The Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM)

This mechanism will support the Commission with high quality, timely and independent scientific advice for its policy-making activities

The scientific opinion 'Environmental and Health Risks of Microplastic Pollution' has been published

30 April 2019, Brussels


The European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) Group of Chief Scientific Advisors has delivered its most recent Scientific Opinion on the Environmental and Health Risks of Microplastic Pollution. The handover of this Opinion to the Commission coincided with the inauguration of a microplastics photo exhibition in the Berlaymont Piazza. The photographer, Dr Filipa Bessa, is also a scientist and was a member of the SAPEA Expert Working Group whose evidence review report informed the Advisors’ opinion.

The opinion was triggered by the ongoing worldwide debate on how to solve plastic – and in particular microplastic – pollution. It responds to the need for science and science advice to play a more prominent and helpful role in this debate.

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

EC's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors held a Stakeholder meeting regarding 'Environmental and Health Risks of Microplastic Pollution'

MNP Stakeholders meeting

On 25 April 2019 in Brussels, the group of Chief Scientific Advisors presented to stakeholder representatives the main lines of the recommendations around which its intended Scientific Opinion would be based, providing in the process the opportunity for comments and reactions to be shared with the Advisors. The meeting was attended by representatives from: consumer, civil society & science organisations; other relevant interest groups; policy representatives.

The meeting report will be made available soon.

ZooPlastics – a microplastics exhibition

ZooPlastics, an exhibition of photographs of microplastic pollution fragments found in Portuguese seas and rivers, will be inaugurated 30 April by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation at the Berlaymont building in Brussels. The photographer, Dr Filipa Bessa, also a scientist, was a member of the SAPEA microplastics Expert Working Group.

This photo exhibition inauguration coincides with the publication by the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) Group of Chief Scientific Advisors of a Scientific Opinion on the Environmental and Health Risks of Microplastic Pollution.

Genome Editing in Agriculture – Implications for Society

2 April 2019, European Parliament, Brussels

Presentation by Janusz Bujnicki

Rolf Heuer and Janusz Bujnicki presented the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors’ New Techniques in Agricultural Biotechnology explanatory note and statement on gene editing. The meeting was hosted by Members of the European Parliament Paul Rübig (EPP), María Teresa Giménez Barbat (ALDE) and Georgi Pirinski (S&D), and organised by Re-Imagine Europa with the support of the Scientific Advice Mechanism unit.

After the keynote, participants discussed five key aspects:

  1. New Breeding Techniques (NBT) and agricultural applications – what can science deliver?;
  2. Ethical and societal considerations related to agricultural applications of NBT;
  3. Regulatory issues (in particular post-Court of Justice of the European Union Decision);
  4. Science quality and science-informed decision making;
  5. NBTs – international comparison.

Participants representing a wide variety of views included Eugenijus Gefenas, Member of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, Members of the European Parliament, experts from Academia, representatives of research organisations, NGOs, industry, European Commission staff and representatives of other regions of the world.

The Chief Scientific Advisors’ presentation is available and a summary of the event will be available soon.

Scientific Advice under conditions of uncertainty and complexity - The Example of Microplastic Pollution

15 February 2019, AAAS, Washington DC

Organisers (Dulce Boavida, Jeremy Bray), panel participants (Chenxi Wu, Thomas Backhaus, Allen Burton Jr., Martin Wagner) and moderator (Pearl Dykstra)

Experts from Europe, North America and Asia held a robust and entertaining public debate on issues related to micro-plastic pollution at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting.

Their debate was moderated by Pearl Dykstra, Deputy Chair of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, and touched on the challenges inherent to science advice to policy in the face of uncertainty and contested evidence.

Debate among the participants and with audience members will contribute to the Advisors’ forthcoming opinion on microplastic pollution.

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