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Cefas' World-Class Science Praised in Independent Review

Sustainability Post-harvest Politics +3 more

UK - A recent independent Science Review of Cefas found that its general level of science is "excellent and in several areas is leading at the European and global level".

The Science Review (PDF, 611KB), carried out at the behest of the Chief Scientific Adviser of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said that Cefas presented a clear and achievable strategy for the integrated development of business, science and people.

Further, it praised the management of its international-level science, improvements in its financial position and increasing diverse customer base. The quality of scientific and technical staff at all levels of the organisation was considered "a key strength".

The report highlights that Cefas:

  • provides excellent national emergency response capabilities, statutory monitoring and inspection services
  • provides high-quality science and advice for Defra and its other customers
  • has used self-investment very successfully to build science capability for the future.

The Review panel recognised that significant progress had been made since Cefas' last Science Review in 2005. To build on this progress the report makes 28 recommendations for both Cefas and Defra to address, which aim to foster further improvement in a variety of areas.

Mike Waldock, Cefas' Interim Chief Executive and Chief Scientist at the time of the Review, said: "We are delighted with this very positive report. It praises our work in underpinning policy development and making a significant contribution to research.

"Our science is also helping to support a thriving marine industry, which is playing a part in delivering sustainable growth for the UK.

"In addition to the positive remarks in the report, there are some areas where further improvement could be made. We will now take these forward by working closely with Defra."

The focus will be on Cefas' future strategies in developing new science areas, working agreements between Cefas and Defra, and maximising Cefas' opportunities with potential customers. In addition, the reviewers recommended the replacement of Cefas' Lowestoft laboratory building, if future budgets allow.

A response to the report - also published today - was co-authored by Cefas and Defra. The two government bodies will work together to address the recommendations.

The full report and recommendations, along with the joint response, are available from the Defra website.