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-calibre scientists with expertise in: plant health; genetically modified organisms; 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 harmonisation of risk assessment approaches and new methodologies.
EFSA relies on the expertise and judgement 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.
Professor Anthony Hardy, Chair of the Scientific Committee, said: “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.”
“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. The call has also been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Notes to editors
- EFSA was set up in January 2002, following a series of food crises in the late 1990s, as an independent source of scientific advice and communication on risks associated with the food chain. In the European food safety system, risk assessment is carried out independently of risk management. As the risk assessor, EFSA produces scientific opinions and advice to the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States.
- Experts can sit on EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panels for a three-year mandate. The mandate for the current Scientific Committee and eight of the ten Panels* runs until mid-2015. If not appointed, experts can be placed on a reserve list for vacancies on the Panels.
- Experts are selected through an open and transparent procedure.
- Experts do not receive a salary as they are not employed by EFSA, but EFSA reimburses the cost of their travel, accommodation and subsistence. Experts are also paid a flat allowance for each day of a meeting that they attend.
* The Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS) and the Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) were renewed last year.