About the Advisory Forum and Scientific Cooperation Unit

About us

Cooperation between Member States and EFSA is crucial to ensure that Europe’s food is safe. Therefore, Member States and EFSA work together to pool resources, to avoid duplication of work, and to inform each other on activities in the area of risk assessment. An enhanced cooperation in the area of risk assessment supports risk managers in the institutions of the European Union and its Member States in taking coordinated, effective and timely decisions in the field of food and feed safety.

The objective of the Advisory Forum and Scientific Cooperation Unit is to foster the cooperation and information exchange on scientific matters between EFSA and

  • EU Member States, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland;
  • EU candidate countries and potential candidate countries;
  • Countries that are a part of the EU initiative towards its neighbourhood (European Neighbourhood Policy).

The unit contributes to achieving the objectives of fostering scientific cooperation through the following activities:

  • Advisory Forum
    Providing support to the Advisory Forum, which connects EFSA with EU Member States, Iceland, Norway as well as Switzerland. Through it, EFSA and the Member States can join forces in addressing European risk assessment and risk communications issues.
  • Focal Points
    Facilitating and supporting cooperation with Focal Points. Focal Points support the Advisory Forum Members and act as an interface between EFSA and the different national food safety authorities, research institutes, consumers and other EFSA-related stakeholders.
  • EU enlargement
    Developing and maintaining working relations with the EU candidate and potential candidate countries including coordination of the pre-accession programme and its events.
  • European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)
    Developing and maintaining working relations with the 16 ENP countries based on the EU initiative toward its neighbourhood.
  • Article 36 cooperation
    Coordinating EFSA’s work programme on grants and procurement and functioning as the contact point for organisations designated by Member States to support EFSA in its tasks.
  • Database of scientific experts
    Developing and maintaining a database of scientific experts from all over the world to support EFSA and Member States in risk assessment activities.
  • Scientific Colloquia
    Coordinating the organisation of scientific colloquia on topics of interest to Member States and pre-accession countries, also including international experts.

In addition, the Advisory Forum and Scientific Cooperation Unit supports EFSA’s overall aim to increase the visibility and awareness of EFSA’s scientific work in the scientific community; in this regard, it also provides the secretariat to the Editorial Board of the EFSA Journal.

The unit also develops and manages the Information Exchange Platform (IEP) which facilitates the information exchange on risk assessment activities between and amongst the EU Members States and EFSA. The site is located on EFSA’s extranet with password controlled access.

Furthermore, the unit has coordinated the development of specifications and learning objectives for training courses on food safety risk assessment in the different areas of EFSA’s remit.

How we work

The Advisory Forum and Scientific Cooperation Unit works closely with national food safety authorities, e.g. through EFSA’s Advisory Forum and national Focal Points. The Unit organises regular meetings of the Advisory Forum and Focal Points as well as seminars and meetings with EU candidate countries. The Unit also supports the Focal Points in their daily work and Unit members regularly participate in national Focal Point events. Cooperation with other units in EFSA is crucial for the work of the Advisory Forum and Scientific Cooperation Unit. 

EFSA’s cooperation with Member States is further described in the following documents: