A special panel of advisors, the EU’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, has published a new report with recommendations for further improving the way the EU institutions in Brussels gather and use scientific advice. The report calls for strengthening the use of scientific advice in policymaking, making decisions more transparent and on setting up guidelines and a set of best practices in the use of scientific advice. The latter aims to address the issue of a fragmented landscape from which scientific knowledge is gathered. At the moment, the European Commission receives input from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), EU agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) or the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), but also its Directorate-Generals, and the Scientific Advice Mechanism. Further scientific advice is also collected via open consultations and calls for feedback – all of which employ various methodologies. The report also looks at the need for the Commission to carefully deal with conflicts of interest, especially in the use of panels which usually include representatives from industry, academia or NGOs, each of whom may have specific agendas.
Some of the proposed recommendations include engaging early and regularly with stakeholders; clarifying the boundaries between science, scientific advice and politics; defining with stakeholders the questions to be addressed; refining approaches to conflicts of interest; using the most suitable uncertainty analysis approaches; better communicating uncertainties and diverging scientific views, amongst a plethora of other proposals.
You can read the report here.