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High Level Group strengthens relations with the scientific community via the SAPEA consortium

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Tuesday December 13th, 2016, the Board of the Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) project was invited by Robert-Jan Smits, Director General for Research and Innovation, to celebrate the launch of the SAPEA project, in Brussels. Participants were the Presidents of ALLEA, Günter Stock (Chair of the SAPEA Board), Academia Europaea, Sierd Cloetingh, EASAC, Jos van der Meer, Secretary General of Euro-CASE, Jacques Lukasik, and President of FEAM, Bernard Charpentier.

Welcoming the Board, Robert Jan Smits said "Today's agreement with the five European Academy Networks will boost the Commission's Scientific Advice Mechanism. It will allow it to tap into the Academies' broad knowledge across disciplines and regions in Europe. The Commission is looking forward to this new partnership with the Academies."

SAPEA is supported by Horizon 2020 and will enable the five European Academy Networks above to complete the core of the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism which provides independent, scientific advice to the European Commission.

European Academies are longstanding providers of scientific expertise, representing remarkable breadth and depth across disciplines and regions in Europe. Prior to the launch of SAPEA, the five Academy Networks had already been actively contributing to SAM by suggesting experts and providing expertise on topics in support of the work of the High Level Group, in particular the topic of cybersecurity where many Academy Fellows contributed to the HLG workshop in Vilnius last month. SAPEA’s active involvement in the development of an explanatory note on ‘New techniques in agricultural biotechnology’ and a scientific opinion on ‘Food from the oceans’ was confirmed during the High Level Group’s 5th plenary meeting, 24th and 25th November 2016, where SAPEA representatives and Academy Fellows were present. The corresponding scoping papers will be available from the SAM website shortly.

SAM meets female scientists from universities of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

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On Monday 12th December, the SAM Unit welcomed 50 noted female scientists from universities in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, accompanied by Svenja Schulze the NRW Minister for Innovation, Science and Research (MIWF). This was part of an all day visit to DG RTD to learn more about ongoing activities, including SAM, and is part of a series of initiatives by the NRW Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research called POWER (Promotion of Women in European Research programmes). POWER is an NRW organised network supporting female scientists’ participation in EU framework programmes for research and innovation.

SAM meets Greenpeace representative

Following a request from the Greenpeace European Unit, the SAM Unit met Greenpeace's Food Policy Director, 7th December. During the one hour-meeting the European Commission's Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) was presented.

Also the recent request to SAM for an explanatory note on new techniques in agricultural biotechnology (see also minutes of 3rd and 4th HLG meeting) was briefly discussed.

Dame Julia Mary Slingo steps down as a Member of the High Level Group of the EU - Scientific Advice Mechanism

Coinciding with her retirement from the British Met Office where she has been Chief Scientist since 2009, Dame Julia Mary Slingo (DBE, FRS) has also stepped down as a Member of the Scientific Advice Mechanism High Level Group of the European Commission. As one of the seven inaugural members of this High Level Group, Dame Julia has played a pivotal role in the first year of the Scientific Advice Mechanism's work, and notably in securing the recent completion of its first Scientific Opinion on the measurement of CO2 emissions from cars and vans. On behalf of the Commission, Commissioner Moedas has thanked Dame Julia for her great contribution and has wished her all the best for her retirement, hoping that she continues to be a passionate voice for European climate science. She is replaced in the High Level Group by Carina Keskitalo, Professor in Political Sciences at the Department of Geography and Economic History of Umeå University in Northern Sweden.

First Scientific Opinion of the SAM High Level Group delivered

Publication cover

On Friday, 11 November 2016, the Chair of the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors, Henrik C. Wegener, submitted the Group’s first Scientific Opinion to Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, having been asked to do so in January 2016.

In their Opinion, the Group analyses how to close the growing gap between the measurement of CO2 emissions from cars and vans in the laboratory (“type approval”) and what they really emit on the road. The Scientific Opinion is intended to provide evidence-based guidance to a Commission policy proposal for post-2020 emission performance standards for light-duty vehicles (cars and vans), expected in 2017.

A formal hand-over of the Opinion will take place during the next meeting of the High Level Group on 24-25 November 2016.

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