The EURL ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) is a formal Expert Group of the European Commission that advises EURL ECVAM on scientific issues. Its main tasks are:
(a) to assess the scientific validity of alternative methods/approaches intended for a given purpose;
(b) to advise on other scientific matters related to the work of EURL ECVAM and the protection of animals used for scientific purposes;
(c) to share its knowledge and experience on alternative methods/approaches used in science.
ESAC Call for Applications
The Joint Research Centre's European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) is renewing membership of its EURL ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC).
The advice provided by the ESAC is highly valued and recognised by the international scientific community. Over the years, ESAC reviews have supported the adoption of many non-animal methods as Test Guidelines by the OECD. ESAC opinions also often set precedents in the fields of non-animal methods and regulatory toxicology, as for example the recent reviews on non-animal derived antibodies and of a predictive method using transcriptomics data and a machine learning algorithm demonstrate.
EURL ECVAM is now launching an open Call for Applications for membership of the ESAC. Interested scientists who satisfy the eligibility criteria and who possess the relevant competences are invited to apply. Come and contribute to the work of this important committee and to the advancement of non-animal methods in research and regulatory toxicology! The closing date for submitting an application for ESAC membership is 1st May 2022, before midnight.
More information and instructions on how to apply can be found on the call.
ESAC typically provides its advice to EURL ECVAM in the form of an ESAC Opinion (previously called an ESAC ‘Statement’) and its work relies heavily on the independent peer review of all available evidence. The process is initiated by EURL ECVAM through a formal request for advice which provides the necessary background, establishes objectives and timelines, and defines particular questions to be addressed. The work of ESAC is often facilitated by dedicated ESAC sub-groups that produce a sub-group report, included as an annex to the ESAC Opinion when appropriate.
Composition of ESAC
The ESAC consists of 9 experts who are appointed in a personal capacity and act independently and in the public interest. ESAC members are appointed for a term of five years, which can be renewed. The selection of ESAC members is carried out via a public call for applications published on the Register of Commission Expert Groups and Other Similar Entities.
In cases where particular expertise is required to deal with specific requests for advice, EURL ECVAM can include experts in ESAC sub-groups who are not members of ESAC. Such members are identified via a different public, continuously open call for applications published on the same Register, and selected based on the suitability of their scientific profile. Sub-groups are chaired by an ESAC member and are dissolved as soon as their mandate is fulfilled.
More details are available in the ESAC Terms of Reference.
Current ESAC members
The list of current ESAC members, the Terms of Reference , and Rules of Procedure can be found on the Register of Commission Expert Groups and Other Similar Entities.
ESAC plenary meetings are typically held once or twice per year. ESAC sub-groups meet as required in the course of responding to a request for advice. The meetings of ESAC and its sub-groups are held either on JRC premises in Ispra, Italy, or virtually, depending on the circumstances.
ESAC Statements 1999-2009
The composition and roles of ESAC were fundamentally redefined in 2009. Up to 2009, ESAC had a double role: on the one hand, to provide input from various stakeholders and regulators for priority setting on alternative methods (now a function of the ESTAF and PARERE, respectively) and, on the other hand, to be ECVAM's scientific peer review body.
During this period ESAC delivered its advice to ECVAM (as it was called then) in the form of "ESAC Statements", published on ECVAM's website.
Note: since its renewal in 2009, ESAC provides its advice in the form of "ESAC opinions" and "ESAC sub-group reports". ESAC sub-group reports are annexed to ESAC opinions. ESAC opinions may be published standalone or as an annex to an EURL ECVAM Recommendation.