External experts sought for new BfR committee appointments
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) set up its BfR committees in order to obtain external expert advice on scientific questions of food and product safety. Applications are now open for the new appointment period which starts in the coming year. For the 14 BfR committees, scientists are recruited specialising, for example, in the areas of biological and food chemistry, human and veterinary medicine, toxicology, pharmacology and statistics. The BfR is also looking for social scientists such as sociologists and psychologists. This is already the fourth time that the BfR is recruiting qualified experts in all areas of science and research, from federal and state authorities, the manufacturing industry, non-government and other organisations. Keen to advise the BfR, these specialists make their expertise available in an honorary capacity. A new addition is the committee "Evidence-based methods in risk assessment". "The goal of the BfR’s committees is to take existing expertise on a specific subject already available in Germany and channel it at the highest possible scientific level. In times of crisis in particular, the BfR can thus draw on the advice of an established network at short notice", explains BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. Online applications are still being accepted until 31 March.
The committees advise the BfR on scientific questions and are asked specifically to adopt a critical approach, to bring the current state of science and technology to bear on the latest assessment work of the BfR and to identify future fields of activity for risk assessment. The BfR committees have a purely advisory function and do not influence the BfR’s risk assessment tasks. The work of these scientific panels of experts increases the scientific quality of the BfR’s opinions thereby providing external quality assurance. The BfR committees typically have two meetings per year. To ensure comprehensive transparency, the minutes of all meetings are made available on the BfR website. Potential conflicts of interest of the members of the committees are stated in writing. In addition, members are prompted to verbally state any conflicts of interest in relation to the discussed topics within the committee at the beginning of each meeting. If a conflict of interest is identified, the committee member in question is excluded from the deliberations on the relevant topics.
The call for applications targets scientists interested in membership in one of the BfR’s committees for the appointment period running from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2021.
The members of the following BfR committees are being replaced:
- Consumer Products
- Assessment of Intoxications
- Biological Hazards and Hygiene
- Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Foods and Allergies
- Evidence-based methods in risk assessment
- Feeds and Animal Nutrition
- Genetically Modified Food and Feed
- Contaminants and Other Undesirable Substances in the Food Chain
- Food additives, Flavourings and Processing Aids
- Pesticides and their Residues
- Pharmacologically Active Substances and Veterinary Medicinal Products
- Risk Research and Risk Perception
- Wine and Fruit Juice Analyses
For the first time in the coming appointment period, the BfR committee “Evidence-based methods in risk assessment” will be set up. The idea is for committee members, using their practical experience, to advise the BfR on the development of scientific standards in the area of evidence-based methods for the assessment of the health risks posed by food and other products intended for consumers. In addition, they will support the advancement of protocols and guidelines through their grassroots knowledge. The objective here is to continuously adapt the methods used to reflect scientific progress. Scientists from the areas of statistics, medicine, veterinary medicine, biology, pharmacology, chemistry and other disciplines with relevant expertise in the field of evidence-based methods.
For scientists, the committees represent a forum for professional exchange and for the development of standards in a field of work that is important for society. The findings of the BfR committees are made available to the public.
In 2008, the BfR first founded its scientific committees for the purpose of advising the institute in the areas of food, feed chemical and product safety.
Further information on the committees, their bylaws and the application procedure can be accessed at
About the BfR
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.
The BfR is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the institute has published a jubilee brochure (in German) which can be downloaded or ordered free of charge at http://www.bfr.bund.de/en/publication/brochures-61045.html.
This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.