EFSA, in cooperation with Members States, agreed to set up a database of external scientific experts able to assist its Scientific Committee, Scientific Panels, EFSA networks and respective working groups.
Scientists with relevant expertise are invited to apply. EFSA welcomes applications from experts in all fields of its remit, such as food and feed safety, nutrition, toxicology, chemistry, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health.
All candidates who submit a complete application and meet the eligibility criteria will be included in the database. EFSA informs each applicant whether they have been included and, if not, the criteria that were not met.
A report has been produced summarising the activities carried out during 2011 to implement the expert database project. Included in the report is an assessment of the information available in the database at the end of 2011 compared with 2010.
Why does EFSA need an expert database?
EFSA aims to deliver timely scientific advice of the highest standards to support the policies and decisions of Europe’s risk managers (European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States). This can only be achieved through effective pooling of scientific excellence across Europe. To this end, EFSA, in cooperation with Members States, has set up a database of external scientific experts in order to enhance its capacity to conduct risk assessments in the areas of food and feed safety; enhance the transparency of the process through which experts are invited to participate in its scientific activities; respond more effectively and flexibly to the growing workload, particularly in cases where very specialised, unexpected and urgent work may be required.
Will I become a member of EFSA’s Scientific Committee or Panels?
No. The selection of EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panel members is carried out every 3 years and is subject to another selection procedure.
However, you may be invited to provide direct support to the Scientific Committee and Panel members once included in the expert database.
Will my application be accepted?
The inclusion of experts in the EFSA’s expert database is based on the submission and assessment of a set of mandatory data, consisting of personal and institutional information, and data describing the expertise of applicants. During the assessment step, EFSA verifies if experts have provided valid data and satisfied the eligibility criteria required for inclusion in the database:
- a university degree, or equivalent, in one or more areas of expertise within the remit of EFSA;
- relevant professional experience i.e. in risk assessment, data collection on biological or chemical hazards, as appropriate;
- scientific articles published in peer reviewed journals, technical reports and/or other publications relevant to the expertise declared; and
- ability to communicate and work in at least one EU language.
All experts are informed of the outcome of the assessment of their applications.
How are experts selected to cooperate with EFSA?
Each time EFSA needs the support of an external expert for a specific scientific task, a shortlist of potential experts is drawn up from the database. The candidates who closely match the sought profile are then contacted to check on their availability and interest in participating in the identified task. Those that express their availability are then asked to submit (or update and re-submit) an Annual Declaration of Interests (ADoI), unless a current one, submitted within the previous year, is already available. The ADoI is reviewed by EFSA staff and only candidates without a conflict of interest are retained for further evaluation. Additional evaluation and selection criteria are then used to identify the most suitable candidate(s).
What is the nature of the work involved?
Experts included in the database may be invited for two types of assignments:
- EFSA assignments, where the nature of the tasks is the provision of scientific advice to EFSA’s Scientific Committee, Scientific Panels, EFSA’s networks and related working groups; and
- assignments to scientific projects by direct invitation of Member States, EEA/EFTA countries or the European Commission.
Will I be compensated for my work?
In accordance with existing EFSA rules, depending on the meeting category and specific representative status, experts selected from the database that participate on specific scientific activities with EFSA shall receive travel and subsistence expenses and an indemnity for their contribution to EFSA’s work.
How much time will I need to dedicate to these activities?
External scientific experts with the required expertise could be invited (a) on an ad-hoc basis, to attend a single meeting or for the duration of the work on a specific mandate or project; or (b) on a longer term, when the required expertise is needed for more than one mandate or project.
Who will use the database and will my data be protected?
The main end-users of EFSA’s expert database are the Scientific Committee, Scientific Panels, EFSA’s networks, their respective working groups and EFSA scientific staff. The expert database is also shared with Member States, EEA/EFTA countries and the European Commission, via their Advisory Forum and Focal Point representatives. Access provided to these external end-users allows experts to participate on other scientific projects outside the scope of EFSA. However, experts included in the database have the possibility to choose whether or not to share their individual profiles with such external end-users. Those experts who do not wish to share their data with external end-users are able to opt to restrict access to their data to EFSA staff only. All personal information on applicant experts and experts included into the database is processed by EFSA pursuant to Regulation (EC) N° 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000, on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.