”Whose bread I eat, his song I sing”?
Technology assessment and its clients
Weimer and Vining (1999) discern three roles for scientific policy advisers: the objective technician, the issue advocate, and the client’s advocate. This contribution focuses on the latter – a role that is rarely reflected upon in current discussions about technology assessment (TA) practice. Based on empirical data on the practices, constellations, and paradigms prevalent in policy advice activities at the Austrian Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA), we (1) present the portfolio and characteristics of the institute’s clients, (2) relate these to the issues addressed in the institute’s projects and to four project-specific case studies, and (3) present open questions to the practice and community of TA pertaining to its relation to its clients.
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