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Guidelines for foresight-based policy analysis

26-07-2021

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 ...

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 stakeholder views and geographical concerns/differences when assessing policy options. This manual establishes the methodology for the foresight process and foresight-informed policy analysis. It offers a conceptual clarification of foresight and foresight-based technology assessment, helps enhance the transparency of foresight processes and the quality of policy analyses, offers four general guidelines for conducting trustworthy policy analysis, and, finally, provides a practical framework with six basic components for foresight-based policy analysis.

Artificial Intelligence in smart cities and urban mobility

23-07-2021

Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabling smart urban solutions brings multiple benefits, including more efficient energy, water and waste management, reduced pollution, noise and traffic congestions. Local authorities face relevant challenges undermining the digital transformation from the technological, social and regulatory standpoint, namely (i) technology and data availability and reliability, the dependency on third private parties and the lack of skills; (ii) ethical challenges for the unbiased ...

Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabling smart urban solutions brings multiple benefits, including more efficient energy, water and waste management, reduced pollution, noise and traffic congestions. Local authorities face relevant challenges undermining the digital transformation from the technological, social and regulatory standpoint, namely (i) technology and data availability and reliability, the dependency on third private parties and the lack of skills; (ii) ethical challenges for the unbiased use of AI; and (iii) the difficulty of regulating interdependent infrastructures and data, respectively. To overcome the identified challenges, the following actions are recommended: • EU-wide support for infrastructure and governance on digitalisation, including high performance computing, integrated circuits, CPUs and GPU’s, 5G, cloud services, Urban Data Platforms, enhancing efficiency and ensuring at the same time unbiased data collection. • Inclusion of urban AI in EU research programs addressing data exchange, communication networks and policy on mobility and energy, enhancing capacity building initiatives, also through test and experimentation facilities. • Harmonising AI related policies in the EU, taking into account the context specificity: necessary research. • Adoption of innovative procurement procedures, entailing requirements for technical and ethically responsible AI.

Külső szerző

Devin DIRAN, Anne Fleur VAN VEENSTRA, Tjerk TIMAN, Paola TESTA and Maria KIROVA

Health impact of 5G

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 ...

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 aim to take stock of our present understanding of health effects of 5G.

Külső szerző

This study has been written by Dr Fiorella Belpoggi, BSC, PhD, International Academy of Toxicologic Pathology Fellow (IATPF), Ramazzini Institute, Bologna (Italy), at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament. The scoping review search was performed by Dr Daria Sgargi, PhD, Master in Biostatistics, and Dr Andrea Vornoli, PhD in Cancer Research, Ramazzini Institute, Bologna.

What if we could fight coronavirus by pooling computing power?

15-07-2021

Distributed computing has accelerated COVID-19 research in molecular dynamics as it allows people to make their computers voluntarily available to scientists for virtually screening chemical compounds in an effective manner.

Distributed computing has accelerated COVID-19 research in molecular dynamics as it allows people to make their computers voluntarily available to scientists for virtually screening chemical compounds in an effective manner.

Boosting cooperation on health technology assessment

15-07-2021

The European Commission has proposed a regulation on health technology assessment (HTA). HTA is a research-based tool that supports decision-making in healthcare by assessing the added value of a given health technology compared to others. The proposal would provide the basis for permanent EU-level cooperation in four areas. Member States would still be responsible for assessing the non-clinical (economic, ethical, social, etc.) aspects of health technology, and for pricing and reimbursement. While ...

The European Commission has proposed a regulation on health technology assessment (HTA). HTA is a research-based tool that supports decision-making in healthcare by assessing the added value of a given health technology compared to others. The proposal would provide the basis for permanent EU-level cooperation in four areas. Member States would still be responsible for assessing the non-clinical (economic, ethical, social, etc.) aspects of health technology, and for pricing and reimbursement. While Member States could choose to delay participation in the joint work until three years after the rules enter into force, it would become mandatory after six years. Stakeholders broadly welcomed the Commission proposal. National parliaments, however, are divided in their appreciation of it. The provisional agreement, applauded by some stakeholders, has been criticised by the pharmaceutical industry, in particular, for its lack of ambition. The European Parliament adopted its final position at first reading on 14 February 2019. In the Council, work was carried out under seven consecutive presidencies. On 24 March 2021, the co-legislators reached a provisional agreement in interinstitutional trilogue negotiations. The Council's Permanent Representatives Committee endorsed the provisional agreement on 30 June 2021. Parliament's ENVI committee voted in favour of the text on 13 July 2021. Council and then Parliament are expected to formally adopt it in the coming months. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Mental health and the pandemic

09-07-2021

While the pandemic is primarily a physical health crisis, it has also had widespread impact on people's mental health, inducing, among other things, considerable levels of fear, worry, and concern. The growing burden on mental health has been referred to by some as the 'second' or 'silent' pandemic. While negative mental health consequences affect all ages, young people, in particular, have been found to be at high risk of developing poor mental health. Specific groups have been particularly hard ...

