European Commission flags

European Commission flags via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Last month, the European Commission announced long awaited news on its vision for Europe’s science advisory system, the Science Advisory Mechanism (SAM). SAM is the result of the review undertaken by Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas, at the request of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The SAM will seek to deal with both the supply and demand of independent science advice, and to make the most of the existing infrastructure for science advice in the Commission, such as the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Commission’s in-house science service.

SAM will introduce two other elements, outlined by the Commission in this presentation and schematic (PDF):

  • ‘A structured relationship with scientific advisory bodies in Member States (e.g. national academies) – to benefit from the wealth of knowledge and expertise’
  • ‘Establishing a High Level Group of eminent scientists -to improve the interaction with scientific community, and ensure independence, scientific integrity, transparency’

In a press release, Commissioner Moedas said:

‘In combination with the forthcoming proposals on better regulation, the new model for independent scientific advice will contribute to the Commission’s continued pursuit of the best possible evidence-based policy. This will be a significant step forward for an effective European Commission that delivers for citizens, and addresses the major societal challenges which Europe faces.’

Commissioner Moedas, who spoke at the Royal Society in March, will be a link between these elements, and there will be operational support for a high level group based within DG Research.

We at the Royal Society will be monitoring closely how this develops over the next few months, to understand how the Commission ensures that independent and robust science advice is at the heart of its policy making.

  • Macrocompassion

    Regarding this new science advisory (research) mechanism, does it mean that anybody who is able to supply a well-organized and properly expressed scientific concept of an original nature will be able to participate? Or will it be as today that an unknown writer who has a bright idea won’t be able to get a foot in the door? Remember: “the next to lighten all men may be you” is the end of that poem about “No Highway” when one with a mission has too many refusals and wants to give up. So give us a chance!