SCAR - Collaborative Working Group "Risk Research on GMOs"

Initiated by Austria, this SCAR Collaborative Working Group on "Risk Research on Genetically Modified Organisms", has been implemented in autumn 2009 and is supported by 19 Member States.

This CWG "Risk Research on GMOs" has been initiated in order to serve as a tool for preparing and facilitating European co-operations in the field of risk research on genetically modified organisms. This should be enabled by describing the status quo of risk research activities and knowledge, and by identifying relevant research needs and gaps. Focus is laid upon research activities which are financed by authorative bodies and/or public funds.

Of main interest are risk research projects within the natural sciences dealing with possible impacts of GMOs on human health, the environment and biodiversity as well as animal health and welfare. The focus is on cultivation and import of plants, animals and microorganisms for food and feed use as far as they are covered by the relevant EU legislation on GMOs such as Directive 2001/18/EC and Regulation (EC) N° 1829/2003. Research on risk perception and/or risk communication as well as socio-economic considerations or other legitimate factors as well as political aspects are out of the scope.

National research activities and exercises need to be coordinated and systemized on a European level in order to be able to tackle the key questions associated with risk assessment of genetically modified organisms in a joint effort. Especially complex long-term scientific projects provide European-wide necessary knowledge, but are not always manageable on a single national level. Moreover, improvement of the implementation of already existing legislation concerning the risk assessment of GMOs needs to be ensured.

This Collaborative Working Group therefore aims at identifying the most important research topics and key research priorities on a mid- to long-term range. Simultaneously awareness should be raised that independent research in this field has to be supported and strenghtened. Through this cooperation within the working group existing knowledge could be made transparent and thus better accessible, resulting eventually in an enhancement of knowledge transfer, too.

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