and concerns regarding precision agriculture (PA), or precision farming, in the EU, on which the European Parliament could take anticipatory action now: 1. PA can actively contribute to food security and safety; 2. PA supports sustainable farming; 3. PA will trigger societal changes along with its uptake; 4. PA requires new skills to be learned. The wide diversity of agriculture throughout the EU, regarding particularly farm size, types of farming, farming practices, output and employment, presents a challenge for European policy-makers. European policy measures therefore should differentiate between Member States, taking into account that the opportunities and concerns vary highly from one country to another.
External authors: Steve Robertshaw (editor), Nick Achilleopoulos, Johan E. Bengtsson, Patrick Crehan, Angele Giuliano, John Soldatos (AcrossLimits Ltd, Malta)
Ever since its appearance, Internet has allowed us to collaborate with other people remotely. In the 80's, email was the breakthrough that enabled exchange of digital materials. In the 90's, the World Wide Web opened collaboration on web sites. After 2000, social media and e-meeting technologies enabled face-to-face interaction with others via the Internet. New modes of collaboration, such as crowd sourcing, crowd funding, co-creation or open design are reaching mainstream use. Advances in technologies related to Collaborative Internet, Big/Open Data, Crypto Currency and Additive Manufacturing are bringing the Collaborative Economy ever closer to us. This study reveals a wide range of opportunities and threats associated with these technologies,as well as social, political, economic, moral and ethical issues related to this new way of working. Policy options are presented, in order to help policy makers anticipate developments with effective policies that will nurture the positive impacts of collaborative Internet and avoid the negative ones.
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.
Timo Leimbach (Project Leader), Dara Hallinan and Daniel Bachlechner (Fraunhofer ISI) ; Arnd Weber, Maggie Jaglo and Leonhard Hennen (ITAS) ; Rasmus Øjvind Nielsen (DBT) ; Michael Nentwich and Stefan Strauß (ITA) ; Theo Lynn and Graham Hunt (DCU/IC4)
The opportunities of using powerful computing resources on demand via the web are considered as a possible driver for the growth of the European economy. While the market for Social Network Sites has already experienced a consolidation, the market for Cloud Computing is still in an early stage, but with considerable growth rates. In addition the recent massive surveillances actions and the rise of cyber-crime showed the need for a more secure basis of future computing. As a result it is necessary to support the development of highly secure IT solutions. By modernizing the data protection regime Europe could not only ensure the better protection of citizens, but also serve as a model and partner for emerging markets. In order to encourage this evolution the digital life of citizens and business needs legal certainty to ensure new ideas are taken up. As well as this it is abundantly clear that a crucial precondition for a competitive ICT industry is an inspiring surrounding ecosystem.
Jens Schippl (Project leader), Markus Edelman, Maike Puhe and Max Reichenbach (Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis - ITAS , Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - KIT)
An affordable, efficient and clean transport system is a basic pillar for economic growth and the quality of life in European countries. However, transport is still accompanied by a broad range of negative impacts on human health and the environment. It is still using huge amounts of finite resources. Congestion is increasingly hampering the efficiency of the system. Transport volumes are expected to further grow in the future. So, a transition to a more eco-efficient transport system is needed to cope with recent challenges and anticipated future developments in the transport sector. Against this background, the STOA Project on “Eco-Efficient Transport” aimed at assessing to what extent different concepts and approaches can help to increase the eco-efficiency of the transport system. To allow the required systemic perspective, the assessment was supported by scenario building. The feasibility and desirability of the scenarios and their elements was the subject of a stakeholder consultation. This report is the final report (Deliverable 5) of the project. It summarises the previous phases of the project and draws conclusions on that basis. The previous reports, Deliverables 2, 2b, 3, and 4, are available online on the STOA homepage at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/stoa/cms/home/publications/studies
Rinie van Est (Rathenau Instituut), Dirk Stemerding (Rathenau Instituut), Piret Kukk (Fraunhofer ISI), Bärbel Hüsing (Fraunhofer ISI), Ira van Keulen (Rathenau Instituut), Mirjam Schuijff (Rathenau Instituut), Knud Böhle (ITAS), Christopher Coenen (ITAS), Michael Decker (ITAS), Michael Rader (ITAS), Helge Torgersen (ITAS) and Markus Schmidt (Biofaction)
