The Scientific Committee for Life, Environmental and Geo Sciences
The Life, Environmental and Geo Sciences Scientific Committee informs and supports Science Europe in science policy activities. The Committee comprises 15 highly-authoritative European academics representing a wide range of research disciplines. It is chaired by Professor Dirk Inzé who is Scientific Director of the Department of Plant Systems Biology, Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB), Belgium.
The Committee is supported in its work by a dedicated Senior Scientific Officer within the Science Europe Research Affairs Team.
The remit of the Committee includes:
- Providing expert opinions on relevant European policies impacting research in Life, Environmental and Geo Sciences (‘Opinion Papers’);
- Providing independent scientific advice and support for Science Europe’s policy activities, including support for policy statements to the European Institutions and national governments (‘Position Statements’);
- Participating in ‘horizon scanning’ and monitoring new emerging research developments, in order to provide timely advice to Science Europe Member Organisations and policy-makers.
The Committee's Priorities
Some of the Committee’s 2014 and 2015 priorities in terms of policy topics include:
Career Paths in Multidisciplinary Research
Traditional ways of working in silos hamper the ability to provide integrated data and models. The current rapid progress in data acquisition and analysis requires input from various experts in order to generate knowledge whilst combining different fields. In this context, new challenges emerge in advancing careers. Thus, the Committee is addressing an urgent need for the development of ‘credits’ - such as publications records or being a speaker at events – for scientists working in large multidisciplinary teams. Moreover, this field requires impact indicators which can demonstrate the added value of joint efforts, and suitable strategies in publishing and authorship.
Scientific research dedicated to solving global challenges requires collaborative research on an international scale. Therefore, the Committee is analysing opportunities arising from international collaborations and identifying tools that foster the development of multinational and bottom-up collaborative research, by reaching out directly to scientific communities.
Sustainable Management of the Earth’s Resources
Innovation in science and technology can contribute valuable tools and strategies for sustainable management of ecosystems, biodiversity, natural resources, and climate change, whilst facing pressures from the world’s growing population in terms of food security and health. Hence, the Committee is exploring challenges and opportunities in the transition to sustainable development.
Legal Framework on Access to Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge
The main instrument for conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). A supplementary treaty to the CBD, the Nagoya Protocol was approved on behalf of the European Union (EU) in 2014. In addition, the EU adopted Regulation No 511/2014 to implement a legal framework on compliance measures for users from the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits (ABS) Arising from their Utilisation in the Union. In this context, the Committee is analysing challenges and opportunities in implementation of such legal framework. At the same time, the Committee is raising awareness within the scientific community about upcoming framework that will be fully implemented in October 2015.