8th Open Meeting - 3rd December 2020

Last updated: 16 June 2021

In line with government guidance, due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the Science Council secretariat is unable to invite people to attend the open Science Council meeting ‘in person’.  This meeting will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams with minutes and papers of the open meeting published on the Science Council website.

Members of the public are invited to send in any questions they have for the Science Council on the topics under discussion at this upcoming open meeting.  Please send them to before midday on 2 December 2020. 

We will try to answer your questions at the meeting, but if we are unable to do this, we’ll try to provide a written response before the next Science Council meeting.

While questions about the activities of the Science Council are welcomed, the Science Council cannot answer questions on the FSA or FSA policy in general.

Minutes of the meeting

A final agreed note of the public session of the 8th Science Council open meeting on 3 December 2020 was confirmed at the 9th Science Council open meeting.  A summary of the meeting is also provided below.

Summary of meeting

  • The FSA Chief Executive, Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) and Head of Food Safety Policy explained practical issues facing the FSA from 1 January 2021. 

  • An update on progress of Working Group 5 on food hypersensitivity was given by the review lead, including plans for a horizon scan workshop to be held in March 2021. 

  • The FSA CSA and Head of SSCR discussed developments in FSA science and EU Exit. 

Agenda and papers

Note the agenda may be subject to change at short notice. 

10:00  (Item 1) Welcome and introduction (Sandy Thomas)

10:10 (Item 2) Minutes of 7th Council meeting and actions (Sandy Thomas)

10:20 (Item 3) Science Council Chair’s report (Sandy Thomas)

10:35 (Item 4) Working Group 5 (Paul Turner)

  • Full outcomes of the September priority setting exercise.
  • Progress on WG5.4 rapid evidence assessment.
  • Planning for the WG5.5 horizon scanning event.

11:00 (Item 5) FSA Update

  • Chief Scientist’s update (20 mins)(Robin May): Comprehensive spending review update, CSA activities and plans and relevant interaction with OGDs & progress of the National Food Strategy.
  • Science Strategy, Capability and Research update (15 mins)(Adam Cook): Staffing update, SC Recruitment and EU Exit, relevant collaborations and publications and SERD programme approach to R&D.

11:35 Coffee Break

11:50 (Item 6) Critical review of the quality of 3rd party evidence (Sandy Thomas, Peter Gregory & Sarah O’Brien)

  • Short update and preliminary findings.

12:05 (Item 7) Update on FSA Scientific Advisory Committees (Sandy Thomas)

  • Feedback by Council members on participation in SACs.

12:20 (Item 8) EU-Exit (Emily Miles, Rebecca Sudworth, Robin May)

  • What will be the practical changes for the FSA and FSA Science from 1 January 2021?

12:35 (Item 9) Wrap up and close session (Sandy Thomas)

12:40 (Item 10) Questions and comments from the public (Sandy Thomas)

12:50 End of the meeting


Meeting attendees

Science Council  

  • Sandy Thomas  - Council Chair 
  • John O’Brien - Council Member  
  • Paul Turner - Council Member  
  • Patrick Wolfe - Council Member  
  • Sarah O’Brien - Council Member  
  • Claire Nicholson - Council Member  
  • Jonathan Wastling - Council Member 
  • Peter Gregory - Council Member 

Advisory Committee on Social Science 

  • Julie Hill - Advisory Committee for Social Science 

Food Standards Agency   

  • Robin May - FSA Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) 
  • Emily Miles - FSA Chief Executive 
  • Rebecca Sudworth - FSA Director of Policy 
  • Rick Mumford - Deputy Director - Science Evidence and Research 
  • Adam Cook - Head of Science Strategy, Capability and Research  
  • Chun-Han Chan - Science Council Secretary  
  • Paul A Nunn - Science Council Secretariat Lead  
  • Autumn Pugh - CSA Private Secretary 
  • Manisha Wijesinghe - Science Council Secretariat  
  • Catriona McCallion - FSA Science and Engineering Fast Streamer 


  • Natalie Coles - FSA Strategic Project Officer 
  • Amber Haywood - Secretariat to the Home Office Science Advisory Council