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EFSA recruits leading scientists to panels for 5-year term

On 1 July 2024, 180 leading experts joined the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific panels for a new 5-year term. EFSA’s experts provide independent scientific advice to protect EU consumers, animals and the environment.

scientists sitting together

"We are very pleased with the outcome of the panel renewal process and the success of our recent call. Compared to 2017, we attracted 40% more candidates, including a higher share of women. Young scientists also confirmed their interest in working with us. The candidates are exceptionally qualified, representing a diverse range of expertise across various fields”, said Nik Kriz, Head of EFSA’s Risk Assessment Services Department.

The 2024-2029 mandate includes 11 panels, with the Panel on Food Enzymes (FEZ) and the Panel on Food Contact Materials (FCM) replacing the former Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, and Processing Aids (CEP). The Scientific Committee, comprising all panel chairs, now includes an additional member and a social scientist, enhancing EFSA’s capacity to effectively respond to societal needs.

The panels’ mandate is extended to 5 years, as specified in Regulation (EU) 1381/2019, the ‘Transparency Regulation’, which became applicable in 2021. The panels can now include 11 to 21 members, depending on the expertise required and the expected workload.

Over 1500 scientists applied to become EFSA panel members following a call for experts in spring 2023. The appointed scientists, from 26 countries (including six non-EU countries), were selected following a rigorous evaluation procedure and screening of their declarations of interest, adhering to EFSA’s strict rules on transparency and independence.

EU Member States are significant contributors to EFSA’s scientific expertise, with 38% of incoming experts affiliated with government or public research institutes, and 12% coming from national risk assessment A specialised field of applied science that involves reviewing scientific data and studies in order to evaluate risks associated with certain hazards. It involves four steps: hazard identification, hazard characterisation, exposure assessment and risk characterisation. bodies. These figures highlight EFSA’s successful EU-wide collaboration efforts. Another 40% of experts come from universities, underscoring EFSA’s strong connection with the academic community. The remaining 10% comprise retired and self-employed scientists.

EFSA has organised a series of induction activities to bring experts up to speed with the Authority’s work as their new mandates begin in July 2024. These sessions include a three-day inaugural event, during which the panels will elect their chairs and vice-chairs. EFSA’s Scientific Committee will elect its chair and vice-chairs at its first full plenary meeting in September.

The full list of panel members and their declarations of interest can be found here.

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