Framework for sharing data and funding

The Food Standards Agency has agreed a framework setting out the principles and approach it will follow in deciding when and how to use data and funding from industry and non-governmental organisation partners.

The framework allows the Agency to weigh the benefits of sharing data or funding (including improving the evidence base, access to expertise, and sharing costs) against the need to ensure the quality of the data and perceived risks to the FSA’s independence.

The framework will help to ensure that this is done in a structured and consistent way, and that the approach is open and transparent to potential partners and stakeholders.

The framework was developed by the independent General Advisory Committee on Science (GACS). Following a full public consultation in 2011, the framework was finalised in 2012.

It is based on five principles:

  • using the best available evidence
  • maintaining trust in the FSA and its independence
  • efficient use of resources
  • proper treatment of information, including commercial confidentiality and intellectual property
  • fair distribution of costs across beneficiaries

In some cases there are already well-established procedures in place that ensure that these principles are balanced effectively, for example, in assessing applications for approval of novel food products.

The Agency will also use this framework to take decisions on sharing data and funding on a case-by-case basis.