Risk Assessment Research Assembly (RARA)

7 February 2018

EFSA is organising the first Risk Assessment Research Assembly (RARA), with a view to stimulating new partnerships in food safety research to safeguard public health, and highlighting the importance of public funding.

Bringing together EU and national research funders, policy/decision makers and leading food safety researchers, RARA will serve as a platform to:

  • exchange research ideas*, which may form part of future calls, and
  • identify partners and possible ways of funding.

Don’t miss out on this important opportunity to gather and share insights and ideas with key actors. Have your say on future directions in public funding and research in food safety risk assessment, both at national and EU level.

We count on your active participation and contribution!

* An e-Inventory of research ideas submitted by participants will be made publically available.

7th February 2018

Time Item Format / location Speakers
09:30 - 11:00 Registration & coffee    
11:00 - 13:00 Setting the scene
  • Welcome
  • Keynote speeches
  • Bernhard Url - Executive Director, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
  • Michael Scannell - Director for the Food Chain, European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) 
  • Pamela Byrne - Chief Executive Officer, Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI)
  Making the Case for Public Funding

Panel discussion with audience engagement

  • Razvan Anistoroaei - Research Policy Officer, Agri-Food Chain Unit, European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD)
  • Jean-Charles Cavitte - Research Policy Officer, European Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI)
  • Robert van Gorcom - Vice-Chair of the EFSA Management Board, Managing Director at RIKILT, Wageningen UR (NL)
  • Marta Hugas - Chief Scientist, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
  • Eduardo Rosa - Member of  Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), Science Europe, Professor at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro
  • Ioanna Stavridou - Science Officer, COST Association
13:00 - 14:30 Networking lunch & ideas showcase    
14:30 - 16:30 Pitches on key research ideas Break-out sessions All participants
16:30 - 17:00 Networking coffee    
17:00 - 18:30 Making it happen: challenges and opportunities Break-out feedback and Panel discussion with audience engagement
  • Stef Bronzwaer - Research Coordinator, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
  • Jack de Bruijn - Director of Risk Management, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
  • Jos Cornelese - Research Strategy Senior Advisor, Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA)  
  • Gorgias Garofalakis - Nutritional Policy and Research Officer, Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) 
  • Oddur Gunnarsson - Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Matís - Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D
  Wrap-up and concluding discussions Closing remarks  
  Networking buffet    

RARA is intended as a dynamic and interactive event. It will bring together EFSA’s strategic policy and delivery partners (including the research community) to discuss key contributions that public funding of food safety related research makes – and should continue to make – with the ultimate goal of protecting European consumers.

The event aims to support EFSA, its partners and research providers in ensuring that there is a significant and effective element of publically funded food safety research in future programming decisions, both at national and EU level.

To make the Assembly as dynamic as possible, participants’ active involvement is absolute key. They can contribute to RARA:

  • as invited speakers in keynote talks or panel discussions;
  • by networking to strengthen or build beneficial relationships;
  • by showcasing research ideas through posters and/or short presentations (“pitches”); and/or
  • by providing information on funding opportunities

Priority areas for research and the EU risk assessment agenda

RARA aims to provide a platform to support peers and funder/policy representatives to network and generate joint interests.

To do so and ensure active participation, registrants for RARA are invited to outline their research idea in one of the priority areas indicated in the registration form. These 28 priority areas for research in food safety and risk assessment have been jointly identified by the EU Member States, Norway, Iceland and EFSA as part of the EU Risk Assessment Agenda (EU RAA). It is a dynamic list of common priorities for research and funding in the area of food safety.

NOTE: Priority research ideas outlined by registrants may build on ideas already presented in the EU RAA, or they can be new, emerging ideas. In either case, it is key to create a compelling argument for their priority and the need for public funding.

The event addresses research funders, policy/decision makers and food safety-related researchers. Participation is not limited to the Art. 36 network. All interested parties are encouraged to get involved! The event is limited to 200 participants. In case of significant over-registration, submissions may be screened and prioritised to ensure geographical balance and broader participation. Priority will be given to those interested in presenting and sharing:

  • funding mechanisms (e.g. by manning an info stall); and/or
  • research ideas in the priority areas of the EU Risk Assessment Agenda (EU RAA) through posters and/or “pitches”.

At registration, participants are invited to indicate if they would like to actively contribute to the event in one (or more) of the ways indicated above. If so, they will be asked to provide further information in the registration form.

During the event, participants will have the opportunity to present their research ideas in 3-5 minute pitches. EFSA will select the ideas to be pitched so as to ensure balance across priority areas, based on the strength of argument made in the registration form.

Online registration is closed. Selected participants will be contacted in the coming days.

Please note that no walk-in registrations on the day of the conference will be accepted.

Check out the timeline for registration & following steps

Date and venue

The meeting will be held in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on 7 February 2018 from 09:30-21:00.

The venue and logistics will be communicated to selected participants after closure of registration.


English will be the working language of the event; no translation will be provided.


There is no fee for participation. However, participants will be required to cover their expenses related to travel and accommodation.


Do not hesitate to contact conferences [at] efsa.europa.eu for any questions you may have.