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Background and objectives

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 transparency 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.

Objectives of the seminar

On this background, the seminar was held in order to facilitate:

·         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