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Commission launches new mechanism to strengthen scientific advice for policy making

Brussels, 10 November 2015

The European Commission's new Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) is officially launched today with the announcement of the seven leading scientists who will form the first High Level Group of scientific advisors. Together with a six million euro grant to European academies and learned societies, this marks a new approach to the use of independent science advice in Commission policy making.

The mechanism is being launched six months after it was first announced by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Carlos Moedas, the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, on 13 May 2015 (IP/15/4970). It draws on experience in Member States and worldwide and is based on a High Level Group of independent science advisors and a stronger relationship with national academies and other bodies.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "I am delighted that the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) announced by President Juncker just a few months ago is now up and running. The support from the scientific community has been tremendous with many eminent scientists coming forward to help. The seven exceptional scientists I have appointed to the group will take the use of independent science advice in Commission policy making to a new level. The European Commission will rely on their independent advice on a range of complex policy issues where high-level scientific input is needed".

The seven members of the High Level Group were selected following an open call for nominations and the recommendations of an independent identification committee. They are:

  • Janusz M. Bujnicki
    Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering, International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Warsaw
  • Pearl Dykstra
    Professor of Sociology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam
  • Elvira Fortunato
    Professor, Materials Science Department of the Faculty of Science and Technology, NOVA University, Lisbon
  • Rolf-Dieter Heuer
    Director-General, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
  • Julia Slingo
    Chief Scientist, Met Office, Exeter
  • Cédric Villani
    Director, Henri Poincaré Institute, Paris
  • Henrik C. Wegener
    Executive Vice President, Chief Academic Officer and Provost, Technical University of Denmark

Background

The objective of the Scientific Advice Mechanism is to ensure that the Commission has access to the best possible scientific advice, independent of institutional or political interests. It will bring together evidence and insight from different disciplines and approaches, take into consideration the specificities of EU policy making, and ensure transparency. It will complement the in-house scientific services of the Joint Research Centre and existing specialist committees. The first meeting of the Group will take place in January 2016.

A grant of €6 million for European networks of academies and learned societies is included in the 2016 work programme for Horizon 2020. The grant will support academies to collaborate across Europe in providing science advice for policy. The independent Identification Committee that recommended membership of the Group was composed of three members: Prof Rianne Letschert, Prof David King and António Vitorino. A new secretariat for the High Level Group has been established in the European Commission's Directorate General for Research and Innovation.

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