publications / Report: New Models of Technology Assessment for Development
By Adrian Ely, Patrick Van Zwanenberg and Andy Stirling
The report builds on work previously conducted as part of the Manifesto and research carried out during the first phase of the STEPS Centre.
It explores the role that ‘new models’ of technology assessment can play in improving the lives of poor and vulnerable populations in the developing world. The ‘new models’ addressed here combine citizen and decision-maker participation with technical expertise. They are virtual and networked rather than being based in a single office of technology assessment (as was the case in the United States in the 1970s-90s). They are flexible enough to address issues across disciplines and are increasingly transnational or global in their reach and scope.
The report argues that these new models of technology assessment can make a vital contribution to informing policies and strategies around innovation, particularly in developing regions. They are most beneficial if they enable the broadening out of inputs to technology assessment, and the opening up of political debate around possible directions of technological change and their interactions with social and environmental systems. Beyond the process of technology assessment itself, the report argues that governance systems within which these processes are embedded play an important role in determining the impact and effectiveness of technology assessment.
Finally, the report argues for training and capacity-building in technology assessment methodologies in developing countries, and support for internationally co-ordinated technology assessment efforts to address global and regional development challenges.