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16-17 March 2021

Trans-European online seminar

Science-based policy advice in agriculture, food, climate and environment

European governments are facing critical decisions on agriculture, food, climate and environment. Science-based policy advice is in high demand, but varies across Europe. The aim of the first trans-European seminar in this area is to facilitate the exchange of experiences, challenges and best practices as to provide science-based policy advice.

Governments in Europe has adopted ambitious goals on reducing greenhouse gasses and environmental pressure from agriculture and food production and on improving healthy diets. At the same time, an efficient and competitive agricultural sector is essential for rural economy and future food supply.

Decisions are complicated and sometimes conflicting. Agriculture, food, climate and environment are debated issues on both political and public agendas in Europe. In this situation, science-based policy advice is in high demand, but often also subject of heated debates.

Diversity in the organization of science-based policy advice

The term “Science-based policy advice” covers a variety of arrangements with the objective of providing political decision makers and their public servants with updated, verifiable and evidence based information and advice on issues relevant for regulation and policy making.

The organization, funding and responsibility for providing science-based policy advice differs between countries and across subject areas/sectors. In some countries, the organization and long term funding of institutions responsible for providing scientific evidence in specific policy relevant areas is under pressure.

Regardless of the type of organisation, science policy advice should be based on a number of principles to ensure quality and trustworthiness. Thus, the principles of Independence of science from the actual decision makers and transperancy as regards the advice given and its scientific basis are key to the credibility. Other principles regards the scientific rigour and clear distinction between evidence and normative claims as well as consistency and timing of the advice given. While the weight given to different principles may vary with different settings, they are necessary preconditions for discussing the operational aspects of science police advice and when exchanging experiences and developing best practices.

Forum for exchange of experiences, challenges and best practices

There is a need for a forum for the providers of science-based policy advice in the area of agriculture, food, climate and environment. The forum should facilitate exchange of information, experiences and challenges and provide inspiration for the future development of best practices with the aim of strengthening evidence-based policy formulation across Europe. On this background, Aarhus University and the European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF) invites to the first trans-European seminar in this field as a webinar on 16 – 17 March 2021.

Expected outcomes

  • Exchange of information of national practices: good experiences, mutual learning in areas of organization, good processes vis-à-vis basic principles including practices for quality assurance, consistency of advice over time, recruitment and training
  • Building stronger networks among peers and organizations across Europe
  • Ideas for continued collaboration between interested institutions

Expected participants

Representatives of organizations - as well as scientists in their own capacity - involved in providing science based policy advice within these thematic areas from across Europe. Furthermore, representatives from the European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF) and the EC Science Advice Mechanism (SAM) will attend.


The workshop is a joint initiative of the Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture (DCA) and Danish Centre for Environment and Energy (DCE) at Aarhus University together with the European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF).

The DCA/DCE are responsible for coordinating the science-based policy advice under a contract with the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, thus providing approximately 350 specific items of advice annually.

ESAF is committed to sharing relevant information, enhancing the exchange of best practices and building sustainable capacity and capability across a range of different national science advisory organizations and systems in Europe, and this workshop will be the first event focusing on a specific thematic area.


The seminar will take place at an on-line. A web link will be send to registered participants shortly before the seminar. Participation without registration is not possible.  


If you wish to join the seminar, please register here  

Registration is free and without any obligations.