While the pandemic is primarily a physical health crisis, it has also had widespread impact on people's mental health, inducing, among other things, considerable levels of fear, worry, and concern. The growing burden on mental health has been referred to by some as the 'second' or 'silent' pandemic. While negative mental health consequences affect all ages, young people, in particular, have been found to be at high risk of developing poor mental health. Specific groups have been particularly hard hit, including health and care workers, people with pre-existing mental health problems, and women. The pandemic has also appeared to increase inequalities in mental health, both within the population and between social groups. To address the population's increased psycho-social needs, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe established an expert group on the mental health impacts of Covid-19 in the European region. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has issued analyses and guidance on mental health in general and the pandemic's impact on mental health in particular. At European Union level, a December 2020 European Commission communication addressed the pandemic's impact on mental health. In May 2021, the Commission organised a major online stakeholder event, and published best practice examples of solutions presented. A July 2020 European Parliament resolution recognises mental health as a fundamental human right, calling for a 2021-2027 EU action plan on mental health. Members of the European Parliament have also called on the Commission to put mental health at the heart of EU policymaking. Stakeholders broadly rally around calls for programmes and funding to improve citizens' mental health, not least to respond to the pandemic's long-term implications.

European Medicines Agency mandate extension

01-07-2021

On 11 November 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal to strengthen the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The proposed regulation would allow the EMA, among other things, to better anticipate possible shortages of medicinal products and ensure their timely development, with the aim of improving the EU's capacity to respond to health emergencies. The European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted its report on 22 June 2021. This is due to be voted ...

On 11 November 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal to strengthen the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The proposed regulation would allow the EMA, among other things, to better anticipate possible shortages of medicinal products and ensure their timely development, with the aim of improving the EU's capacity to respond to health emergencies. The European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted its report on 22 June 2021. This is due to be voted during the July plenary session, thus setting Parliament's negotiating position and opening the way for interinstitutional negotiations.

Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders, 24-25 June 2021

30-06-2021

The regular European Council meeting of 24-25 June 2021 was noteworthy on several fronts. First, there was an extensive discussion on the rule of law and European values, a topic rarely discussed at the level of EU leaders. It took place in the context of a new Hungarian law on child protection, which includes provisions considered by many as discriminatory against LGBTQI+ people. Second, following a Franco-German proposal, there was an intense debate about the EU approach to relations with Russia ...

The regular European Council meeting of 24-25 June 2021 was noteworthy on several fronts. First, there was an extensive discussion on the rule of law and European values, a topic rarely discussed at the level of EU leaders. It took place in the context of a new Hungarian law on child protection, which includes provisions considered by many as discriminatory against LGBTQI+ people. Second, following a Franco-German proposal, there was an intense debate about the EU approach to relations with Russia, with apparent disagreement on whether it is currently worthwhile engaging in high-level dialogue with the country. Among the other topics considered were coordination efforts in response to the coronavirus pandemic and economic recovery after the crisis. On migration, EU leaders quickly reviewed the situation on migration routes, mainly reiterating previous commitments. In the field of external policy, alongside Russia, EU leaders also discussed EU-Turkey relations, the situations in Belarus, Libya, Ethiopia and the Sahel, and cybersecurity. EU leaders were also presented with the 2021-22 Leaders' Agenda. In the framework of the Euro Summit, EU leaders addressed the future of the euro area, inviting the Eurogroup to continue its work towards the completion of Banking Union and to move quickly to implement the capital markets action plan.

Environmental impacts of 5G

30-06-2021

Telecommunication networks use radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to enable wireless communication. These networks have evolved over time, and have been launched in successive generations. The fifth generation of telecommunication networks will operate at frequencies that were not commonly used in previous generations, changing the exposure of wildlife to these waves. This report reviews the literature on the exposure of vertebrates, invertebrates and plants to radio-frequency electromagnetic ...

Telecommunication networks use radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to enable wireless communication. These networks have evolved over time, and have been launched in successive generations. The fifth generation of telecommunication networks will operate at frequencies that were not commonly used in previous generations, changing the exposure of wildlife to these waves. This report reviews the literature on the exposure of vertebrates, invertebrates and plants to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields in anticipation of this change. The review shows that dielectric heating can occur at all considered frequencies (0.4-300 GHz) and for all studied organisms. Summarising and discussing the results of a series of studies of radio-frequency electromagnetic field exposure of wildlife, the review shows that several studies into the effects of radio-frequency electromagnetic field exposure on invertebrates and plants in the frequency bands considered demonstrate experimental shortcomings. Furthermore, the literature on invertebrate and plant exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields above 6 GHz is very limited. More research is needed in this field.

Külső szerző

This study has been written by Arno Thielens, Ghent University, Belgium, at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

Studies with a ‘Covid 19 angle’

23-06-2021

When the pandemic loomed over us in spring 2020, we asked experts to analyze whether it was possible to introduce a Covid angle into their studies. In many cases, it seemed prima facie a bit far-fetched. However, it soon became apparent that even in our area of work there were interesting aspects to investigate. This publication groups together the most relevant parts of the studies published so far and in which a Covid 19 angle has been presented and discussed.

When the pandemic loomed over us in spring 2020, we asked experts to analyze whether it was possible to introduce a Covid angle into their studies. In many cases, it seemed prima facie a bit far-fetched. However, it soon became apparent that even in our area of work there were interesting aspects to investigate. This publication groups together the most relevant parts of the studies published so far and in which a Covid 19 angle has been presented and discussed.

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