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News related to the Scientific Advice Mechanism


9 July 2018

A Scientific Perspective on Microplastic Pollution and its Impacts

9 July 2018, Brussels

The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors adopted this Initial Statement during its plenary meeting in Toulouse on the occasion of ESOF 2018 following endorsement by the European Commission of the approach set out in the statement. The Scientific Advisors intend to deliver to the Commission an Explanatory Note before the end of 2018 based on a SAPEA scientific evidence review report, and a Scientific Opinion in early 2019.

Initial Statement - A Scientific Perspective on Microplastic Pollution and its Impacts

Microplastic Pollution

3 July 2018

Science Advice and Ethics at EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), July 2018 Toulouse

SAM Stand message

On 11 July 2018, in the Congress Center all ESOF participants are welcome to join the debates, organised by the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors and the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies:

  • Citizens and Science Advice - challenges and opportunities of participatory science advice (10:15 – 11:30)
    If as some say, we have had enough of experts then is there a future for expert science advice to policy makers? If facts are a turn-off, can we ever really engage the public in the process of evidence informed decision-making, and is it even feasible?
  • Carbon capture and utilisation for climate change: hype or hope? (10:15 – 11:30)
    co-organised with the SAPEA (Scientific Advice for Policy by European Academies) consortium
    Carbon is a vital element at the basis of our life on Earth. Yet carbon dioxide produced by human activities is one of the main greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. Managing CO2 in our atmosphere is one of the greatest social, economical and political challenges of our time.
  • What kind of future do we want for our children? (15:15 – 16:30)
    The European Commissions' top advisers on ethics and on science will explore how scientific and ethical advice can help to address today's grand challenges and to shape the world of tomorrow. The audience will be invited to ask questions in relation to the overall theme, such as 'What kind of work do we want our children to do? What kind of food do we want our children to eat? What kind of environment do we want our children to live in?' and others.
  • Ethics in the age of science, technology and innovation: From AI to the Future of Work (17:15 – 18:30)
    How we organise the future of work, and how we regulate and employ AI, will have a bearing on virtually every aspect of future societies.

All sessions will include Q&A. Come and meet European Commission's Chief Scientific Advisors and the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies share with them your questions and views.

Want to know more about the work done by both of these Groups? Pass by the EC stand in the exhibition area and talk with one of our colleagues.

For all this and much more register!

4 Jun 2018

Scientific Advisors publish their 5th Scientific Opinion: EU authorisation processes of Plant Protection Products

4 June 2018, Brussels

The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors has published its scientific opinion : ''EU authorisation processes of Plant Protection ProductsPDF icon' (PPP).

The opinion makes recommendations on how to make the current EU dual system for approval and authorisation of PPP more transparent, effective and efficient. It also calls for a broad dialogue to establish an EU-wide shared vision for food production.

Find out more about this opinion on the PPP page and read the corresponding news alert.

23 May 2018

Scientific Advisors publish their 4th Scientific Opinion: Novel Carbon Capture and Utilisation Technologies

23 May 2018, Brussels

The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors has published its scientific opinion : 'Novel carbon capture and utilisation technologiesPDF icon' (CCU).

The opinion proposes a methodology for determining the potential for CCU to contribute to climate mitigation goals; and discusses on what bases CCU projects should be funded and regulated, to aid their deployment.

Find out more about this opinion on the CCU page and read the corresponding news alert.

4 May 2018

New member appointed to European Commission's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors

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Professor Nicole Grobert

The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors warmly welcomes Professor Nicole Grobert, Professor of Nanomaterials at the Department of Materials in the University of Oxford, as its newest member.

Professor Grobert is a Royal Society Industry Fellow and a visiting Professor at the Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre at Toyo University, Japan. Professor Grobert will formally join the Scientific Advisors in May 2018, following the departure of Cédric Villani due to his election to the French Assemblée Nationale in 2017.

24 March 2018

Workshop - ‘Modern Agriculture Biotechnology Calling’, part of the 5th Meeting of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research

12 April 2018, European Parliament, Brussels

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Panel of speakers of the 'Modern Agricultural Biotechnology Calling' session

The Group’s Explanatory Note on New Techniques in Agricultural Biotechnology, was presented by Professor Janusz Bujnicki, member of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors and by Professor Joachim Schiemann, one of the SAPEA experts who contributed to the Note. A broad range of stakeholders engaged in lively discussion with both experts and also heard the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis’s keynote presentation.

