STOA projects aim to provide scientific evidence to underpin policy decisions, based upon a state-of-the-art overview of cross-cutting topics that have a scientific or technological dimension such genetic engineering, antimicrobial resistance, energy, pollution, sustainable agriculture and fishing, artificial intelligence & digital technologies such as blockchain, 5G, satellite communications, IoT and Internet, Covid-19 and health in general.

Finding topics

Proposals for executing projects and organising workshops are submitted by the various parliamentary committees and by individual MEPs. The proposals are approved by the STOA Panel on the basis of the following criteria (STOA Rules, Article 6):

  • the relevance of the subject to Parliament's work;
  • the scientific and technological interest of the proposal;
  • the strategic importance of the proposal and its alignment with priorities defined by the STOA Panel; and
  • the availability of scientific evidence covering the same subject.

STOA remains sovereign in the final choice of subjects and when drawing up the project specifications. In doing this, the Panel may accept, modify, merge or reject proposals submitted by committees or Members.

Types of projects

Technology Assessment projects assess the impacts of relatively known and understood scientific and technological advances, and try to identify middle to long-term challenges and opportunities. The main outcomes of these interdisciplinary STOA projects are evidence-based policy options for responsibly promoting and deploying existing and emerging technologies.

Scientific Foresight projects identify and assess the widest possible range of trends and impacts (also the unlikely ones) of relatively unknown or uncertain techno-scientific trends with a potential for long-term (20 to 50 years) societal impacts. Within these projects existing legislation will be analysed in relation to possible future trends and their consequences in all societal areas. This identification of legislative pathways will empower MEPs to anticipate developments and work towards desired futures resulting from techno-scientific trends.

Visit the 'Publications' section to read and download publications related to STOA projects.

Carrying out projects

The Scientific Foresight (STOA) Unit executes the decisions of the STOA Panel, mostly with the assistance of external contractors who are selected on the basis of the expertise needed by STOA and the financial regulation of the EU institutions. STOA's external contractors can be research institutes, universities, laboratories, consultancies or individual researchers.