The European Food Standards Agency has issued an invitation for applications from scientists willing to serve on its scientific committee and panels.

The support of the best scientists available working on food and feed safety issues is key for an authority committed to contributing towards the continued improvement of food safety in the EU, it said.

In line with its founding regulation 178/2002, EFSA established in May 2003 a scientific committee and eight scientific panels responsible for providing independent scientific advice on all matters related to food and feed safety. By the end of 2005, EFSA's scientific committee and panels will have delivered over 300 scientific opinions in their respective areas of competence.

Every three years, membership of the committee and panels is renewed. The recruitment call is open to scientists from the 25 EU member states who are appointed for a renewable three-year term of office. Experts from non-European countries may also apply but will be considered only when the required expertise cannot be found among European experts.

Applicants should demonstrate experience in carrying out scientific risk assessment and proven scientific excellence in one, or preferably several fields in EFSA's remit. Experience in peer reviewing scientific work and publications is also welcome.

"It is critical that EFSA continues to attract and rely on the work of scientists with the highest level of expertise in order to ensure that the authority provides the best scientific advice," said Dr Djien Liem, acting director of science. "The renewal of EFSA's scientific committee and panels is fundamental to our achieving our goals and we hope that this call will provide further opportunity for the authority to expand its scientific network, including a broader involvement of scientists from the new member states."