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14 Nov 2014

Future of EC's Chief Scientific Adviser is unclear

On 13 November 2014, Prof. Anne Glover, so far Chief Scientific Adviser to the European Commission, confirmed that her position "has ceased to exist". It is as yet unclear whether the new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will re-establish this position.

With the expiry of the term of office of former President Barroso's Commission on 31 October 2014, the mandate of the Chief Scientific Adviser ended automatically and was not renewed by the new Commission.

In an e-mail to the president of the UK's Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse, published by The Guardian, Prof. Glover said that “The European Commission confirmed to me yesterday (12 November) that all decisions on the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA) were repealed and so the function of Chief Scientific Adviser has ceased to exist. ... It is not up to me to comment on this decision, but I would like to express that I am proud of what this office has achieved in less than three years with very few resources,”

According to a Commission spokesperson, Prof. Glover will provide transitional advice until the end of January 2015.

Former Commission President Barroso established the role of scientific adviser in 2012, to provide independent scientific advice on various issues, usually relating to EU policy proposals. The question of whether the new Commission President should maintain this post, either with Prof. Glover or a different scientist, has been the subject of controversial discussions in Brussels over the past year. Those in favour claimed that this was a good way to ensure sound scientific advice for policy proposals, while those against saw the Chief Scientific Advisor as having too much influence concentrated in one person and as undermining the work of the Commission directorates when drawing up policies.

Source: EurActiv

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