Science and Technology (S&T) are an essential element for the development of a sustainable and knowledgeable society and to build a modern, competitive and dynamic economy. The results of scientific and technological development can be controversial: climate change, neuro-enhancement, genome technologies, synthetic biology or nanotechnology are only some of the many challenges affecting society today.
Many of scientific and technological developments produce ethical, societal and legal challenges that require both: (1) engaging science, policy, and society in a balanced and imaginative dialogue, able to highlight the different dimensions of the challenge and (2) developing mechanisms to assist policy-making processes in assessing the impacts of S&T on society.
We are a pioneering group based in ITQB NOVA, aimed at carrying out and support studies evaluating the impact of science and technology on society and inform policy-making processes. In line with such aim, the group is involved in a variety of activities:
The group is currently working on a project entitled Genetics Clinic of the Future (GCOF), financed by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 ‘Health, demographic change and wellbeing’ programme.
The combination of advanced genome technologies and bioinformatics potentially enables breakthroughs in health care and health promotion. But it also raises complex questions in relation to informed consent, data sharing, privacy, etc. The main objectives of the GCOF project include:
- ensuring that the future implementation of high-throughput genome technologies is relevant to the needs of patients and responsive to the interests and concerns of citizens and stakeholders;
- engaging all relevant groups in a constructive dialogue through 'radically interdisciplinary' collaborations between genomics researchers, clinical geneticists and other medical specialists, bioinformaticians, patient representatives, policy makers and experts from ethics, social sciences and law.
The project counts with the participation of 12 European partners and is coordinated by University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands. We are leading activities under the work package 6 (WP6): Policy development.
The group has been recently involved in the project entitled Parliaments and Civil Society in Technology Assessment (PACITA) (2011-2015), financed by the European Commission under the FP7.
PACITA had 4 main objectives:
- Enhancing and expanding the European capacity on evidence-based policy-making;
- Promoting public engagement in science;
- Improving the two-way communication between scientists and other stakeholders;
- Ensuring the ethics in science.
PACITA carried out several initiatives aimed at mobilising and engaging the scientific community, parliaments, civil society, citizens, industry, etc., in fundamental question on supporting decision-making. In Portugal we have organized several activities including:
- Parliamentary Hearing on Genomics and Public Health, which took place in the Portuguese Parliament on January 18 2014 and counted with the participation of several national and European experts in genomics and public health
- Parliamentary Debate on Parliamentary Technology Assessment, which took place in the Portuguese Parliament on 7 and 8 April 2014 and counted with the participation of several European policy-makers. The report of the meeting is now available
- Public Consultation on the European Sustainable Consumption, held on the 25th October 2014 at Centro Cultural de Belém. More than 1000 ordinary citizens in Europe took part in the transnational event, including 106 Portuguese citizens where they discussed and voted on issues relating to sustainable consumption.
Facebook page of the group
The group also supported the global Public Consultation on Climate and Energy organized by ICS-ULisboa, which took place in Lisbon, June 6, 2015, as part of the Paris-Climate Conference in December 2015 (COP21).
Responsible for coordinating the organization of EU citizen dialogues in Lisbon in February 2016 within the Human Brain Project (HBP). The citizen dialogues has been hosted in six Europeans countries and focus on privacy issues in relation to research using personal health data.
Tel.: + 351 214 469 512
Almeida, M., Castro, L., Freitas, C., Durão, E. (2015). National report on the results of the public consultation on Sustainable Consumption organized in Portugal. Lisbon: PACITA
Almeida, M. (2014). Policy Hearing on Public Health Genomics Report. PACITA Deliverables, No. 5.3. Lisbon: PACITA/ ITQB
Almeida, M. (2013). Explorative Country Study: Portugal, in Hennen, L. and L. (eds), Expanding the TA-landscape Country studies. PACITA Deliverables, No. 4.1 edited by PACITA consortium, chapter 7.
Adam, F., Attila, Z., Almeida, M., Barland, M., Bütschi, D., Damianova, Z., Delvenne, P., Domínguez, F., Evers, J., Feresin, E., Fixdal, J., Fodor, K., Hebakova, L., Hennen, L., Jacobi, A., Kégler, Á., Leichteris, E., Klüver, L., Kozarev, V., López, B., Nentwich, M., Nierling, L., O’Reilly, P., Folker, M. P., Peissl, W., Rosskamp, B. and Sotoudeh, M. (2012). TA Practices in Europe, in Ganzevles, J. and Van Est, R. (eds.). PACITA Deliverables, No. 2.2 edited by PACITA consortium
Paper in Proceedings of a Conference/Workshop:
Bütschi, D. and Almeida, M. (2015). Technology Assessment and Parliaments. 2nd European TA Conference "The next horizon of Technology Assessment". INFORMATORIUM Praha
Article/Chapter in an edited book:
Bütschi, D. and Almeida, M. (2016). Technology Assessment for Parliaments: towards reflexive governance of innovation, in Klüver, L., Nielsen, R. Ø. and Jørgensen, M-L. (Eds.): Policy-Oriented Technology Assessment Across Europe. Expanding Capacities. Palgrave Pivot, London, Part I, chapter 4, pages 64-76.
Krom, A., Almeida, M., Hennen, L., Leichteris, E., Sauter, A. and Stemerding, D. (2016). The Future Panel on Public Health Genomics - lessons learnt & future perspectives, in Klüver, L., Nielsen, R. Ø. and Jørgensen, M-L. (Eds.): Policy-Oriented Technology Assessment Across Europe. Expanding Capacities. Palgrave Pivot, London, Part II, chapter 6, 90-104.
Almeida, M. (2015). Parliamentary TA in Portugal – A Comparative Analysis of Two Models. In: Technology Assessment – Theory and Praxis 24/3, pp. 102-108.