Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Press Release 164/2016

Bundestag Wishes More Scientific Advice

Since 1990, the German Bundestag Has Relied on the Expertise of KIT and Its Office of Technology Assessment – Work of the Think Tank Is Strengthened
New technologies such as electric mobility, are in the focus of the KIT-coordinated Office of Technology Assessment with the German Bundestag. (Photo: KIT)

Sustainable energy supply and mobility, health and aging society, digitization, and future of work. Politics takes care of different change processes in society that are often triggered by technological innovations. To early respond in a substantiated way, German Parliament relies on the competencies of the KIT-operated Office of Technology Assessment (TAB). During their last budget meeting, the Members of Parliament decided to increase the funds for scientific advice services by 25 percent from 2017.


Can climate engineering as a type of “emergency technology” contribute to preventing climate change or mitigating its impacts? What would be the consequences of a large-area and long-lasting blackout for the infrastructure and public order? What are the opportunities and risks associated with the use of robots in care for the elderly? “We understand that there is an increasing number of questions relating to the impacts of new technologies, which can only be answered by the parliamentary groups on the basis of independent and scientifically substantiated advice,” says Professor Armin Grunwald, who has been heading KIT’s Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis since 1999 and the TAB since 2002. “The increase in the budget for our work is a clear signal of high appreciation and a basic prerequisite for meeting the increasing demand for scientific advice on a high level,” Grunwald points out. 


For 26 years, TAB has been advising German Parliament on major issues relating to scientific-technological change. About 200 reports have been submitted to the Bundestag so far. The process of advising Parliament last covered findings relating to synthetic biology, modern power grids as key elements of sustainable energy supply, valorization of biodiversity, online citizens participation in parliamentary work, or online media addiction. Analyses on robotics in the care sector, on data mining, opportunities and risks of mobile and digital communication at work, as well as on the impacts of surveillance technologies in the area of civil security presently are in preparation. 


In line with its growing tasks, TAB does not only offer comprehensive work reports, but also other work, presentation, discussion, and participation formats: Trend studies by means of horizon scanning, stakeholder surveys and workshops, or public discourses do not only address the Members of Parliament and parliamentary bodies, but also interested parties from ministries, authorities, education and research institutions, and not least, the public. As a result of the Parliament’s recent decision, the TAB budget will now increase to about EUR 2.6 million. Apart from KIT’s Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT), Berlin, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ GmbH), Leipzig, and VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH (VDI/VDE-IT), Berlin, have been contri-buting to TAB since 2013. 


Selected publications of TAB are available in English:



Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 24,400 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

jm, 28.11.2016
Monika Landgraf

Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer

Phone: +49 721 608-41150
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Margarete Lehné

Margarete Lehné
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Phone: +49 721 608-41157

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