Perception and decision in science and technology-
Breadth and depth - these have been and still are the distinguishing characteristics of the Alpbach Technology Forum: plenary sessions, broad topics of scientific and political relevance; and working groups (this year, there are eleven) which can discuss a topic in about six hours in such depth so that recommendations for political decision-makers can be worked out.
In the middle of May the British House of Commons decided to allow research on "hybrid embryos". Against this background the topics "Ethics in research", "Integrity in research and science", "The myths of Life Science and their consequences" - encompassing the whole spectrum of the biological and genetic revolution - will constitute one of the main focal points of the 2008 Technology Forum.
A second big issue will deal with "Global warming", "Transport", "Kyoto" and an aspect that has been underestimated for a long time, i.e. the consequences of agricultural production and especially of raising livestock on the environment.
Nothing is more global than science. Nonetheless it always happens locally - at the places where excellences concentrate. Where does excellence settle? How does the global competition for talents work? Will China and other Asian countries remain "suppliers of talent", especially for the USA? How do venture capitalists - those indispensable partners for financing risky projects - succeed in identifying talents and suitable projects?
Based on the main topics of the Alpbach Technology Forum it is only natural that "Junior Alpbach" will deal with biology and the Ö1 Children's University will look at "Mother nature's example" for many technological applications.
By the way, politicians and Nobel Prize Laureates are almost equally well represented: three Austrian members of government and two State Secretaries as well as four Nobel Prize Laureates from Europe and the USA will be present. Thus there will be again a cross-over between science and politics, together with representatives from industry and administration.