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Xenotransplantation, defined as the transplantation of animal derived organs and cells into humans, is currently a very active focus of research as it overrides some of the obstacles encountered with tissue engineering, such as vascularization and innervation. The resurgence of interest in xenotransplantation is mainly attributed to the improvement of gene editing techniques (such as CRISPR/Cas9), since genetically engineered animals have been generated to overcome organ rejection. However, xenotransplantation ...

With a focus on research and development in the area of innovative medicines, this study discusses a new European approach to pharmaceutical policy. After examining the European pharmaceutical sector's features, and the strengths and weaknesses of the current research and business model, the study explores the need for and the concept of a European infrastructure with a long-term transboundary mission. Any such European medicines infrastructure should focus on threats and areas of research and development ...

The purpose of this paper is to inform the committees of the European Parliament about the challenges of genome editing in the 21st century, and the societal hopes and concerns surrounding its possible implementation to support European food production. The higher precision of new genetic techniques (NGTs) raises the question of whether they should be treated differently or even exempt from the current GMO Directive. NGTs (mainly CRISPR-cas9) are the subject of controversy, as some believe they will ...

The second part of the STOA study, 'A framework for technology foresight intelligence', this report deals with horizon stakeholder engagement for the strategic and practical purposes of the STOA Panel's activities. It analyses online engagement methods and tools and their suitability for brainstorming meetings, and for technology assessment and foresight projects. To gain insight and experience in the use of online methods and tools for engagement, these were implemented in one ongoing STOA project ...

The first part of the STOA study 'A framework for technology foresight intelligence', this report includes a set of five horizon-scanning reports or 'radars', built with the resources of Futures Platform and covering several areas, including the world after Covid-19, disruptive futures, the Green Deal, food, and geoengineering. Horizon scanning is a discipline that could be harnessed to inform the future activities of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) at both strategic and ...

The way most food is produced is harming the planet. A profound change is needed, involving all agri-food actors. As consumers, we sit at the end of the agri-food chain. Our daily dietary choices implicitly support certain food systems, production methods and types of food. What could help us make better choices?

What if the internet failed?

At a Glance 27-09-2021

What if the internet failed? Since the 1960s, when work on its development began, internet infrastructure has become almost as important as the electricity and transport infrastructure in modern societies. More and more key services, such as banking, food retail and health care, rely on internet connections. Despite the internet's original resilient decentralised design, the increasing importance of a few central players and the shift towards greater centralisation have made the internet more susceptible ...

Deepfakes are hyper-realistic media products created through artificial intelligence (AI) techniques that manipulate how people look and the things that they appear to say or do. They hit the headlines in 2018 with a deepfake video of Barack Obama, which was designed to raise awareness of their challenges. The accessibility and outputs of deepfake generation tools are improving rapidly, and their use is increasing exponentially. A wide range of malicious uses have been identified, including fraud ...

Policy analysis examines and assesses problems to determine possible courses for policy action (policy options). In highly complex or controversial contexts, evidence-based policy options might not be socially acceptable. Here, policy analysis can benefit from a foresight-based approach, which helps investigate the issue holistically and assess considered evidence-based policy options against societal concerns. This is especially important in a parliamentary setting, as it enables analysts to consider ...

Health impact of 5G

Study 22-07-2021

Recent decades have experienced an unparalleled development in wireless communication technologies (mobile telephony, Wi-Fi). The imminent introduction of 5G technology across the EU is expected to bring new opportunities for citizens and businesses, through faster internet browsing, streaming and downloading, as well as through better connectivity. However, 5G, along with 3G and 4G, with which it will operate in parallel for several years, may also pose threats to human health. This STOA report ...