Technology assessment in Australia: The case for a formal agency to improve advice to policy makers

A. Wendy Russell, Frank M. Vanclay, Janet G. Salisbury, Heather J. Aslin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The pace and reach of technological change has led to calls for better technology policy and governance to improve social outcomes. Technology assessment can provide information and processes to improve technology policy. Having conducted a review of international best practice, we established a set of quality criteria for TA. In effect, good technology assessments are systematic, broad, inclusive and well resourced and are conducted by organisations that are trustworthy and influential. Although not having a formal TA agency, Australia does have a number of recent examples of TA-like activities in the form of ad hoc processes (such as reviews and inquiries) and within other organisations. Drawing on reports, commentaries, discussions and our observations as participants, we have assessed these activities and processes against our quality criteria. Our findings indicate that TA capacity in Australia is fragmented, uncoordinated and variable in quality and impact. We conclude that a formal TA agency could improve Australian technology policy and capacity for technology governance that would be more in line with other nations, notably in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-177
Number of pages21
JournalPolicy Sciences
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

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