EFSA conference closes: ‘Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate’

“The main message for me was ‘collaborate, collaborate, collaborate’, because it is not enough to have good science,” said Bernhard Url, EFSA’s Executive Director, following the agency’s conference, Science, Food, Society.

He added that the conference had exceeded his expectations and he was “still overwhelmed by the breadth and diversity of the views” he had heard.

Dr Url was speaking at the end of the four-day event in Parma, Italy, which was attended by more than 1,100 delegates from around the world and followed by another 800 via live video link.

Discussions roamed across a range of issues, from new horizons in risk assessment science to engaging and communicating with society and developing expertise for the future.

Earlier, he had told the audience: “We must continue to defend and improve the quality and value of our science in the face of disruptive events and instability.”

He compared the conference to a four-day scientific cruise that had called at a string of fascinating new islands. It would take time to absorb all the lessons learned on the journey but it had been an invigorating, stimulating experience.

Dr Url added that the conference had yielded plenty of ideas and insights that would help EFSA to address the challenges and uncertainties ahead.

“There is a lot of fragmented knowledge out there,” he told delegates. “But the past four days have been a good example of co-creation; we generated lots of ideas and collaborative thinking.”

A full report of the conference outcomes will be published in due course. Video recordings of the various sessions will be available to view on the EFSA website in the coming weeks.

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