9 March 2018

High Level Group becomes Group of Chief Scientific Advisors

4 April 2018, European Commission, Brussels

On 5 April 2018 the Commission amended its Decision C(2015) 6946 of 16 October 2015 on the setting up of the High Level Group of Scientific Advisors.

Since its creation, the Group has brought new capabilities to the policy- and decision-making apparatus of the Commission and has added value to existing advisory bodies within the Commission and other bodies, offices or agencies, including those of the Joint Research Centre. For these reasons, the Commission has decided to change the name of the Group to “Group of Chief Scientific Advisors”.

Since 2016 the Group has produced Scientific Opinions and Explanatory Notes at the request of the College on issues such as Food from the Oceans, Cybersecurity in the European Digital Single Market, and New Techniques in Agricultural Biotechnology.

C(2018)1919 of 5 April 2018 - Commission Decision amending Decision C(2015)6946
ENPDF icon | FRPDF icon | DEPDF icon

'Consolidated version - EC Decisions – C(2015)6946 and C(2018)1919PDF icon

20 March 2018

"Europe, the Ocean, and Feeding the World": Seas, Rivers, Islands & Coastal Areas (SEARICA) intergroup

20 March 2018,European Parliament, Brussels

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© European Parliament – SEARICA Intergroup Meeting

The event show-cased the Group’s Scientific Opinion on Food from the Oceans, with Prof Carina Keskitalo presenting the Opinion in one of the panel discussions.

An opening commentary was delivered on behalf of Commissioner Carlos Moedas by a member of his cabinet (Robert Schroder) and the closing commentary was delivered by Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

The full programme for the event and the speakers’ presentations can be found on the SEARICA site.

14 March 2018

More Food from the Sea?

14 March 2018, Academy of Sciences, Hamburg

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© SAPEA – The speaker's panel

Rolf Heuer – Chair of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors – presented and discussed the Food From the Oceans (link) Opinion with a variety of experts. These included Gerd Kraus - Director of the Thünen Institute for Sea Fisheries in Hamburg; Karin Lochte - Member of the Academy of Sciences in Hamburg; Heike Vesper - Head of International Marine Conservation, WWF Germany; and Hildegard Westphal - Scientific Director of the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research in Bremen and Professor of Geology of the Tropics (University of Bremen). Noteworthy items included the necessity for a global view on sustainability, the strengthening of protected areas to allow full recovery and the need for public debate and consensus on EU fisheries.

27 February 2018

Blue Innovation: Oceans to feed the planet

27 February 2018, Science Business, Brussels

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© Science Business 2018; SAM's scientific opinion key piece on discussion with Science Business Network

The Food from the Oceans scientific opinion and evidence review report were discussed during this Science Business organised event, “Blue Innovation: Oceans to feed the planet”. SAM High Level Group Deputy Chair Professor Pearl Dykstra and SAPEA Chair of the Working Group 1 Professor Poul Holm participated in discussion with the members of the Science Business network that includes industry, research and policy makers. The meeting report will be published shortly.

20 February 2018

Scientific Integrity, Public Policy, and Better Regulation

20 February 2018, European Risk Forum Conference, Brussels

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SAM's bigger picture

Prof Pearl Dykstra, Deputy Chair of the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) High Level Group, gave a presentation on how to strengthen the role of science in EU policy making at the European Risk Forum Conference on Scientific Integrity, Public Policy and Better Regulation, organised in collaboration with the Bulgarian Presidency on 20 February 2018. In her talk she explained how SAM works and how it contributes to enhancing the use of scientific evidence in decision-making at EU level.

Wolfgang Burtscher, Deputy Director General Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World of EC Directorate-General Research and Innovation delivered a keynote speech emphasizing the need for science advice and ethical guidance in times of increasingly complex policy issues and accelerating scientific and technological development. He explained how the EC's Innovation Principle as part of the Better Regulation approach meets the requirement for a regulatory framework adjusting to evolving innovation dynamics in a global context.

Prof Sierd Cloetingh, President of Academia Europea, described the role of Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) in SAM.

Representatives from policy, academia, industry and scientific journals discussed how scientific integrity and reproducibility can be furthered and thus strengthen evidence-informed policy-making and promote innovation in Europe.

