EFSA aims to deliver the best science at the right time and in the most appropriate manner. This can only be achieved through effective pooling of the wide scientific excellence available in Europe. As a result scientific cooperation is critical to appropriate allocation of resources against priorities; better co-ordination of work programmes, thereby avoiding duplication of activities; early identification and analysis of emerging risks; and finally, increased coherence in scientific risk assessment and communications. The importance of scientific cooperation is also formally described in Article 36 of EFSA’s Founding Regulation.
At EFSA the formalized mechanism for this type of work is through the EFSA Advisory Forum. In 2006 Advisory Forum members signed a ‘Declaration of Intent’ and approved a formal strategy document to strengthen scientific cooperation and information exchange on risk assessment and risk communications in Europe. Projects related to this declaration and strategy are now being developed. In 2007 a Steering Group on Cooperation was established as the interface between the Advisory Forum and EFSA’s Scientific Committee to help steer the implementation of this strategy into tangible projects.
Strong cooperation between Member States and EFSA is also fundamental to the overall success and effectiveness of the European food safety system, and ultimately to increased consumer protection and confidence. EFSA meets with member states to discuss strengthening scientific co-operation in risk assessment of specific food safety issues.
In line with Article 36 of EFSA’s founding regulation, EFSA’s Management Board approved a list of both private and public organizations based on proposals from Member States able to assist EFSA in some of its tasks including data collection, preparatory work for scientific opinion and technical support in other areas such as emerging issues. These organizations are able to formally apply for calls for proposals issued by EFSA.