SAPEA Call for nomination of experts: 'Strategic crisis management in the EU'#

Dear Members of Academia Europaea#

As part of the SAPEA consortium, the Academia Europaea Cardiff Knowledge Hub are pleased to issue a call for the nomination of experts to take part in a SAPEA Working Group on ‘Strategic crisis management in the EU: Improving EU crisis prevention, preparedness, response and resilience’.

What will the Working Group do? #

The SAPEA Working Group will draft an Evidence Review Report on strategic crisis management in the EU. This Report will then inform a Scientific Opinion of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors. The main question to be addressed is: Based on a broad and multidisciplinary understanding, how can the EU improve its strategic crisis management?

Why this topic?#

In the aftermath of COVID-19, the EU and European societies must prepare for a range of other natural or human-made shocks. These could include major health threats or future crises caused by a changing climate. Improving the EU’s strategic crisis management, which is defined broadly to cover prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and resilience, has become essential for protecting and enhancing the present and future wellbeing and prosperity of EU citizens.

Who can be nominated?#

SAPEA will set up an international and interdisciplinary Working Group of experts. All nominees should have expertise in the broad area of crisis management, prevention, preparedness, response, and resilience. This expertise may be within a specific knowledge area e.g. crisis management in health.

How to make a nomination#

Please read the Call for Nominations document, which includes important information about the areas of expertise required, criteria for selection, and expected workload and timelines for the Group.

Nomination of experts for the Working Group should be accompanied by a detailed curriculum vitae, together with a short statement on how the nominee’s experience meets the areas of expertise identified in the Call for Nominations document.

Please send nominations or any queries you may have to before the deadline of 27 August 2021.

Biodegrability in Plastic#

The SAPEA Evidence Review Report presents the latest scientific evidence on the biodegradability of plastics in the open environment.#

Academia Europaea Cardiff Knowledge Hub oversees completion of Evidence Review Report on Biodegradability of Plastics in the Open Environment.

A major new Evidence Review Report entitled ‘Biodegradability of Plastics in the Open Environment’ has been published today by SAPEA. Academia Europaea led the coordination of the Evidence Review Report, with responsibility for management and delivery of the work given to the AE Cardiff Hub.

SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) was asked to produce this Evidence Review Report to inform the Scientific Opinion of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (GCSA).

The report was presented to Chair of the Advisors, Professor Nicole Grobert, at the official handover event on 14th December and delivered to the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel and Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius.

President of Academia Europaea, Professor Sierd Cloetingh represented the SAPEA Board. Professor Cloetingh said:

"This is the third SAPEA evidence review that has been coordinated by Academia Europaea. We have delivered the report on-time to the Advisors, as we have with the previous reports. My thanks to the team at AE Cardiff, led by Ole Petersen, and to Louise Edwards for their hard work on it throughout this year. It is clear that this report will have a significant impact on policymaking."

This new SAPEA Evidence Review Report has been written by a group of world-leading experts nominated by academies across Europe, including Academia Europaea. The report concludes that biodegradable plastic  has a role to play in reducing the accumulation of plastics in the environment. However, its role is limited to some  specific  applications. In other cases, including single-use packaging and plastic bags, it would be better to reduce the amount of plastic we use — or to re-use it, recycle it, or, where we can, compost it in industrial plants.

The group was chaired by Professor Ann-Christine Albertsson. With the first working group meeting taking place at the end of February and regular meetings held throughout the period of the pandemic, this was the first SAPEA review to be conducted entirely via virtual means. Despite the challenges, the report has been delivered on-time.

In the evidence review report, a working group of leading experts nominated by academies across Europe The Evidence Review Report highlights a number of key conclusions, including:
  • Biodegradable plastics do have a specific role to play in reducing the accumulation of plastics in the environment but they are not a ‘silver bullet’ for solving the problem of plastics pollution
  • Biodegradable plastics must be considered on a case-by-case basis, with thorough and rigorous testing, and clear information to consumers and business

Following the launch of the report in December, there will be an extensive campaign of promotion and outreach throughout 2021.