20 February 2018

Novel carbon capture and utilisation technologies: research and climate aspects stakeholder meeting

20 February 2018, European Commission, Brussels

In view of the upcoming scientific opinion on 'Novel carbon capture and utilisation technologies: research and climate aspects', due to be delivered in April 2018, the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) High-Level Group organised a stakeholder meeting chaired by Professor Elvira Fortunato, SAM HLG member, as a follow up to the evidence review already undertaken. The aim of the meeting was to collect reactions, comments and questions from stakeholders.

2 February 2018

EU Aquaculture: Farmed in EU Regions Meeting, 2 February 2018, Brussels

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SAM at EU Aquaculture: Farmed in EU Regions Meeting

The European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions jointly organised the EU Aquaculture Farmed in EU Regions meeting to discuss the sustainable development of aquaculture in European regions. The meeting aimed to make regional and local level decision makers aware of the potential of aquaculture, as well as of the difficulties and opportunities facing businesses in the sector. The Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) High Level Group Scientific Opinion on Food from the Oceans was prominent in discussion, notably in the introductory speeches by Commissioner Vella (Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) and MEP Carlos Iturgaiz.

Commissioner Vella said: "How will we feed the global population without putting intolerable strain on our natural environment? That is why I asked the High Level Scientists to produce the Food from the Oceans report. The answer lies in farming our seafood. Of course we must continue our work on sustainable wild fisheries, but if we are to get more seafood, it has to come from farming."

Read more

2 February 2018

Professor Rolf Heuer and Professor Pearl Dykstra confirmed as Chair and Deputy Chair

At its 11th meeting, on 1 February 2018, the SAM High Level Group congratulated Rolf Heuer and Pearl Dykstra on their successful chairing and re-confirmed both as Chair and Deputy Chair for another year.

24 January 2018

Fact Checking Science - Shaping the Governance of Scientific Advice in the EU

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©Nickel Institute 2018, Fact Checking Science - Shaping the Governance of Scientific Advice in the EU

On Tuesday 23 January 2018, Member of the European Parliament, Julie Girling, hosted an event on Fact Checking Science: Shaping the Governance of Scientific Advice in the EU co-organised with the Nickel Institute and the Schuman Associates.

The Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) High Level Group was represented by Pearl Dykstra, Deputy Chair, who mentioned the Group’s intention to work on a scientific opinion examining the provision of scientific advice under conditions of complexity and uncertainty.

24 January 2018

Generations & Gender Programme Stakeholder Seminar

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SAM at the panel on the fundamental role of social science research infrastructures

The Generations & Gender Programme (GGP) and Population Europe held its Stakeholder Seminar on The future of the generations to come: Youth, Work-Life-Balance and Solidarity in Europe, European Parliament, 23 January 2018.

Pearl Dykstra, Deputy Chair of the EC Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) High Level Group, contributed to the panel debate on the fundamental role of social science research infrastructures. The discussion involved researchers and stakeholders from policy, research and civil society. This event was part of the dissemination activities of the EU-project The Generations & Gender Programme – Evaluate, Plan, Initiate (GGP-EPI).

Event review

12 January 2018

European Parliament Committee on Fisheries hearing welcomed SAM HLG scientific opinion 'Food from the Oceans'

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SAM at the EP PECH Fisheries hearing

Pearl Dykstra, deputy-chair of the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) High Level Group, presented aquaculture related recommendations in the Food from the Oceans Scientific Opinion to the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries hearing, chaired by Carlos Iturgaiz (EPP), 11 January, 2018.

Representatives of DG MARE, the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP), the European Mollusc Producers’ Association, and the Aquaculture Advisory Council (AAC) also presented their views during the event.

Read more

30 November 2017

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

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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

Science Without Borders

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Inner Borders within Science by Pearl Dykstra, SAM HLG Vice-Chair (@ Science Europe)

Science Europe Scientific Advisory Committee Symposium, Brussels

Prof Pearl Dykstra, Deputy Chair of the SAM HLG, made a presentation on Inner Borders within Science during the reception of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Science Europe's Second Symposium – Science Without Borders, last 29 November 2017. Prof. Janusz Bujnicki represented also the SAM HLG.

The scientists present discussed the facilitators and the inhibitors for reaching science without borders around six topics considered to be most relevant: open science, researcher mobility, cross-border collaboration, scientific careers, funding and ‘inner borders’.

