Science Europe

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.

International Collaboration

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.


(29 May 2015) Science Europe congratulates the European Research and Innovation Area Committee (ERAC) for today’s endorsement of the ‘European Research Area Roadmap 2015-2020’ by the Competitiveness Council. read more

(19 May 2015) Science Europe welcomes the recent announcement by the European Commission of its intention to put in place a Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) to ensure provision of independent scientific advice. read more 

(27 April 2015) At its General Assembly meeting in Vienna on 15 April, Science Europe’s members - comprising 50 major public research organisations in Europe - adopted four new common principles on Open Access Publisher Services. read more.

(22 April 2015) Science Europe welcomes the decision by the European Parliament’s Committees on Industry, Energy and Research (ITRE), Budget (BUDG) and Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) to protect the Horizon 2020 budget from a proposal to reallocate part of its funds for the EFSI plan. read more

(19 March 2015) Today Science Europe is expressing its support for the growing number of calls from the scientific community – including its own Member Organisations – to preserve Horizon 2020, and in particular European Research Council (ERC), budgets. read more

(4 March 2015) Science Europe's Scientific Committees for Medical Sciences and Life, Environmental and Geo Sciences have signed a joint statement supporting the European Directive 2010/63/EU (“Directive”) on the protection of animals used for scientific more

(24 February 2015) A newly-released Opinion Paper by Science Europe’s Scientific Committee for Engineering and Technical Sciences is a novel contribution to the debate on innovation. The Opinion Paper, written as a manifesto for research-based innovation, calls for the research system and the innovation system to more

(23 January 2015) Today CESAER, EARTO, EUA, LERU and Science Europe, members of the European Research Area Stakeholders Platform, are expressing their great concern regarding the European Commission’s proposed regulation for the new European Fund for Strategic Investments read more

(15 December 2014) Science Europe’s Scientific Committee on Life, Environmental and Geo Sciences has published a new Opinion Paper, entitled, ‘The Importance of International Collaboration for Fostering Frontier Research’. read more

(11 December 2014) Science Europe calls on the institutions and Member States of the European Union to safeguard Horizon 2020, the EU’s programme for research and innovation. read more

(8 December 2014) The SE Medical Sciences Committee has collaborated with Cancer Research UK, the European Public Health Alliance, the European Patients' Forum, the Federation of European Academies of Medicine, the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation to create a European Data in Health Research Alliance. See the website here.

(7 November 2014) Just published: Position Statement on Priority One of the 2012 ERA Communication: 'More Effective National Research Systems' - See also the Press Release: '‘The Diversity and Richness of the Different European Research Systems are a Strength’, says Science Europe


(24 February 2015) New Opinion Paper of the Engineering Sciences Committee on Empowering Researchers to Provide Societal Value: Towards Innovation Communities that Leverage Excellence-focused Research.

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