Life sciences group member praises Busquin's accessibility and willingness to listen

February 3, 2003

Brussels, 31 Jan 2003

The European Group on Life Sciences (EGLS) is seeing changes since it began advising the Commission, Professor Derek Burke, a member of the group has told CORDIS News.

The 'Towards sustainable agriculture for developing countries' conference in Brussels on 30 and 31 January was held under the aegis of the EGLS. The event fits with the EGLS' mandate of advising on new issues and bringing the wider public into the debate.

Professor Burke had much praise for EU Research Commissioner Busquin, both for supporting such an event and for his general approach to dealing with controversial scientific issues. Holding such a large event bringing together so many people with diverging views was 'very adventurous' of the Commissioner, said Professor Burke.

Professor Burke believes that the Commission is listening to the EGLS' advice. If they were not seeing changes, the members would walk away, he added.

The EGLS has been granted a great deal of freedom, said Professor Burke. He also emphasised that Mr Busquin is 'very accessible' and 'will actually listen [...] he is both acceptable to scientists and politicians.'

Following the debate on stem cell research and the ensuing report submitted to the Commission by the EGLS, the Commission accepted that there was no 'one size fits all approach,' Professor Burke told CORDIS News. For this issue, it is necessary to take the subsidiarity approach, the group advised.

The group's 13 members were selected by the Commission and do not represent their countries, are chosen on the basis of experience, according to Professor Burke. He claims that the group has no problems in finding a consensus because the members have 'all signed up to common objectives.'

For further information on the European Group on Life Sciences, please visit:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/life- sciences/egls/index_en.html

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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