EASAC newsletter January 2013

News | Latest publications | Programme updates Energy Environment Biosciences


Co-operation with Chief Scientific Adviser

During its meeting in November 2012, EASAC Council approved the proposal for a structured co-operation with Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, for the delivery of science-based advice to EU policy-making. This co-operation will build on the progress provided by the implementation of the Letter of Intent signed between EASAC and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in October 2011. The aim of this new initiative is to broaden and reinforce the links between the National Science Academies of the EU Member States and the European Union's policy-making process.

High-level meeting with the European Commission

On 16 October 2012, the presidents of EASAC's member academies were invited by the European Commission to a high-level event to discuss the topic of independent scientific advice for EU policies. The event was opened by Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, hosted by the Directors General of RTD and JRC, Robert-Jan Smits and Dominique Ristori, and chaired by the Chief Scientific Advisor Anne Glover. EASAC presented some of its recent work on a pan-European electricity grid, on direct-to-consumer genetic testing and on adaptation to extreme weather.

EASAC-NASAC Science-Policy-Dialogue workshop

In the project "Science-Policy-Dialogue", the EASAC academies are exchanging experiences and know-how on how to offer independent scientific knowledge and expertise to policy-makers when decisions need to be taken where science plays an important role. In a workshop at the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in September 2012 the members of the Network of African Science Academies NASAC joined this project. EASAC has drafted a Good Practice Guide, for its member academies on the process of providing science-based policy advice, which can be downloaded here.

Latest publications

The current status of biofuels in the European Union, their environmental impacts and future prospects

In a new report on Sustainable Biofuels in Europe, EASAC recommends that the EU target for biofuels should be revisited with the aim of finding a more sustainable target level for 2020, if not abandoned entirely. It is also proposed that the role of biogas in the renewable energy mix should be investigated and that the Renewable Energy Directive should be amended to incorporate provisions for biogas. A launch event will take place in Brussels at Edelman|The Centre on 7 March 2013 at 18:00 to give policy-makers and others an opportunity to ask their questions and discuss in depth the issues addressed by the EASAC report.

EASAC statement on the need for more emphasis on systems approaches to inform EU policy-making on energy

A short statement on the need for more emphasis on systems approaches to inform EU policy-making on energy has been developed on behalf of EASAC by its Energy Steering Panel. The EU does not place enough emphasis on systems approaches in developing its policies and strategies, rather tending to focus on the development of individual technologies. Consequently, EU policies relating to energy can lack coherence. Similarly, EU energy R&D is still too focused on the development of individual technologies: this will not be sufficient to achieve EU energy targets.

Programme updates

Energy Programme

EASAC-JRC joint workshop on nuclear fuel cycle

EASAC will organise a workshop together with the JRC and the UK's Royal Society on Nuclear Fuel Cycle, at the Palace of the Belgian Academies in Brussels on 18-19 February 2013. Based on the discussion at the workshop, a statement will be generated to advise EU policy-makers on the issues associated with implementing the Radioactive Waste Directive.

Carbon capture and storage

The Energy Programme is working on a report about carbon capture and storage (CCS) and whether the targets set by the EU are suited to the technology available. This report will consider how advanced technologies can improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of CCS, evaluate the levels of confidence that can realistically be achieved and it will examine how they can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of regulators and the public. The launch of the report is anticipated in May 2013.

Environment Programme

Addressing the challenges of climate Change: an aide memoire for policy-makers

EASAC reissued this statement, to remind world leaders that the issue of climate change remains urgent and that action is needed now on the measures that will ensure global warming remains within the 2°C limit.

Biosciences Programme

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing for health-related purposes in the EU

The EASAC/FEAM report "Direct-to-consumer genetic testing for health-related purposes in the EU" was discussed in an event co-organized between STOA and EASAC on the 3rd of December 2012 at the European Parliament, chaired by António Fernando Correia De Campos - MEP and Chairman of STOA Committee.
This report has also resonated in the scientific press. Thus the Lancet ran an editorial about EASAC's recommendations in July 2012 and the European Journal of Human Genetics published, on behalf of the working group of EASAC and FEAM, an article about the "Direct-to-consumer genetic testing" report in November 2012.

Emerging plant diseases

In response to the proposal of the European Commission for a review of the EU Plant Health Regime, expected in early 2013, EASAC will publish a short statement on how the EU can address emerging plant diseases.

Planting the future

The upcoming EASAC report "Planting the future" will discuss the impact of EU decisions on Africa, will compare countries (particularly emerging economies) that have actively adopted GM and will assess what contributions GM-crops could realistically make to tackling European societal needs. A workshop on agricultural biotechnology organised by EASAC and the Network of African Science Academies NASAC with support from ATPS (African Technology Policy Studies) took place in Addis Ababa on 20 November to provide discussion points to feed into the drafting of the report. The project will be completed in mid-2013.


EASAC - the European Academies Science Advisory Council - is formed by the national science academies of the EU Member States to enable them to collaborate with each other in providing advice to European policy-makers.Find Out More

Connect With Us

on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter to get the most up to date news and information about what we're working on.

The Latest Report

The current status of biofuels in the European Union, their environmental impacts and future prospects is now available online Read More
Copyright © 2013 EASAC, All rights reserved.  unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences