SAPEA Publications#


New reports on Strategic Crisis Management in the EU#

SAPEA publishes its latest Evidence Review Report, with input from Academia Europaea. Watch the recording of the Handover of the SAPEA evidence review report, the GCSA scientific opinion and the EGE statement on Strategic Crisis Management in the EU to Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Commissioner Janez Lenarčič.

Watch the teaser: Strategic Crisis Management in the European Union and the handover gallery(info).

The SAPEA Evidence Review Report has been presented to European Commissioners Gabriel and Lenarčič. It sets out the latest scientific evidence and evidence-based policy options on how the EU can improve its strategic crisis management. 

The SAPEA report has informed the Scientific Opinion of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, chaired by Professor Nicole Grobert MAE. The European Group on Ethics, chaired by Professor Barbara Prainsack MAE, has also published a statement entitled Values in times of crisis.

Academia Europaea has worked closely alongside fellow member of the SAPEA consortium and lead academy for the topic, ALLEA, in delivering the Evidence Review Report. 

Academia Europaea is also contributing to the outreach programme for the SAPEA report. On 31st January, we are partnering with the European Group on Ethics to present a one-hour webinar, Putting people first: how do we care for each other, build resilience and solidarity in a world in crisis? Find out more and register here.

Strategic Crisis Management in the EU


Improving cancer screening in the European Union. Evidence Review Report

Improving cancer screening in the European Union
SAPEA Evidence Review Report#

In a new advice published today, the Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism recommends improvements to existing screening programmes for cervical cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer — by adopting new technologies, expanding the age range of screening, and optimising how frequently people are screened depending on age, sex and previous test results.

Furthermore, the experts found a strong scientific basis for introducing life-saving screening programmes in EU member states for both lung cancer and prostate cancer.

The field of cancer screening is rapidly evolving, and in 2022 the European Commission will make a proposal to update the Council Recommendation on cancer screening to ensure it reflects the latest available scientific evidence. In support of this, the Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors requested the Scientific Advice Mechanism to provide evidence to answer the following questions:

  • How can cancer screening programmes targeting breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, be improved throughout the EU?
  • What is the scientific basis for extending such screening programmes to other cancers and ensuring their feasibility throughout the EU?
  • Which are the main scientific elements to consider, and best practices to promote, for optimising risk-based cancer screening and early diagnosis throughout the EU?

Leading cancer experts from across the world discussed these questions and the latest scientific progress in a series of three full-day scientific meetings held at the end of 2021, chaired jointly by Professors Rebecca Fitzgerald (University of Cambridge) and Harry de Koning (Erasmus MC Medical Centre, Rotterdam), under the auspices of FEAM.

The experts’ conclusions, supported by a review of the scientific literature conducted by Cardiff University, are detailed in the latest SAPEA Evidence Review Report. This evidence in turn informs the Scientific Opinion of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, also published today (2 March).

Explore our Report and the Scientific Opinion and learn more about what the evidence suggests for successful screening programmes across Europe.

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.

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