Publication of statement on homeopathy

Yesterday, EASAC published a statement on homeopathy. Although homeopathic products are popular in some European countries, scientists question whether they are helpful or harmful. In this new statement, EASAC says that there is no robust, reproducible evidence that homeopathic products are effective for any known diseases, even if there is sometimes a placebo effect. Moreover, homeopathy can actually be harmful: by delaying or deterring a patient from seeking appropriate, evidence-based, medical attention and by undermining patient and public confidence in scientific evidence. There are significant implications for public policy, public health, and the regulation of homeopathic products in the European Union. A commentary on the EASAC statement will be published in October in the highly respected Journal of Internal Medicine.
Upcoming workshop on biosecurity in Hannover

Science academies will hold an international workshop "Assessing the Security Implications of Genome Editing Technology" from 11-13 October 2017, at Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover (Germany). Together with the global network of academies InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), and the German National Academy of Sciences “Leopoldina”, EASAC will convene outstanding experts in genetic engineering, security studies, and public policy. The workshop will address the latest developments in genome editing and analyse them in re­lation to their current and future use in organisms such as microbes, plants, ani­mals, and humans. Focus will be placed on the risks and potential misuse of genome editing methods.

“We are delighted to have put together a line-up of high-profile experts,” says former Leopoldina President Volker ter Meulen, “including No­bel laureate and President of the Royal So­ciety Venki Ramakrishnan.” A report summarising the workshop discussions will be published subsequently. Support for the event has been provided by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

New EASAC Vice-Presidents

EASAC has elected two new Vice-Presidents – bringing the total number to four – which will serve the organisation in this role over the period January 2018 to December 2020.
I’m very happy to be on the EASAC core team and I’m looking forward to supporting the work of EASAC and contributing to the dissemination of its reports and statements.“
Richard Catlow, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society (UK)
Professor of Chemistry at Unversity College London and Cardiff University
For me, being a VP of EASAC is a scientist’s contribution to the common European project. It is in all our interest that EU policies are built on the best possible scientific analysis of the challenges we have to deal with.“
Catherine Cesarsky, Foreign Secretary of the Académie des sciences (France)
Astrophysicist, High Level Science Advisor, CEA, France
New Chair of EASAC Energy Steering Panel  
Prof. Wim van Saarloos, President-elect of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), will take over as Chair of the EASAC Energy Steering Panel from Prof. Peter Lund (Finnish Academy of Science and Letters) in October 2017. Wim is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at Leiden University and the KNAW’s representative in EASAC Council.
Latest Publications

Genome Editing

A report by EASAC on genome editing gives advice to European policy-makers in relation to recent groundbreaking research in the biosciences. It addresses several areas in which genome editing takes place, including plants, animals, micro-organisms, and human cells and also gene drive applications for vector control. Furthermore, EASAC addresses cross-cutting issues, including engagement with the public. EASAC recommends that regulators should focus on specific applications of these new techniques rather than attempting to regulate genome editing itself as a new technology. Based on the report, EASAC published a „point of view“ article in ELife.

European Forests

EASAC’s major study on “Sustainability and Multi-functionality of Forests in the EU” focuses on the challenge of developing coherent policies for European forests, especially in view of the role of biomass for the mitigation of climate change. European forests serve many functions that cut across different sectors: wealth creation and employment; natural resources and raw materials; nature conservation and biodiversity; mitigation of and adaptation to climate change; energy and agriculture. Thus, the sustainable and systemic management of forests is a significant challenge to EU policy-makers, not least because the task is effectively shared by ten different Directorates General. Based on the significant increase in scientific knowledge over the last decade, EASAC considers how the multiple functions of forests can be managed sustainably and deliver optimal social, environmental, and economic benefits. An opinion piece was published in Euractiv.

Electricity Storage

The EASAC report “Valuing Dedicated Storage in Electricity Grids” is looking at dedicated ‘electricity in – electricity out’ storage, which is making a come-back because it can contribute to the flexibility needed by system operators to manage the increasing penetration of variable renewable electricity generation on the grid. At the same time, the interest of householders in small-scale storage for self-consumption has already led to more than 40,000 small household PV plus battery systems being installed in Europe since 2013. In electricity grids, dedicated storage can contribute to balancing, reserves, capacity, and generation adequacy as well as congestion management, but its value is system dependent, and it must compete with flexible generation, demand response, interconnections, and curtailment. The EASAC report is intended for policy-makers, investors, and others engaged on the future of EU electricity supplies, notably the on-going discussions on new electricity market designs, revised Directives and investment support proposed in the ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package of November 2016.
Programme Updates


Excellent progress has been made by EASAC on a report “Food and nutrition security and agriculture in Europe”, which we plan to publish before the end of 2017. It is the European contribution to a global project by the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), the global network of over 130 national academies of science, medicine, and engineering. In parallel with the three other regional networks of IAP – one for Africa (NASAC), one for Asia (AASSA), and one for the Americas (IANAS) – EASAC has prepared an analysis and recommendations on the current state of food and nutrition security in Europe. The working group, which was co-chaired by Professors Joachim von Braun and Volker ter Meulen, aims for EASAC’s conclusions to be used for relevant activities at a European level, for example for the European Commission’s FOOD 2030 strategy.

EASAC has a significant tradition of interest in climate change issues across its Programmes, and the Biosciences Programme published a statement on “Climate change and infectious diseases” in 2010. Following discussion within EASAC in 2016, a project has been initiated to examine the range of issues for climate change and human health in Europe. It is intended both to assess how to resolve current uncertainties in the evidence base and how to implement knowledge in a supportive EU health policy framework that also ensures integration of strategy across all relevant sectors. We expect to complete the project during 2018. We recognise that there are various other groups active in this area, and it will be an important task for the EASAC project to ensure that from the beginning that appropriate linkages and awareness enable us to add value to what has already been achieved elsewhere. We welcome submissions of written evidence.


The transport sector is currently changing very quickly, with a growing emphasis on battery electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles as well as on connected transport, autonomous vehicles, and different business models for mobility as a service. There are also continuous efforts to reduce carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions by using alternative fuels and technologies with internal combustion engines. A new EASAC project started in spring 2017 to study the future policy implications of EU commitments to decarbonisation in relation to the transport sector. The EASAC working group – consisting of experts nominated by the EU’s National Science Academies – held its first meeting in early July 2017 in Brussels.


EASAC has continued work on a statement about negative emission technologies (NET), which aim at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a huge scale and which are viewed as essential in future scenarios that would allow warming by 2100 to be limited to 2°C. An expert group on these NETs has been assembled by EASAC and held a meeting in August 2017 in London (UK). The EASAC statement on NETs will be published around the end of 2017.


EASAC - the European Academies' Science Advisory Council - is formed by the national science academies of the EU Member States, Norway, and Switzerland to enable them to collaborate with each other in providing advice to European policy-makers. FIND OUT MORE


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