News related to the Scientific Advice Mechanism

30 November 2017

The 3rd Scientific Opinion, by the SAM High level Group, on "Food from the Oceans" is now available

Delivery of the 3rd SAM HLG scientific opinion to the European Commission, together with the SAPEA Evidence Review Report

In their latest scientific opinion on Food from the Oceans, the SAM HLG advises on how more food and biomass can be obtained from the oceans in a way that does not deprive future generations of their benefits.

This Scientific Opinion was delivered to the College of European Commissioners, represented by Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Carlos Moedas on 30 November 2017.

The recommendations in the Opinion call for mainstreaming a responsible culture and capture approach to harvesting food from the ocean into broad food system policy frameworks at EU and global level. To sustain wild capture and develop mariculture, the HLG recommends a more integrated, participative, systems-based approaches to policy and planning. The HLG stresses the need to increase harvest at lower trophic levels and picks out mariculture as the area with most potential for growth as well as being in need of higher priority and more strategic consideration in the EU.

The aim of the Opinion is to inform maritime, fisheries and aquaculture policy development and implementation in the coming years to help increase the quantity of sustainable food coming from the ocean. This includes preparations for whatever succeeds the present European Maritime and Fisheries Fund under the post-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework for EU policy priorities.

Simultaneously, the Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) consortium publishes its Evidence Review Report on Food from the Oceans which informed this Scientific Opinion.

29 November 2017

Stakeholder meeting on Food from the Oceans – a key step for the SAM High Level Group to deliver the next scientific opinion

On Monday, 13 November, took place the SAM HLG Stakehholder meeting regarding the Food from the Oceans topic. The purpose of this meeting was for SAM HLG to discuss the draft recommendations expected to form the basis of its Scientific Opinion on Food from the Oceans with representatives of relevant interest groups and some policy actors.

The main findings of the Evidence Review Report prepared by the Science Advice for Policy European Academies consortium (SAPEA) underpinning the Opinion were also presented and discussed. Following presentations by members of the SAM HLG (Carina Keskitalo and Janusz Bujnicki) and SAPEA representatives, the floor was opened to collect reactions, comments and questions from the stakeholders.

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28 November 2017

Call for nominations

A call for nominations of candidates for membership of the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors of the Scientific Advice Mechanism of the European Commission is open until 15 January 2018 (noon CET).
Deadline extended until 22 January

The European Scientific and Research Community is invited to submit names of competent candidates by using the form on this website.

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2 October 2017

SAM explanatory note discussed at stakeholder event: Modern Biotechnologies in Agriculture – paving the way for responsible innovation

HLG member Janusz Bujnicki presented the group's explanatory note on 'New Techniques in Agricultural Biotechnology' as a keynote speaker at this one-day conference in Brussels, 28 September 2017.

Speakers and attendees at the event debated how the EU can benefit from modern biotechnologies and innovation in the food and agricultural sector while maintaining high safety standards.

In addition to European Commissioners Vytenis Andriukaitis and Phil Hogan (Health and Food Safety and Agriculture and Rural Development respectively), and Estonian Minister of Rural Affairs, Tarmo Tamm, the event brought together a wide range of stakeholders from civil society, industry, science and Member State governments.

More about the conference.

15 September 2017

SAM HLG Scientific Opinion on Cybersecurity in the European Digital Single Market recognised as one of the main inputs for the Commission’s next steps on cybersecurity

Last 13 September the European Commission presented to the European Parliament and to the European Council its Communication paper - "Resilience, Deterrence and Defence: Building strong cybersecurity for the EU" - where it presents the approach and next steps for Cybersecurity in the EU.

The SAM HLG Scientific Opinion on Cybersecurity in the European Digital Single Market, delivered to the Commission in March 2017, has been clearly recognised as one of the main reference points for the future of EU policy making on cybersecurity. Read more

15 September 2017

Expert workshop on Food from the Ocean - paving the way to another High Level Group of Scientific Advisors Scientific Opinion

A key milestone on the way to preparing a Scientific Opinion on how to sustainably harvest more Food from the Ocean was an expert workshop which took place on 14 September 2017 in Brussels. The aim of this workshop was to discuss and review the key findings of the SAPEA evidence review report and to identify points to potentially prioritise in the SAM HLG Scientific Opinion. In particular, the workshop discussed the draft report in terms of the feasibility and practical applicability of the evidence gathered for increasing sustainable ocean harvest whether from marine aquaculture or wild capture.

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27 July 2017

Food from the Oceans in Cardiff Festival

Courtesy SAPEA

Public talks on the theme Food from the Oceans were hosted the 25th anniversary of the renovations of the Norwegian Church in Cardiff, UK on 14 - 15 July 2017. The Annual Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival, which attracts around 80,000 people, was taken as an opportunity to present this topic. A total of 7 speakers from Norway and UK provided the presentations aimed at consumers. A public debate on the theme of ''Can we get more food from the ocean?'' formed a key interactive opportunity for those attending.

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5 July 2017

3rd meeting of the European Science Advisors Forum

SAM HLG Members, RTD Director-General and the ESAF Members @Amsterdam, June 2017

The meeting took place in Amsterdam on 29 June. It was hosted by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). Representatives from 11 member countries of ESAF took part, discussing topics at the interface between science, policy, society and politics and included digitalization, artificial intelligence and climate change. The meeting was attended by the Director General of DG Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, and four members of the SAM High Level Group. The meeting voted for a coordinating country among its members to take up the role of the secretariat for the next three years, in collaboration with the countries that will host the future meetings and the SAM Unit. ESAF was created to provide an independent and informal network for science advice and presently counts 22 member states.

Robert-Jan Smits, Director General of DG Research and Innovation said the 3rd ESAF meeting is “...This is the next step towards ESAF becoming an independent network for science advice structures across Europe, and taking its place in the ecosystem of science advice in Europe. I am looking forward to ESAF and the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism working together on science advice collaboration moving forward, and I am grateful to the Netherlands for co-ordinating ESAF for the next 3 years.

The meeting clarified the role and organisational structure of ESAF and confirmed its value. Facilitating exchange of knowledge and access to existing science advice reports across Europe are important objectives of the network.

3 July 2017

Make scientific facts great again: what Europe can do about it


The European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) organised one session and one press briefing at the 4th European Conference for Science Journalists on 27 June 2017. SAM HLG Chair Rolf-Dieter Heuer spoke on a panel with Dame Anne Glover (Vice Principal for External Affairs and Dean for Europe, University of Aberdeen), Sofie Vanthournout (Sense about Science EU) and Member of the European Parliament Angelika Mlinar. Wolfgang C. Goede prepared the session report Make scientific facts great again. What Europe can do about it!. The session and briefing generated enthusiastic debate with the many science journalists in attendance. The opportunity was given to journalists to interview, quote the HLG members, by the Conference organisers. Some of the articles were 'Scientific advice for politics – The European way' and 'Unbiased reporting can help call time on pseudoscience'.

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28 April 2017

Explanatory Note, New techniques in agricultural biotechnology

Publication cover

On Friday, 28 April 2017, the Chair of the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, submitted to the European Commission the Group’s Explanatory Note on New techniques in agricultural biotechnology, following the request of Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

In this Explanatory Note, the Group provides a detailed scientific description of the full spectrum of breeding techniques used for agricultural applications in plants, animals and microorganisms. The Note draws on existing scientific reviews, opinions and reports. It explains and compares conventional breeding techniques, established techniques of genetic modification and new techniques, and will feed into a broad reflection on how the EU can benefit from innovation in the food and agricultural sector while ensuring a high level protection of human and animal health and environment.

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24 March 2017

Cybersecurity, 2nd Scientific Opinion

Publication cover

On Friday, 24 March 2017, the Chair of the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, submitted to the European Commission the Group’s 2nd Scientific Opinion on Cybersecurity in the Digital Single Market, following the request of Andrus Ansip, the European Commission Vice-President for Digital Single Market in January 2016.

In this Opinion, the Group makes a number of recommendations for policy action to make it easier and safer for people and businesses to operate online in the EU.

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22 February 2017

SAM sessions triggered huge interest at AAAS 2017

Photo from the event

The European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) organised two sessions at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which took place 16-20 February 2017 in Boston (USA). The sessions triggered large audiences and vibrant debates.

Check out the wrap up of the sessions and all presentations here

6 February 2017

CyberSecurity Stakeholders Meeting

Monday 13 February the HLG will present their draft findings and observations in a stakeholders meeting involving mainly representatives from consumer and civil society organisations, as well as business. The main objective of this meeting is to gather their reactions, while encouraging a fruitful and informative exchange of views. This meeting follows the scientific expert's consultation workshop in Vilnius last October 2016.

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30 January 2017

New members appointed to High Level Group of the Commission's Scientific Advice Mechanism

Group photo
Commissioner Moedas with the members of the SAM

Meeting for the sixth time in plenary, and one year after their first meeting in 2016, the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors welcomed Nobel Prize Laureate and Director of the Francis Crick institute Sir Paul Nurse as a guest. Sir Paul will join the HLG as a member in March 2017, following the departure of the Chair, Professor Henrik Wegener, due to his appointment as Rector of the University of Copenhagen. The HLG named Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer as the new Chair, and Professor Pearl Dykstra the new deputy Chair.

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14 December 2016

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

Photo from the event

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.

25 November 2016

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.

11 November 2016

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.

19 October 2016

Wrap-up of 2nd INGSA conference

Wrap-up of 2nd International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) conference "Science and Policy-Making: towards a new dialogue.

1 October 2016

2nd International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) conference

Photo from the event
Opening address by Carlos Moedas
Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

On 29 and 30 September the European Commission received in their premises, in Brussels, more than 430 users, practitioners and scholars of science advice who attended the 2nd International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) conference "Science and Policy-Making: towards a new dialogue".

This event, co-organised by the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) of the European Commission and INGSA aimed at improving the interface between science advice and policy-making.

One of the main goals was to gather participants from around the world to discuss common principles and best practices of science advice in different contexts and this was fully achieved with participants who arrived from more than 70 countries to join this event.

15 September 2016

Stakeholder meeting on "Closing the gap between light duty vehicle real-world CO2 emissions and laboratory testing"

The Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) of the European Commission has been tasked to provide advice based on scientific evidence on the issue of closing the gap between light duty vehicle real world CO2 emissions and laboratory testing. The advice is due to be delivered in autumn and will inform the Commission's policy-making in the context of the post-2020 CO2 standards for light-duty vehicles.

To gather a large diversity of views on the topic, the High-Level Group is organising a meeting with policy, industry, civil society and scientific stakeholders which will take place on 15 September 2016, 14:00-17:00, in Brussels.

7 June 2016

Lisbon Scientific Workshop

Lisbon Scientific Workshop on "Closing the gap between light duty vehicle real-world CO2 emissions and laboratory testing"

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10 November 2015


Commissioner Moedas appoints Members of the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors

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26 October 2015

Setting up the HLG

The European Commission adopted on 16 October a Decision setting up the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors

The decision

6 July 2015

Setting up SAM

Commission invites independent counsel in setting up Scientific Advice Mechanism

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13 May 2015

President Juncker meets with scientists

President Juncker welcomes world-leading scientists, discusses role of science in competitiveness and announces new mechanism for scientific advice.

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