The report describes four fields of bio-engineering: engineering of living artefacts (chapter 2), engineering of the body (chapter 3), engineering of the brain (chapter 4), and engineering of intelligent artefacts (chapter 5). Each chapter describes the state of the art of these bio-engineering fields, and whether the concepts “biology becoming technology” and “technology becoming biology” are helpful in describing and understanding, from an engineering perspective, what is going on in each R&D terrain. Next, every chapter analyses to what extent the various research strands within each field of bio-engineering are stimulated by the European Commission, i.e., are part and parcel of the European Framework program. Finally, each chapter provides an overview of the social, ethical and legal questions that are raised by the various scientific and technological activities involved. The report’s final chapter discusses to what extent the trends “biology becoming technology” and vice versa capture many of the developments that are going on in the four bio-engineering fields we have mapped. The report also reflects on the social, ethical and legal issues that are raised by the two bioengineering megatrends that constitute a new technology wave.
Robin COWAN (BETA, Université Louis Pasteur and UNU-MERIT, Universteit Maastricht, the Netherlands) ; Wim Van der EIJK (International Legal Affairs and Patent law, EPO, München, Germany) ; Francesco LISSONI (University of Brescia, Italy) ; Peter LOTZ (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark) ; Geertrui Van OVERWALLE (University of Leuven, Belgium) and Jens SCHOVSBO (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
This report is based on an independent, policy-oriented investigation of the current European patent system. The central premise of the report is that the patent system has so far been a positive factor in promoting innovation and the diffusion of knowledge, and thus that the system is contributing in a constructive way to economic and social welfare objectives. In acknowledging the importance of the patent system in relation to many aspects of society, it is also essential to continually evaluate whether the system is working as effectively as it could be. In addition, because of some of the influences coming to bear upon the system at the moment, as well as the various ways in which it has been operating, the workings of the European patent system especially merits close public attention.
ETAG European Technology Assessment Group: Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Danish Board of Technology (DBT), Copenhagen Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment (viWTA), Brussels Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), London Rathenau Institute, The Hague Christian van't Hof Rathenau Institute, the Netherlands
The purpose of this deliverable is to provide insight into real life experiences with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), draw a future scenario, and formulate challenges for this rapidly emerging technology.
S. Dunn and R.W. Whatmore (University of Cranfield, the UK)
Nanotechnology is currently an area of research focus in most developed nations. The effort in research and development in Europe is the largest, in terms of publications, in the world. The research conducted in Europe covers all of the main nanotechnology research areas and varies from country to country, due mainly to the historical manufacturing base. The issues raised concern the lack of availability of suitable staff and students, a lack of accessible information about networking possibilities (for those new to the field) and concerns over the public perception of nanotechnology. The movement to larger research grants also concerns many as this is seen as potentially a move from emphasis on fundamental research to more short term goals. The generation of large collaborative centers of excellence concerns those who are not involved as they foresee the danger of politicisation, more difficulties in getting funding and further difficulties in getting staff. Funding for networking opportunities was criticised as being spread too thinly, though networking was described as adequate, by those who have been in the research field for a number of years. The lack of suitable staff and students from within Europe is a major concern. The development of undergraduate and postgraduate training packages directed at nanotechnology was seen as beneficial, but the lack of funding for these initiatives was a concern. The perception of nanotechnology by the general public was seen as dangerous for those conducting the research. Too much emphasis was placed on sensational reporting of nanotechnology that is unlikely to impact on people's lives in the near future, while nanotechnology with direct impact on people's lives was left largely unreported. The gap between the awareness and reporting of science in the US and Europe was a concern for some who felt that although they are conducting first class work there is little publicity for it in Europe.