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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.

The Academia Europaea Cardiff Knowledge Hub organised this event, in a close collaboration with SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies), the SAM (Science Advice Mechanism) Unit, the Learned Society of Wales and the Hordaland County in Norway.

Professor Carina Keskitalo, member of the European Commission High Level Group of the Scientific Advice Mechanism and Chair of the Food from the Oceans Steering Group attended the talks and was joined for part of the event by a staff representative of the SAM Unit.

Seafood from Bergen was available at the Food from the Oceans stall ensuring a continuous flow of visitors.

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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.

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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Explanatory Note, New techniques in agricultural biotechnology

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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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Cybersecurity, 2nd Scientific Opinion

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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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Upcoming Events

14 September 2017, Brussels - Expert Workshop on Food from the Ocean

28 September 2017, Brussels - EU for facts - JRC Annual Conference

Latest Publications

New techniques in agricultural biotechnology  PDF icon 2.3 MB
Publication cover 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. »»

Cybersecurity in the European Digital Single Market  PDF icon 1.6 MB
2nd Scientific Opinion of the SAM HLG. Recommendations include making systems more secure, empowering users and strengthening Europe's strategically important cybersecurity industry

Closing the Gap  PDF icon 1.5 MB
1st Scientific Opinion of the SAM HLG

Citizen Summary  PDF icon 537 KB
on the 1st High Level Group Scientific Opinion

Upcoming meetings

  • PPP – Steering Group Meeting, 30-31/8/2017
  • 9th Meeting of the HLG, 5/9/2017
  • FFO – Experts Workshop, 14/9/2017
  • PPP – Experts Workshop, 25-26/10/2017
  • FFO – Stakeholders Meeting, 13/11/2017
  • 10th Meeting of the HLG, 29-30/11/2017


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