Science, Evidence and Information Strategy Delivery Plan

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The FSA's Science, Evidence and Information Strategy 2015-20 Delivery Plan sets out how we will use science, evidence and information to deliver food we can trust.

The FSA Strategy and Strategic Plan for 2015-20 make clear that effective use of science is crucial to achieving the FSA’s ambitious goals for protecting consumers’ interests in relation to food.  The Strategic Plan sets a strategic objective for FSA that:

  • we will use science, evidence and information both to tackle the challenges of today, and to identify and contribute to addressing emerging risks for the future.

The Science, Evidence and Information Strategy Delivery Plan sets out how we will do this. 

It describes the vision, principles and framework for our science, evidence and information work, and a high-level narrative of the key objectives and areas of work.  These are illustrated by a set of headline activities, which we will undertake to achieve and to test progress against our objectives. 

The delivery plan was agreed by the FSA Board in November 2015.

Key features of the strategy

The Science, Evidence and Information Strategy is based on two sets of themes, which look at the types of science. Evidence and information we will need (the ‘what’) and the things we will need to do to ensure our use of science, evidence and information is effective and robust (the ‘how’).

What: the science we need to develop and apply

  1. Understanding risks and how to evaluate and compare them, so that we can target our work on effective consumer protection.
  2. Intelligent and shared use of data, information and analytics, to understand existing risks, identify new and changing risks, and to develop targeted and effective surveillance and regulation.
  3. Understanding consumers, food businesses, enforcement partners and others in the food system and how we can work with them to support behaviour change and build and spread good practice.
  4. Learning from what works and what doesn’t, to maximise positive impacts and value for money, through our own work and our work with others.

How: the way we conduct our science

  1. Building and maintaining the skills and capabilities we need.
  2. Assuring the quality of our science, evidence and information and their use so they have value for us and utility and legitimacy for others
  3. Use, communication and knowledge transfer of science, evidence and information, for openness, engagement and effective use and impact by FSA and others.

Delivering ambitious objectives and cross-cutting impact though strategic partnerships

Areas of research interest

The Areas of Research Interests (ARIs) are documents setting out the key research questions confronting government departments. ARIs also include information on departmental research systems, research and data publication policies and research and development strategies.

Information about the ARIs 

In response to the 2015 Nurse review of the UK Research Councils, the Government accepted the recommendation for a more strategic approach in relation to their departmental research and development programmes. This included developing a more sophisticated dialogue with academia, and providing a document which sets out the most important research questions confronting each department.  

The main benefit of the ARIs will be better alignment of scientific and research evidence from academia with policy development and decision-making as well as better access for departments to a wider range of suppliers and more coherent engagement with researchers. In the long term, improved openness should lead to access to stronger policy evidence bases and better value for money – with departments being able to share more effectively research commissions, and indeed unlock the international evidence base.   

Feedback

To help us improve the scope, detail and utility of the ARIs, please send us your comments at serd@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk.

Our detailed programme

Alongside the delivery plan and our ARIs, we also produce a detailed programme of work which sets out our programme of science, evidence and information work in more detail, showing the programme as a whole and how the activities fit into a timeline across the Strategy period, 2015-2020. This is published, and will be updated annually, to inform stakeholders on our plans and to invite input on better ways to formulate our needs, existing evidence that might meet our needs, opportunities to work together.

We also publish a forward evidence plan each year, which provides more detail on individual pieces of work we expect to commission in the coming year. Again, we invite feedback on these specific projects, before they are commissioned.

Further information

For further information on our science strategy, contact:

Dr Patrick Miller
Food Standards Agency
Aviation House
125 Kingsway
London WC2B 6NH

tel: 020 7276 8277
email: patrick.miller@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk