Membership of FSA Scientific Advisory Committees

Body: Food Standards Agency
Appointing Department: Department of Health
Sectors: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Health
Location: London (with potentially occasional travel outside London)
Number of Vacancies: 40
Remuneration: £300 member/£400 chairs per a day’s work on committee or expert group business, plus reasonable travel expenses.
Time Requirements: Attendance of around 6 meetings a year, alongside work between meetings. Total time commitment is expected to be around 10 days a year.

This is not a ministerial appointment.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    04/01/2019 at 23:59

  • Panel Sift

    January 2019

  • Final Interview Date

    February 2019

  • Announcement

    March/April 2019

Vacancy Description

Please note this is NOT a Public Appointment and any appointments will be made by the Food Standards Agency.

Applications open for FSA Scientific Advisory Committees and new join Expert Groups

The Food Standards Agency is looking for experts to fill around 40 expert roles, across three committees:

These roles will boost the capability of these committees, with a significant number of the roles focusing on work in three new Joint Expert Groups that will lead on assessment of applications for authorisation of regulated products:

  • Food Contact Materials – a joint group of COT and ACMSF.
  • Additives, Enzymes and Other Regulated Products – a joint group of COT and ACMSF.
  • Animal Feed and Feed Additives – a joint group of COT, ACMSF and ACAF (the Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs).

The committees and expert groups will both meet approximately 6 times a year, normally in London, with occasional travel outside London, and additional input between meetings may be required from members. Exact attendance will vary depending on the committee and role. Successful candidates may be offered roles either focused on a main committee, with some attendance at expert groups, or focused in a expert group, with some attendance at the main committees.

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and Joint Expert Group members are not employed by the FSA and appointments are not salaried, but members will receive fees for attendance and other work for the committee, and reasonable expenses. Candidates will be required to declare any interests that may be relevant to the posts and interests of appointed members will be published.

We welcome applicants from people based in or outside the UK, provided they can attend meetings as needed. Reasonable travel and accommodation expenses can be claimed, in accordance with the terms set out in the committee’s Code of Practice, which can be found at the relevant committee website.

Appointments will be an initial term of three years, with the possibility of reappointment. The operation of the committees and Joint Expert Groups will be reviewed over 2019/20 to inform us on how these new structures are operating.

We hope to make appointments in early 2019 and also to identify reserve candidates who might be offered posts later in 2019, if needed.

Applicants, whether selected or not, may separately be invited to join the FSA’s Register of Specialists, through which they may be invited to provide advice or research on a one-off contractual basis.

The Food Standards Agency is committed to the principles of public appointments based on merit and equal opportunities, with independent assessment, openness and transparency of process. We welcome applications from suitably qualified people, regardless of their protected characteristics and working patterns.

Person Specification

The FSA is seeking to appoint approximately 40 new members to its Scientific Advisory Committees (SACs) and to three new Joint Expert Groups.

All members of the committees and expert groups will bring a high level of relevant experience and expertise, reflecting the broad range of sciences and perspectives relevant to the FSA’s work.

Applicants must provide examples and evidence that they meet the published selection criteria below.

Essential Experience, Knowledge and Skills Criteria for Members

All candidates must be able to demonstrate the following.

Required scientific skills

  • A high-level of expertise in one or more of the required expertise areas for the applied for committee(s), evidenced by a strong record of achievement at a national or international level, with strong networks in the field.

Required general skills

  • Experience and evidence of effective contribution to multi-disciplinary groups advising on complex scientific or technical questions.
  • Strong analytical and judgement skills, with independent thinking and being open to challenge.
  • Well-developed interpersonal and communication skills with a collaborative style and an ability to engage and communicate with non-expert audiences, excellent command of written and spoken English.

Desirable criterion for those interested in chairing Joint Expert Groups on an as need basis

  • Experience of effective chairing or leading a multi-disciplinary group of senior experts.

Joint expert groups will not have fixed chairs, instead these will be appointed on an as need and situational basis from members within the expert groups. We will not make formal Chair appointments as part of this recruitment, but we would like to identify among the new members those who would be suited to take up these roles as needed.

Expertise Areas

We are looking for expertise in a wide range or areas across the different committees and groups covered in this recruitment. These are:

  • General toxicology expertise or specific knowledge in either genetic, metabolism, mechanistic, reproductive, or human toxicology
  • Epidemiology
  • Environmental health/port health
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Xenobiotic metabolism
  • Pathology
  • Chemistry, specifically in either methods of analysis, specifications, residuals or manufacturing
  • Food Contact Materials
  • Exposure assessment or analysis
  • Nanotechnology technical expertise
  • Food technology, including technical expertise
  • Veterinary science
  • Animal health
  • Enzyme specialist
  • Human nutrition
  • Risk modelling
  • Genomics
  • Virology
  • Food, veterinary, or public health microbiology
  • GM molecular biology or specifically in recombinant DNA and plant breeding
  • Molecular biology, in either micro-organisms, fermentation, analysis of genome sequences to assess risk or use in animals.
  • Insect biology and physiology.
  • Plant biology, with an emphasis on botanicals

