EFSA Calls for Experts to Join Scientific Panels

Published online: Apr 12, 2014

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is urging scientists to make a difference to Europe’s food safety system by joining its teams of risk assessment experts. Applications are invited from high-caliber scientists with expertise in plant health, GMOs, feedstuffs, animal health and welfare, plant protection, contaminants in the food chain, biological hazards, and nutrition. In addition to the eight scientific panels that cover these areas, EFSA is also renewing membership of its Scientific Committee, which is responsible for overarching issues such as harmonization of risk assessment approaches and new methodologies.

EFSA relies on the expertise and judgment of hundreds of scientists to provide EU decision-makers with the advice they need to protect consumers, animals and plants. The Authority’s Scientific Committee and its Scientific Panels are each composed of up to 21 scientists from across Europe and cover a broad spectrum of disciplines. These experts—from universities, research institutions and national food safety authorities—bring an abundance of scientific knowledge, critical thinking and practical decision-making experience to EFSA, ensuring the scientific excellence of the Authority’s advice.

This advice is delivered in the form of scientific opinions, which are published in the EFSA Journal, an open-access, online journal. The EFSA Journal has been accepted for indexation by leading bibliographic databases such as CABI, SciFinder and ISI Web of Science.

EFSA’s experts volunteer for this demanding work and are often required to give complex scientific advice at short notice. Sometimes they may even find themselves in the public eye because of the particular nature or sensitivity of the issue they have been asked to assess.

 “Working for EFSA is hard work, and it should be hard work, but the rewards make it worthwhile and I would recommend it to anyone,” said Professor Anthony Hardy, chair of the Scientific Committee. “EFSA to me is the cornerstone of risk assessment in Europe as far as food safety is concerned, and its core values of scientific excellence and transparency are my own core values. I’m very proud to be part of a system that helps to make Europeans’ food safer.”

Professor Joe Perry, chair of the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms, added, “There is a real need to do the work that EFSA does. Risk assessment is important, not just scientifically but for society. That’s one of the reasons that I went into it. Scientists are consumers too—everyone eats food—and many are parents, so it’s an opportunity to give something back as well as to have an interesting time meeting experts from different countries, and to do your best in challenging areas.”

Applicants should be able to demonstrate experience in scientific risk assessment and have proven expertise in one or more of the areas of EFSA’s remit. Those selected will be offered a three-year mandate from July 2015.

Interested experts are invited to apply online. Details are available at the link below or through the homepage of EFSA’s website. This call has also been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

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