Edition 223 - November 2019

Scientific advice to European policy in a complex world

Chief Scientific Advisors – Independent Scientific Advice for Policy Making, ISBN 978-92-76-12557-0

A group of scientific advisors has written recommendations first and foremost for scientific advisors for EU’s policy makers, but its recommendations should serve a wider range of advisors who engage in policy making at national and institutional levels.
This opinion should be of interest to those who want to know (more) about:

  • what the architects of the EC scientific advice system (the College) can do concretely to set in motion further improvements of the system
  • how scientific advisors and policy makers can best work to define a clear mandate and questions for scientific advice
  • when and how to include stakeholders and the public in science advice
  • how to achieve clarity about values and interests which may be affecting scientific advice, and how to manage them
  • how to optimise EC rules on conflicts of interest to ensure the impartiality of experts without needlessly losing valuable expertise
  • how to boost the reliability and usefulness of expert consultation by reducing bias and arbitrariness
  • how to ensure that the evidence that is collected and used for policy is of high quality;
  • how to deal with different uncertainties in scientific evidence and advice;
  • how to communicate scientific advice effectively, including uncertainties, gaps and divergent scientific views


Their general recommendations are:

  • Engage early and regularly: Clarify boundaries between science, scientific advice, and politics; Define together the questions to be addressed
  • Ensure the quality of the scientific evidence: Use the full scope of good science; Ensure rigorous evidence synthesis; Ensure rigour in expert consultation; Refine the approach to conflicts of interest; Codify good scientific advice and consider oversight of its implementation
  • Analyse, assess and communicate uncertainties: Use the most suitable uncertainty analysis approaches; Communicate uncertainties and diverging scientific views; Explain the path from evidence to the advice


For more details, please consult the report.

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