What Role for a Chief Scientist in the European Union System of Scientific Advice?

European Journal of Risk Regulation, 3/2014

17 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2014

Date Written: October 28, 2014


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 European Union is currently considering – under the pressure of civil society organisations – whether to maintain or scrap this recently-created position. After contextualizing this debate within the broader efforts undertaken by the Barroso Commission to strengthen science in EU policymaking, this article discusses what role, if any, a chief scientist may play within the EU system of scientific advice. After denouncing the lack of a public debate about the merits of this post at the time of its creation, the article takes as a point of departure the criticisms made against this position and assesses them in the light of the mandate entrusted to the first EU Chief Scientist Advisor (CSA). It argues that the major point of disagreement on this post revolves around the question of whether the CSA, as it currently stands, helps or hinders the EU incorporating the best science into policy. After identifying the flaws of the actual mandate and the challenges faced by the first holder of the position, it argues that the burden of proof rests with the EU Commission to prove the merits, and more specifically, the rationale for having yet another source of scientific advice in the EU.

Note: This article opens the Special Issue of the European Journal of Risk Regulation devoted to the European Commission Chief Scientist Advisor.

Keywords: Scientific Advice, Regulatory Policy, European Union, Precautionary Principle, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

JEL Classification: K23, K32, K40, I18

Suggested Citation

Alemanno, Alberto, What Role for a Chief Scientist in the European Union System of Scientific Advice? (October 28, 2014). European Journal of Risk Regulation, 3/2014 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2515738

Alberto Alemanno (Contact Author)

HEC Paris ( email )

1 Rue de la libération

HOME PAGE: http://www.albertoalemanno.eu

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