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European Commission - Press release

President Juncker welcomes world-leading scientists, discusses role of science in competitiveness and announces new mechanism for scientific advice

Brussels, 13 May 2015

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today hosts a working lunch for a group of eminent, internationally awarded scientists: Sir Paul Nurse, Jules Hoffmann, Serge Haroche, László Lovász, Jean Tirole and Edvard Ingjald Moser. They will be joined by Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness; and Commissioner Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation.

The exchange of views will focus on how to ensure Europe remains a centre of excellence for science, foster innovative ideas that are brought to market, and ensure that EU policy benefits from the best scientific advice.

 President Juncker said: "The thirst for discovery is what has helped move society from the Stone Ages. The world has changed, but for our society to continue advancing and our economy to grow, we need the highest ambition in pursuing knowledge, breakthroughs, innovations. For that to happen, a formidable brain alone doesn't always suffice. We need additional sources of finance and investment for research and innovation. The Investment Plan for Europe will play a fundamental role in achieving that. Investing in research is a priority for Europe. We are currently in the last miles of negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council to get the European Fund for Strategic Investments up and running. I am actively working with the co-legislators to make sure that the potential short-term impact on fundamental research - which I know has been a concern in the research community - is minimised."

The meeting will also be an opportunity to discuss how to best institutionalise independent scientific advice in the European Commission. After the mandate of the Chief Scientific Advisor came to an end with the conclusion of the previous Commission, President Juncker asked Commissioner Moedas to reflect on possible ways to ensure that the Commission draws on the best scientific advice, complementing existing in-house services and external expertise. While international experience shows that there is no single model for providing such advice, the overall objective is to ensure that scientific advice:

  • is independent of institutional or political interests;
  • brings together evidence and insights from different disciplines and approaches;
  • is transparent.

To meet these objectives, the President this morning endorsed Commissioner Moedas' recommendation to set up a mechanism for high quality, timely, independent scientific advice. The future mechanism will draw on the wide range of scientific expertise in Europe through a close relationship with national academies and other bodies, coordinated by a High-Level Group of Independent Scientists. Commissioner Moedas has now been tasked to implement this new arrangement over the coming months, involving other Commissioners and making the most of effective cooperation between Commission services. (For details, see attachment at the bottom of the page.)

Commissioner Moedas said: "In combination with the forthcoming proposals on better regulation, the new model for independent scientific advice will contribute to the Commission's continued pursuit of the best possible evidence-based policy. This will be a significant step forward for an effective European Commission that delivers for citizens, and addresses the major societal challenges which Europe faces."


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