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In spite of various announcements stating the intention to nominate a new EU Chief Scientific Adviser, 2015 has started with none. In fact, following the resignation of Anne Glover on 1 November 2014, in concurrence with President Juncker taking up office, the position has remained unfilled. There are some uncertainties whether the position will be retained or not, after contrasting statements of the new European Commission - some of which announcing that the role will cease to exist, while some others assuring that the post would remain.
The role of EU Chief Scientific Adviser was created by the former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in December 2011, in response to repeated calls to strengthen scientific advice and evidence-based policy in Europe. In particular, the role was conceived with the aim to provide independent expert advice on any aspect of science, technology and innovation.
However - over its less than three years of duration - the post of Chief Scientific Adviser has already raised a number of criticisms. For instance it has been claimed that such a role concentrates too much influence in one person and it undermines the decisional powers of other related Directorates-General of the European Commission. Furthermore, a certain controversy was created by some declarations of prof. Glover, saying that European institutions are often keen to subordinate the evidence-gathering processes to the “political imperative” driving policy proposals. It remains therefore open the debate whether the new European Commission is still willing to accept the advice of an independent expert or not.