Office for Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Office for Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB)
founding August 29, 1990
Sponsorship state
place Berlin
management Armin Grunwald
Employee 10

The Office for Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag ( TAB ) is an independent scientific institution that advises the German Bundestag and its committees on questions of scientific and technical change.

tasks and goals

The tasks of the Office for Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag include the conception and implementation of technology assessment projects (TA projects) and - to prepare and supplement them - the observation and analysis of important scientific and technical trends and related social developments (Monitoring ). The task catalog of the parliamentary TA also includes analyzes of the innovation process, the observation of scientific and technical trends in the early stages of development (horizon scanning) as well as the exchange of experiences and opinions with social actors through systematic discourse analyzes and dialogue processes.

In the understanding of the TAB, the goals of policy advisory technology assessment are to analyze the potential of new scientific and technical developments and to sound out the associated opportunities, to examine the social, economic and legal framework conditions for the realization and application of scientific and technical developments, and to look ahead and examine their potential effects to analyze comprehensively in order to show the chances of using technology as well as possibilities to avoid or mitigate its risks and to develop options for action and design for political decision-makers on this basis.

This is intended to help improve the information situation of the German Bundestag and to provide a scientific foundation for its opinion-making and decision-making.


The Committee for Education, Research and Technology Assessment of the German Bundestag is responsible for the TAB in accordance with Section 56a of the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag and decides on the TAB's investigations and approves the TAB's reports. The suggestions for the TAB studies come from the specialist committees and political groups. The technical committees are also the first addressees of the results presented by the TAB. The scientific responsibility for the work results of the TAB lies with its head, Armin Grunwald .

The TAB is operated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) on the basis of a contract with the German Bundestag. The TAB is an independent scientific unit of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS). In the operation of the TAB, the KIT has been cooperating with the IZT - Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment gGmbH (Berlin) and the VDI / VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH (Berlin) since September 2013 .

The TAB is located in Berlin. Ten scientists from different disciplines are currently working there.


The results of the TAB investigations will be published as a TAB work report after approval by the Bundestag Committee for Education, Research and Technology Assessment. Most of these reports also flow into the deliberations of the parliamentary committees as Bundestag printed matter.

In some cases, TAB reports, often in revised and updated versions, also appear in the book series "Studies by the Office for Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag" at edition sigma of the Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft , Baden-Baden, or in other relevant publishers.

The TAB-Brief, published twice a year, reports up-to-date and compactly on the work of the TAB. Each issue also deals with a key topic.



The idea of ​​a continuous technology assessment to support Parliament and its committees goes back to the 1970s. The Office of Technology Assessment set up in the US Congress in 1972 was often viewed as exemplary in this regard. In 1973 the opposition at the time, the CDU / CSU parliamentary group, submitted an application to set up an "Office for the Assessment of Technological Developments at the German Bundestag". This proposal was followed by a large number of other proposals from among the political groups over the next few years.

An important milestone was the study commission »Assessment and evaluation of technology consequences; Shaping framework conditions for technical development «, which was introduced in the 10th legislative period by a joint resolution of all parliamentary groups on March 14, 1985. The 11th German Bundestag again set up a study commission for technology assessment, which presented three different models for discussion and decision in its final report:

  1. The parliamentary groups of the CDU / CSU and FDP envisaged the renaming of the Committee for Research and Technology to the Committee for Research, Technology and Technology Assessment, which was to initiate and take over the political control of TA. An institution outside of parliament would have to be commissioned to carry out TA studies, which should carry out this task "with a high degree of independence and responsibility".
  2. The SPD parliamentary group suggested setting up a committee for parliamentary technical advice and an internal scientific unit (around 15 employees). The committee and the scientific unit should be supported by a board of trustees appointed by the German Bundestag.
  3. The parliamentary group of the Greens voted for the establishment of a TA foundation, the management of which should be composed of MPs and non-parliamentary experts and should be elected by the general assembly. An institute should be assigned to the foundation, which would accompany TA studies and process them in a parliament-oriented manner. In addition, a permanent scientific unit would be attached to the Presidium of the German Bundestag, which - among other tasks - was to award TA studies to the foundation.


On November 16, 1989, the German Bundestag decided with a majority of the CDU / CSU and FDP coalition factions to rename the Committee for Research and Technology the Committee for Research, Technology and Technology Assessment and to commission a scientific institution to carry out technology assessment for the German Bundestag. On August 29, 1990, following a tendering process, at the suggestion of the then Committee for Research and Technology, a contract was concluded with the Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Center for a three-year test phase and the Office for Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) was founded. Since then it has been operated by the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) - until 1995 Department for Applied Systems Analysis (AFAS) - of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), an amalgamation of the Karlsruhe Research Center and the University of Karlsruhe.

Further chronology after the foundation

  • After the pilot phase, the German Bundestag decided on March 4, 1993, based on a positive report from the responsible committee for research, technology and technology assessment, to conclude the pilot project and to establish a permanent advisory body "Technology Assessment (TA) at the German Bundestag". The existing contract for the operation of the TAB was extended by five years until 1998.
  • In August 1998, against the background of the successful cooperation with the previous operator of the TAB, another five-year contract was concluded.
  • In 2002 the responsible committee for education, research and technology assessment decided on a public application and selection process for the future operation of the TAB. In the meeting on June 12, 2002 it was decided that the (then) Research Center Karlsruhe should continue to operate the TAB until August 28, 2008 and cooperate with the Fraunhofer Institute for System Technology and Innovation Research ISI , Karlsruhe, in special areas .
  • The contract was renewed for five years in 2008 and 2013.

20 years of TAB

On September 29, 2010, the 20th anniversary of institutionalized scientific policy advice in the field of technology assessment was celebrated at the German Bundestag and at the same time the 20th anniversary of the TAB at a ceremony at the invitation of Bundestag President Norbert Lammert . On September 30, 2010, the German Bundestag discussed the “Balance sheet and future prospects of scientific policy advice 'Technology Assessment'”. This debate was based on a critical assessment of the work of the past years submitted by the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment and the TAB.


The TAB is a member of the network of European parliamentary TA institutions ( EPTA Network ) as well as of the German-speaking Network Technology Assessment (NTA). It works together with external experts in fulfilling its tasks.


  • Grunwald, Armin: Technology Assessment - An Introduction. edition sigma, Berlin 2010, 2nd revised and expanded edition ( Society - Technology - Environment. New Volume 1), ISBN 978-3-89404-950-8 .
  • Petermann, Thomas; Grunwald, Armin (ed.): Technology assessment for the German Bundestag. The TAB - Experiences and Perspectives of Scientific Policy Advice . edition sigma, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-89404-528-0 . contents

Web links

Individual evidence