The Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) pursues problem-oriented research with a view to advising policy-makers and society. To this end, it analyses and assesses technologies and innovation processes with regard to the opportunities and risks they present and, in its primary focus, studies the societal conditions under which technology development and innovation thrive.

ITAS works in the following research areas:

  • The research area "Sustainability and environment": Technical, ecological, economic and societal approaches for more-sustainable use of limited resources, and strategies for more-sustainable urban development
  • The research area "Innovation processes and impacts of technology": The opportunities and risks inherent in key technologies such as digital information and communications technologies, nanotechnology and technologies for future mobility and transport concepts
  • The research area "Knowledge society and knowledge policy": Analysis of societal change processes, with regard to the three core dimensions of technology-impacts assessment – knowledge, advising and decision-making
  • The research area "Energy – resources, technologies, systems": Scientific support for the transformation of our energy system, toward greater sustainability, on the basis of technology-based system analyses and socio-technological scenarios

Over 100 scientists work at ITAS, in a framework of interdisciplinary cooperation. The fields they represent range from science and engineering to philosophy and sociology. In addition, ITAS emphasises transdisciplinary research approaches, in efforts that include work in the "District Future – Urban Lab" (Quartier Zukunft) project in Karlsruhe.

For over 25 years, ITAS has run the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB). Currently, it is managing the office in cooperation with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT) and VDI/VDE Innovation + Technology GmbH. In addition to communicating its research findings to a wide range of specialised audiences, ITAS applies its findings to the task of advising policy-makers and the public.

ITAS is sited within the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the research university within the Helmholtz Association. Its research is grouped within the Helmholtz programme "Technology, Innovation and Society." Its important external customers include the German and European parliaments, the EU Commission and various federal and Länder ministries and government agencies.