29 November 2017

The role of science in evidence based EU policy making with Professor Rolf Heuer at the November British Chamber of Commerce EU Committee briefing

Professor Rolf Heuer, HLG Chair, spoke about the Scientific Advice Mechanism in his presentation about the Role of science in evidence-based EU policy making, last 29 November 2017 at the November British Chamber of Commerce EU Committee briefing. The British Chamber of Commerce | EU & Belgium is a not-for-profit international body serving its members by facilitating business in Belgium and engaging with the European Union and its decision making.

29 November 2017

Science Meets Parliament

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' The role of science in a post-fact society' with Rolf Heuer, SAM HLG Chair (@ STOA)

Once a year, the European Parliament opens its doors to the Science Meets Parliaments initiative. of the Joint Research Centre (JRC). In 2017, the main topic was the role of science in a post fact society moderated by Eva Kaili, MEP and STOA Chair. Professor Rolf Heuer, as SAM HLG Chair, participated in the Panel discussion held last 28 November 2017.

In this way, the JRC organises, jointly with the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) panel, a dialogue that contributes to an ongoing culture of evidence informed policy-making. Science Meets Parliaments brings together high level European and national policy makers and scientists in a series of dynamic round table debates and bilateral meetings.

29 November 2017

Opening up to an ERA of Social Innovation conference

Lisbon, Portugal, 27-28 November 2017

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Debate on key points of the SAPEA report underpinning the SAM HLG Opinion on 'Food from the Oceans'

On 27 November, one of the sessions of the conference was a joint SAM/JRC Workshop on Social dynamics and food from the oceans chaired by Carina Keskitalo, Member of High Level Group of SAM. Key points of the SAPEA report underpinning the SAM HLG Opinion on Food from the Ocean were presented by Gesche Krause, member of the SAPEA FFO working group, with a main emphasis on the Societal Response to Increased Production and the Public response/perception. Also Johannes Klumpers, Head of the SAM Unit participated in the panel debates alongside Director Bernhard Friess from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The European Commission (Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility), Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Portuguese Government jointly organized this high-level conference. The aim was to examine how to increase the effectiveness of social innovation as a public policy instrument.

28 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.

Read more

25 November 2017

7th World Science Forum 2017 Jordan “Science for Peace”

Dead Sea, Sweimeh, Jordan, 7-11 November 2017

Commissioner Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation attended as speaker in the Plenary session on Science Diplomacy to Strengthen Governance and Build Enduring Relationships and Prof. Rolf Heuer spoke under the thematic session on A Science-based Advice to Policy-Makers in an Era of Alternative Facts. “An alternative fact is a lie,” said Rolf Dieter Heue.

On the official page, one can read: […]The meeting, that has brought together over 3,000 delegates from over 120 countries adopted the Declaration on Science for Peace calling for a global action to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

More information

13 October 2017

Crossing boundaries – New approaches to science for policy

An international SAPEA conference, 13 October 2017, Tallinn, Estonia

SAPEA organised a conference hosted by the Estonian Academy of Sciences to explore new approaches to science for policy from a variety of stakeholder perspectives. The interface between research and policymaking was discussed, among others, by Dr Johannes Klumpers, Head of SAM Unit who spoke on Policymakers: changes in their approach to working with scientists. Prof. Janusz Bujnicki, SAM HLG Member, Prof. Günter Stock, Chair of the SAPEA Board, and Prof. Poul Holm, Chair SAPEA Working Group on Food from the Oceans addressed Science and the provision of scientific evidence for policy changes in the academic community. Rounding off the conference was a panel on the role of NGOs and corporations in the provision of scientific advice for policy.

Conference Report

12 October 2017

European Research Excellence - Impact and Value for Society

12 October 2017, Tallinn, Estonia

This Estonian Presidency Research Policy Conference encouraged an open debate on how excellent research generates societal and economic added-value and how to plan the framework post-2020. It aimed to influence the debate on European research policy in the lead-up to the next Framework Programme. Panelists included Janusz Bujnicki, Member of the SAM HLG, Robert-Jan Smits, EC DG RTD in addition to the participation of Günter Stock, chair of the board of SAPEA and Vladimir Šucha, EC DG JRC. The outcome of the EU Presidency Conference is presented in a final declaration, the Tallinn Call for Action: Seize the opportunity now - research and innovation matter for the future of Europe.

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.

Read more

27 July 2017

Food from the Oceans in Cardiff Festival

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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.

Read more

5 July 2017

3rd meeting of the European Science Advisors Forum

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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

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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'.

More information

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.

More information

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.

More information

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.

More information

30 January 2017

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

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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.

More information

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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