European debates on biotechnology: dimensions of public concern

On the basis of the study Biotechnology and the European Public the objectives of this project were:


  1. to explore in detail how the European public think about the moral and risk-related dimensions of different applications of biotechnology;
  2. to understand the bases of trust and confidence in regulatory bodies;
  3. to monitor the press coverage and developments in policy initiatives in biotechnology for the period 1996-1999, as an extension of the existing harmonised international data base (1973-1995);
  4. to evaluate the impact of the 1996 Eurobarometer findings in different EU countries, for example among scientists, industrialists, policy makers and lobbyists;
  5. to design a new questionnaire for the Eurobarometer survey in late 1999;
  6. to make practical recommendations for policy initiatives that will address public concerns and foster public confidence in the regulatory process.

The work programme included:

  • ad 1) and 2): interviews with actors and interest representatives, focus groups with selected lay people;
  • ad 3): continuation of the monitoring process on the basis of the methods established in the framework of the concerted action "Biotechnology and the European Public";
  • ad 4): analysis of the interviews and of the media monitoring;
  • ad 5): drafting of an updated questionnaire;
  • ad 6): organisation of "round tables" with stakeholders at the end of the project where the results of the project as they stand were critically assessed and future ways explored.

This project was carried out in the framework of an international research group (Concerted Action) supported by the EU Commission (DG XII). The Austrian part was carried out in close co-operation between the ITA and the Department of Social and Economic Psychology, Institute of Pedagogics and Psychology of the University of Linz.

01/1999 - 12/2000