Exit of EU science adviser triggers furor

New European Commission says it hasn’t decided how it will organize its scientific advice

At a time of increasing recognition worldwide of the role of chief science advisers as of critical importance in improving dialogue between science and policy, the newly elected President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, decided – under the pressure of civil society organisations – to scrap this recently-created position.

This decision has been interpreted by the majority of the commentators as a blow to the EU’s commitment to evidence-based policymaking. This is obviously an overreaction that fails to do justice to the complex and multi-layered EU system of scientific advice. It illustrates – once more – that the creation of this role seems to have created more problems than those that it has solves. Moreover, it remains to be seen what kind of scientic advise the new President intends to set up in replacement.

If you are interested in a deeper analysis on the role that the Chief Scientist Adviser might play in the EU, you may want to read my most recent article here.

Some of these ideas have been taken up by BBC News and Science last week.