Tailoring CTA for emerging technologies
- ISSN: 00401625
- DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2007.01.003
Technology assessment (TA) has developed into a method that puts a strong emphasis on facilitating interfaces between supply of science and technology and the demand for useful applications. Recently, we also see that TA becomes an integral part of science and technology programs, for instance in nanotechnology. The basic aim of the latter is to articulate the needs, wishes, and constraints, for example from professional users, already in the emerging stage of technological development. TA methods come in many different forms, although they are often different versions of a limited set of `basic approaches' adapted to specific conditions with the overall aim to improve societal embedding. The thrust of this paper lies in the development and results of a variant of constructive TA (CTA), addressing technological development in an early phase in order to bypass the Collingridge dilemma by developing and testing scenarios including options for the further development of emerging technologies. How to support a broad selection of relevant actors effectively with CTA in such a way that they are enabled to play their role in innovation processes of emerging technologies? This is the main research question taken up in this paper. To take on this challenge we develop, apply, and evaluate an intervention we named the 3-step constructive technology assessment (CTA) approach. We will apply the approach to a nanotechnology related topic, Lab-on-a-chip technology. By assessing the effects and evaluating the proposed approach, we also want to contribute to the development of new methodological insights relevant for the TA community.