Expert database

EFSA, in cooperation with Members States, has decided to set up a database of external scientific experts able to assist its Scientific Committee, Scientific Panels, EFSA networks and respective working groups.

Scientists with relevant expertise are invited to apply. EFSA welcomes applications from experts in all fields of its remit, such as food and feed safety, nutrition, toxicology, chemistry, animal health and welfare, plant protection and plant health. 

All candidates who submit a complete application and meet the validity and eligibility criteria will be included in the database. EFSA will inform each applicant whether or not they have been included and, if not, the criteria that were not met.

Why does EFSA need an expert database?

EFSA aims to deliver timely scientific advice of the highest standards to support the policies and decisions of Europe’s risk managers (European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States). This can only be achieved through effective pooling of scientific excellence across Europe. To this end, EFSA, in cooperation with Members States, has decided to set up a database of external scientific experts in order to develop a more effective and flexible response to its growing workload. In addition, one of the main objectives of setting up this database is to enhance the transparency of the process through which experts are selected and invited to participate in EFSA’s scientific activities.

Will I become a member of EFSA’s Scientific Committee or Panels?

No. The selection of EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Panel members is carried out every 3 years and is subject to a different selection procedure. Detailed internal rules on the procedure to select members for the Scientific Committee and Panels are established in a Decision of EFSA’s Executive Director on the selection of experts . You may be invited to provide support to Scientific Committee and Panel members once included in the expert database.

Will my application be accepted?

The process for inclusion of experts in EFSA’s expert database is based on the submission and validation of a set of mandatory data, consisting of personal and institutional information, and data describing the expertise of applicants. During the validation step, EFSA verifies if applicant experts satisfy the eligibility criteria needed for inclusion in the database: (1) a university degree, or equivalent, in one or more areas of expertise within the remit of EFSA; (2) relevant professional experience i.e. in risk assessment, data collection on biological or chemical hazards, as appropriate; (3) scientific articles published in peer reviewed journals, technical reports and/or other publications relevant to the expertise declared; (4) ability to communicate and work in at least one Community language; and (5) a completed Annual Declaration of Interests . All applicant experts will be informed of the outcome of the validation and eligibility steps.

How are experts selected by EFSA?

Each time EFSA needs the support of an external expert for a specific scientific task, a list of potential experts is drawn up from the expert database. The potential candidates who closely match the sought profile are then contacted concerning their availability and interest in participating in the identified task. Those that express their availability are then asked to update their Annual Declaration of Interest (ADoI), unless a current one, completed less then one year ago, is already available. This ADoI is reviewed by EFSA staff and only candidates without a conflict of interest are retained for further evaluation. Additional evaluation and final selection criteria are finally assessed by EFSA, leading to the identification of the most suitable candidate(s).    

What is the nature of the work involved?

Experts included in the database may be invited for one of two types of assignments: (1) EFSA assignments, where the nature of the tasks may be the provision of scientific advice to EFSA’s Scientific Committee, Scientific Panels, EFSA’s networks (Advisory Forum, Focal Points, Zoonoses Task Force, amongst others) and related working groups; and (2) assignments on Member States’ own scientific projects (when experts give their consent for their profile information to be shared with Member State National Food Safety Agencies).

Will I be compensated for my work?

In accordance with existing EFSA rules, those experts selected from the database will be invited for a certain scientific activity. When participating in the work, they will receive travel and subsistence expenses and an indemnity for their contribution to EFSA’s work. 

How much time will I need to dedicate to these activities?

External scientific experts with the required expertise could be invited (a) on an ad-hoc basis, to attend a single meeting or for the duration of the work on a specific mandate or project; or (b) on a longer term, when the required expertise is needed for more than one mandate or project.

Who will use the database and will my data be protected?

The main end-users of EFSA’s database are the Scientific Committee, Scientific Panels, EFSA’s networks, their respective working groups and EFSA scientific staff. The expert database will also be used by Member States (via Members of the Advisory Forum). This will allow Member States to approach selected experts for their own scientific projects. However, experts included in the database have the possibility to choose whether or not to share their individual profiles with Member States. Those experts who do not wish to share their data with Members States will be able to opt to restrict access to their data to EFSA only. All personal information on applicant experts and experts included into the database will be processed by EFSA pursuant to Regulation (EC) N° 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000, on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.