The work of the independent committees that advise us helps to ensure our advice to consumers is based on the best and most recent scientific evidence. To learn more about the work of the Science Council, hear from our Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Robin May.
About the role
We are looking for committed, capable and motivated science and industry experts to provide independent advice. Members will help to ensure food produced or sold in the UK is safe and effectively regulated.
As an expert in the Science Council you will provide high-level, expert strategic insight and challenge. You will also advise our Chief Scientific Adviser, as well as the Board and FSA executive, on the use of science to deliver FSA objectives. Previously the Science Council has worked on projects looking at data usage and digital technology as well as food system risks and horizon scanning. You will work with colleagues from a range of scientific disciplines as well as non-scientific experts and lay members.
We are looking for three new members to join the Science Council each with expertise in one of the following areas:
An individual with high-level, expert strategic insight and challenge into areas including epidemiology, statistics and risk analysis with a good understanding of qualitative and quantitative approaches to risk assessment and the importance of the contribution of data and data analytics to assess, monitor and quantify threats.
Food Manufacturing Technology
Encompassing some or all of the following: biomanufacturing (as an alternative to traditional ingredient sources; and in the manufacture of novel foods); novel food technologies; digitalisation; robotics applications in harvest, manufacture and food service; Industry 4.0 cyber-physical systems in food manufacture; cellular agriculture, insect farming and aquaculture, including multi-trophic systems; vertical horticulture.
Infection, Epidemiology and Zoonoses
Encompassing some or all of the following: public health, epidemiology, microbiology, foodborne disease, zoonoses, food safety, surveillance methods, surveillance systems, infectious diseases, source attribution.
Conditions of appointments
Appointments to the Science Council are made strictly on merit by a fair and open process in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice, taking account of equality and diversity.
Committee members are not employed by the FSA and appointments are not salaried. Members will receive fees for preparation and attendance of meetings, as well as reasonable expenses. The roles are based in London (with potentially occasional travel outside London).
Applicants, whether selected or not, may separately be invited to join the FSA’s Register of Specialists, through which they may be invited to provide advice or research on a one-off contractual basis.
Applicants to the Science Council must provide examples and evidence that they meet the published selection criteria below.
Members should have a breadth of expertise and networks and experience of multidisciplinary working to tackle strategic challenges. Expertise and experience should be relevant to FSA’s role and strategic priorities and reflect the FSA’s broad definition of science.
Essential experience, knowledge and skills criteria for members
- Understanding how science can be used to influence and test policy and to achieve concrete impacts to benefit people
- Evidence of effective contribution to multi-disciplinary groups advising on complex and/or strategic scientific or technical questions
- Strong analytical and judgement skills, independent thinking and being open to challenge
- Strong communication skills with well-developed interpersonal skills, the ability to work collaboratively
And at least two of the following criteria
- A high level of expertise in one of the areas identified as evidenced by national or international impact
- A breadth of expertise and networks with experience spanning disciplines relevant to the FSA
- Informed perspective on the interests of consumers and citizens and experience of how these interests can be reflected in the work of the Council
- Ability to engage and communicate with non-expert audiences
Ways of working
The Science Council uses Microsoft Teams as a platform to share documents and information and to hold some virtual meetings. Members will be required to access and use Microsoft Teams effectively as part of their roles, so will need access to a computer with a stable internet connection and a webcam.
The Science Council holds around four, one-day, meetings a year, usually in London and forms working groups between meetings. The FSA may also request advice from committees on an ad hoc basis or in emergencies.
Public service values
Successful applicants will be expected to uphold public service values in fulfilling the role of independent adviser to the FSA. Candidates invited for interview will be asked about any issues in their personal or professional history that could draw into question their ability to fulfil this role, and it is important that candidates bring any such issues to the attention of the panel.
Fees and expenses
These positions are not salaried, but members may claim fees and reasonable travel and other expenses, for work on and for the Science Council, in line with the Guidance on Committees Fees and Expenses.
The current members fees are:
- Chairs: £400 per day’s work on committee or expert group business
- Members: £300 per day’s work on committee or expert group business
Members may make a cumulative claim for work between meetings if a significant amount of time is spent on a single piece of work or on a series of short pieces of work.
Members cannot hold any paid or high-profile unpaid posts in a political party, and not engage in specific political activities on matters directly affecting the work of this body.
We welcome applications from existing members of government Scientific Advisory Committees; however, applicants must list relevant current appointments in the application to identify any cross-membership and assess any potential conflicts of interest.
Members of the Science Council cannot at the same time be members of another of FSA’s Scientific Advisory Committees because this would conflict with the Council’s role in providing challenge on the FSA’s use of science, which includes the work of the FSA’s other committees.
Apply to be a Science Council member
Please read the person specification before completing your application form.
Each applicant must complete and provide:
- An application form, including a completed political activity questionnaire
and declaration of interest sections
- CV and/or list of publications
- Monitoring questionnaire (optional)
Submission closes on 30 January 2022 at 23:59.
Please email completed application forms to the SAC recruitment team.
We welcome applications from all sections of the community and are particularly eager to address under-representation on advisory committees of women, people from ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. All appointments are based on merit and the principles of independent assessment, openness and transparency of process.
The completion of the monitoring questionnaire is encouraged. Please note the information will be used for statistical purposes only and it will be presented in the form of totals from which individuals cannot be separately identified.
The purpose is to ensure we do not create any barriers in our selection process and to help us implement our equal opportunities policy effectively.
Timeline for appointments
Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place in March/April 2022.
Appointments will be confirmed in May 2022.
Induction will take place in May 2022.