Applications invited for new Advisory Committee for Social Sciences

Last updated:
6 December 2017
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The Food Standards Agency wishes to invite applications from experts to join its newly formed Advisory Committee for Social Science, and is seeking to appoint a Chair and nine members.

This independent expert committee will provide expert strategic advice to the FSA on its use of the social sciences including new and emerging methods, processes and systems to interrogate data, to deliver the FSA’s objectives. Its purpose will be to help the Agency utilise these sciences and approaches to shape and deliver strategic objectives and understand its impact. Where needed it will work with other advisory committees to advise on how best to bring together the different types of evidence, approaches and information across diverse disciplines and fields to address strategic problems or interests.

Position of specialist members

We would welcome applications from lay members and experts in the following fields including (but not limited to):

  • Algorithm development and testing
  • Anthropology
  • Behavioural economics
  • Behavioural science
  • Communication studies
  • Criminology
  • Data aggregation and distributed data
  • Data science
  • Decision Science
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Market research
  • Operational research
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Risk communication
  • Social media analytics
  • Sociology
  • Statistics

Applicants should have good links with other professionals in their specialised field and related areas. Experience of multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary working to tackle strategic challenges is essential, as is experience of delivering research/ activities with impact. Experience of international research, risk analysis and policy applied research and evaluation would also be useful.

They must be strong team players with effective communication, negotiation, judgement and influencing skills combined with strong analytical and problem- solving skills. Additionally they must have the ability to weigh issues outside their own specialist areas and to appreciate the impact that their decisions may have on different stakeholders along the food chain.

Members must be able to work in the committee structure to determine priorities across a range of issues and arrive at sound, balanced and timely decisions.

Time commitments

The Committee is expected to hold two plenary, one-day meetings a year, usually in London.  The Committee is also likely to convene Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) working groups, co-opting wider experts if relevant to addressing the issue at hand, to work on specific issues between meetings, and may convene or take part in other events.  The FSA may also request advice from the Committee or its Members on an ad hoc basis or in emergencies.

It is envisaged that the Committee will generate its own content and intellectual input and may prepare short reports on collective insights in response to a high-level, cross-cutting issues, suggested by FSA. 

The time commitment will depend on the extent of members’ participation in groups convened between plenary meetings, but a minimum commitment is expected to be 6-10 days/year (as a minimum expectation) for members and 8-12 days/year for the Chair.  

Appointment term

Appointments will initially be for a 3-5 years term.

Fees and expenses

These positions are not salaried but the Chair and Members may claim a daily fee for Committee work and reasonable travel and other expenses, in line with the Committee’s Code of Practice. 

Other information

Existing members of FSA or other SACs are not excluded from applying.  However, people cannot be members of the Committee at the same time they are members of an SAC which provides advice to the FSA.

The Food Standards Agency is committed to providing equal opportunities for all, irrespective of race, age, disability, gender, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, transgender and working patterns and to the principle of public appointments on merit with independent assessments, openness and transparency of process.

Please note that these positions do not offer employment.

Application details

If you are interested in applying to this new Advisory Committee for Social Sciences, the recruitment pack is available below.

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 26 January 2018. 

Application information