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Meeting of European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

EASAC, the coalition of the National Academies of Sciences of EU member states, has held a full meeting of Council to debate and decide its work programme until the end of 2011.  The members of EASAC Council also met with the recently appointed Hungarian Minister for Human Resources Prof. Réthelyi Miklós. It was the last Council meeting to be led by the outgoing EASAC Chairman Prof. Volker ter Meulen. The meeting was hosted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and took place in the Academy's palace in Budapest on 17 and 18 June 2010.

EASAC holds full meetings of Council twice a year and its summer meeting 2010 was hosted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, whose President Prof. József Pálinkás is the representative of the Hungarian academy in EASAC Council. The EASAC Council meetings are aligned to the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU: the members of the Council of EASAC meet in the capital of a country six months before the beginning of the EU-Presidency of that country. The hosting academy then invites a senior member of the government to enter into a dialogue with EASAC as a collective voice of science in the EU. On 17 June, the newly appointed Hungarian Minister for Human Resources, Prof. Réthelyi Miklós, presented his government's plans for the Hungarian EU-Presidency and spoke to the members of Council about the ways in which EASAC could provide scientific advice for some of the core themes of that presidency.

During its meeting the EASAC Council also discussed the current and upcoming EASAC work programme. EASAC has divided its policy advice activities into three main areas: Biosciences, Energy and Environment. In these programmes, statements or reports are currently being prepared on topics such as Synthetic Biology, on Infectious Diseases in Europe, on Concentrating Solar Power, on Carbon Capture and Storage, on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, on Sustainable Biofuels and on Adaptation to Climate Change. Furthermore, EASAC is running a series of workshops for its members about the Dialogue between Science and Policy, both on a national and on an EU level.

This meeting of EASAC Council was the last one chaired by Prof. Volker ter Meulen (German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina), who will step down as Chairman of EASAC. He will be succeeded by Sir Brian Heap (Academia Europaea). The new Vice-Chairmen of EASAC, who will â€“ like the Chairman - serve a term of three years, are Prof. József Pálinkás (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Prof. Sven Kullander (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences) and Prof. Jos van der Meer (Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and Arts). The next meeting of EASAC Council will take place in early December 2010 at the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw.

EASAC – the European Academies' Science Advisory Council – is formed by the national science academies of the EU member states to enable them to collaborate with each other in providing advice to European policy-makers. The task of giving scientific advice to the makers of national policy lies at the heart of any national academy's activities. But through EASAC, the academies also give independent, expert, evidence-based advice about the scientific aspects of public policy to those who make or influence policy within the European institutions.

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