Biodegradability of Plastics Evidence Review Report
Group of Chief Scientific Advisors’ Scientific Opinion



SAPEA publishes its Sustainability Plan#

Academia Europaea and its Cardiff Knowledge Hub have led the work on sustainability planning for the future strategic development of SAPEA.


SAPEA (Science for Policy by European Academies) has published its sustainability plan, which lays out a roadmap for the consortium’s future development in providing evidence for the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.

Overseen by Academia Europaea, work on the plan started in 2018. An interim report was prepared last year, with a final report published in June 2020.

The plan outlines SAPEA’s achievements since the consortium‘s inception in 2016, as well as establishing objectives for the future, highlighting four strategic priorities.

Read the plan(info).#

President of Academia Europaea, Professor Sierd Cloetingh, said:

Academia Europaea was extremely pleased to lead the work package on sustainability planning. We did so efficiently, delivering an attractive report that summarises SAPEA’s successes to date whilst also setting out some of SAPEA’s areas of focus for the future. I am particularly grateful to Professor Günter Stock MAE, who accepted our invitation to chair the working group.

AE Cardiff’s Director, Professor Ole Petersen, said:

I was delighted to represent Academia Europaea on the working group that developed the sustainability plan. It was a pleasure to serve under Professor Günter Stock’s very effective leadership.

SAPEA Evidence Review Report on “A Sustainable Food System for the EU” published#

SAPEA Evidence Review Report on “A Sustainable Food System for the EU” has been published today, Thursday 09th April 2020. Please follow this link to find the Report and all relevant documents, including the systematic review on the policy landscape: #

Food lies at the heart of our lives. It is vital for our survival, and links us to our natural and social environment in a unique way. But our food system is unsustainable. How can we ensure future food security without treating people unfairly or leaving them behind?

Food systems have complex social, economic and ecological components, and radical transformation is needed to make them sustainable. This report from SAPEA lays out the science on how that transition can happen in an inclusive, just and timely way.

What the report says#

The global demand for food will increase in the future. To meet this demand, it is not enough simply to increase productivity in a sustainable way. We also need to change from linear mass consumption to a more circular economy — which will mean changing our norms, habits and routines.

The evidence shows that this kind of behaviour change needs to happen collectively, not just individually. So we need joined-up governance at local, national and international levels.

Food systems also contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. This can be addressed by reducing waste or directing it back into the supply chain.

A mix of different measures will be most effective. The evidence shows that taxation is one of the most effective ways to modify behaviour. Accreditation and labelling schemes can also have an impact.

Meanwhile, reform of European agriculture and fisheries policies offer great opportunities to develop resilience and sustainability.

But there is not yet enough evidence to know for sure exactly what works in practice, so the steps we take should be carefully evaluated, and trade-offs anticipated.

SAPEA - Science Advice for Policy by European Academies#


Spanning the disciplines of engineering, humanities, medicine, natural sciences and social sciences, SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) brings together the outstanding knowledge and expertise of Fellows from over 100 Academies, Young Academies and Learned Societies in over 40 countries across Europe.

Working closely with the European Commission Scientific Advice Mechanism High Level Group of Scientific Advisors (HLG), SAPEA provides timely, independent and evidence-based scientific expertise for the highest policy level in Europe and for the wider public.

SAPEA is part of the European Commission Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) which provides independent scientific advice to the College of European Commissioners to support their decision making. Academia Europaea and SAM.

The project is funded through a grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme running from November 2016-October 2020.

The coordination of Academia Europaea's involvement in the SAPEA project is managed by the Cardiff Knowledge Hub.


  • Science Advice – What works in a Crisis? In this webinar, chief science advisors, experts and staff of the European Commission reflect on how effectively Europe is rising to the challenge of Covid-19 and what lessons can be learned for the future. September 16, 2020.
  • Sustainability Plan published. The plan outlines SAPEA’s achievements since the consortium‘s inception in 2016, as well as establishing objectives for the future, highlighting four strategic priorities. June 2020.

The SAPEA project is part of the European Scientific Advice Mechanism and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 737432.
The text in this press release reflects only the author’s view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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