Committee on Toxicity (COT)

  • General toxicology expertise or specific knowledge in either reproductive, genetic, or mechanistic toxicology.
  • Epidemiology
  • Environmental health
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Xenobiotic metabolism
  • Pathology

Advisory Committee on Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF)

  • Epidemiology
  • Risk modelling
  • Genomics or bioinformatics
  • Virology
  • Food, veterinary or public health microbiology
  • Environmental health/port health

Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP)

  • Molecular biology, especially in the manipulation of genomes and recombinant DNA technology, as well as plant genetics.
  • Molecular biology and genetic manipulation / mutation, in either micro-organisms or animals. In particular, an understanding of fermentation of microorganisms and analysis of genome sequences to inform risk assessments.
  • Insect biology and physiology
  • Plant biology, especially in botanicals 

Food Contact Materials Expert Group

  • General toxicology expertise or specific knowledge in either metabolism or genetic toxicology.
  • Chemistry, especially in either methods of analysis, specifications, residuals, or manufacturing.
  • Food Contact Materials specialists
  • Exposure assessment or analysis
  • Nanotechnology technical expertise
  • Food technology technical expertise
  • Microbiology

Food Additives, Enzymes and Other Regulated Products Expert Group

  • General toxicology expertise or specific knowledge in metabolism or genetic toxicology.
  • Pathology
  • Chemistry, specifically in either methods of analysis, specifications, residuals, or manufacturing.
  • Exposure assessment or analysis
  • Food technology
  • Enzyme specialist
  • Human nutrition
  • Microbiology

Animal Feed and Feed Additives Expert Group

  • Human/general toxicology
  • Chemistry, especially in either methods of analysis, specifications, residuals, or manufacturing.
  • Exposure assessment/analysis
  • Veterinary science
  • Animal health
  • Microbiology

Additional Information

Candidates are advised to read the attached Candidate Information Pack for full details.

Appointment is via open competition applicable to all candidates whatever their source. The committee application form must be completed in full. Applicants are expected to evidence each of the selection criteria in their application form. If you attach a CV, please cross-reference the section of your CV and explain its relevance to the relevant criterion in your form. Entries which say only “see attached CV” will not be scored. A list of your publications is helpful, but as with CVs, please highlight particularly relevant publications within the application.

The application form and CV constitute the application. The selection panel will use only the information supplied by the candidate in their application. No anecdotal evidence will be used.

Appointment Panel

The sift and appointment panels will consist of at least three members and will be drawn from the following:

  • A Senior FSA science lead.
  • Chairs or current members of FSA’s Scientific Advisory Committees.
  • A scientific expert from the Scientific Advisory Committee secretariats.
  • An independent assessor (who will sit on all panels).

Time Commitment

The committees and expert groups hold around 6, one-day, meetings a year, usually in London, with occasional travel outside London, and provide additional input between meetings. Individual members of the expert groups may need to attend committee meetings on occasion, and vice versa. The FSA may also request advice from committees and Joint Expert Groups on an ad hoc basis or in emergencies.

The overall time commitment will depend on the extent of members’ participation in the groups’ meetings and FSA’s strategic needs, but a minimum commitment is expected to be around 10 days a year, including attendance at 6 meetings.

Declaration of interests

In line with the FSA policy and established good practice for SACs, applicants must declare as part of their application any relevant personal or non-personal interests. These will be considered as part of the selection process.

For successful candidates, relevant interests will be published on appointment in the Committee Register of Interests which will be regularly updated. Guidance on interests is given at Annex 3. Interests which represent a real or potential conflict in respect of general or specific aspects of the Committee’s work will be managed in accordance with this guidance.

Public Service Values

Successful applicants will be expected to uphold public service values in fulfilling the role of independent adviser to the FSA. Candidates invited for interview will be asked about any issues in their personal or professional history that could draw into question their ability to fulfil this role, and it is important that candidates bring any such issues to the attention of the panel.

How to Apply

Each applicant must complete and provide:

  • Application form, including completing the Political Activity Questionnaire
  • and declaration of interest sections.
  • CV and/or List of Publications (optional)
  • Monitoring Questionnaire

Support for Interviews

If you have a disability defined by the Equality Act, you are eligible to apply via the Guaranteed Interview Scheme for these appointments. If you wish to be considered for the scheme please complete the enclosed Questionnaire on Assistance for Interview. Please also complete this form to inform us of any assistance you will need for the interview and for support in post.

Applications should be sent by email to:

For enquiries on the application process or about the roles please contact:

David Franklin at or call 0207 276 8912.

Please note that all applicants are responsible for the safe and timely arrival of their forms. Applicants are required to complete all the relevant forms before their applications will be considered.



SAC information Pack and FAQs 2018
SAC-application-form 2018 - Final SB
SAC assistance-for-interview-and-performance SB
SAC monitoring-questionnaire SB

This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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