Join Our Science Council

Last updated: 11 September 2023

The Chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA)and its Chief Scientific Adviser are welcoming applications for a Chair and up to 5 members to join the FSA’s Science Council.  

The Science Council is an independent expert committee of the FSA, currently comprising a Chair and 9 members. It provides high-level, expert strategic insight, challenge and advice to the FSA's Chief Scientific Adviser, and to the Board and executive of the FSA on the FSA's use of science to deliver FSA objectives. Its purpose is to help ensure that the FSA identifies, sources, integrates and uses the best scientific evidence and expertise from all relevant disciplines to inform and evaluate its work. 

Please visit the FSA’s Science Council page for further information on the Council and how it operates.  

Hear from John O'Brien, Science Council interim-Chair


Working for Science Council

We are looking for passionate, highly capable and motivated people to work with us to help identify, source and use the best scientific evidence and expertise to help inform our work, and ensure that it has real impact.  

You will help us understand how we can deploy scientific evidence and advice to deliver our current strategic priorities; to understand new developments including risks and opportunities; and to identify and develop new ways to deliver excellence in the future.   

All members of Science Council will have a strategic role, bringing their breadth of expertise and experience, and their networks to help tackle our current and evolving challenges.  

  • Applicants for the post of Science Council Chair will be leaders recognised in and beyond their field, with excellent credentials and national or international impact. They will have a track record of leading talented, multi-disciplinary teams. 

  • Applicants for the five Science Council Member vacancies will have a high level of expertise and experience of multidisciplinary working to tackle strategic challenges. They will have national or international reputation. 

Appointments will be for an initial term of three years, with the possibility of reappointment.   

We welcome applicants from outside the UK, provided they can attend meetings as needed. There will be the option to join some meetings ‘virtually’. Reasonable travel and accommodation expenses can be claimed, in accordance with the terms set out in the Guidance on Committee Fees and Expenses.  

The FSA 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 any protected characteristics or working patterns. 


Application Details

Submission closes 23rd October 2023 at 23:45. Please note: Applicants must allow for up to 72 hours between requesting and receiving the application form for any of the Science Council vacancies. Further details can be found in the ‘how to apply’ page.  


Before completing your application form, please read the person specification which contains details of the skills and knowledge required by the Chair and Member vacancies. Please also read the ‘recruitment process' to understand the criteria your application will be scored against, and the ‘how to apply’ page for details of the application form.

Please contact the SAC Recruitment Team if you have any questions. 


Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place in December 2023 and January 2024, and will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. 

Appointments will be confirmed in February 2024. 

Induction will take place in March 2024.  


Person Specification

We are looking for committed, capable and motivated science and industry experts to join the Science Council to provide independent advice. The FSA’s fundamental mission is food you can trust. By food you can trust, we mean a food system in which ‘Food is safe’; ‘Food is what it says it is’ and ‘Food is healthier and more sustainable’.

As an expert on the Science Council, you will provide high-level strategic insight and challenge. You will also advise our Chief Scientific Adviser, as well as the Board and FSA executive, on the use of science to deliver FSA objectives. As part of your role on Science Council, you will work with colleagues from a range of scientific disciplines, as well as non-scientific experts and lay members. 

Previously Science Council has worked on a diverse range of projects including data usage and digital technology, risk analysis processes, as well as food system risks and horizon scanning.  

Applicants to Science Council must provide examples and evidence that they meet one of the required expertise below and the published selection criteria on the recruitment process page.

Applicants must have a breadth of expertise and networks and experience of multidisciplinary working to tackle strategic challenges. Expertise and experience should be relevant to FSA’s role, strategic priorities and reflect the FSA’s approach to science

We are looking for up to 6 new members to join the Science Council each with expertise in one of the following areas: 

  • A Chair

  • An expert in chemical safety  

  • An expert in food regulation and production 

  • A social scientist with expertise in food systems 

  • An economist with expertise in the economics of food and health

    • An understanding of the economics of agriculture and the environment is also desirable

  • An environmental sustainability expert 


Appointments to the Science Council are made strictly on merit by a fair and open process in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice, taking account of equality and diversity. 
Committee members are not employed by the FSA and appointments are not salaried. Members will receive fees for preparation and attendance of meetings, in line with the Guidance on Committees Fees and Expenses

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. 

Further details on How to Apply.


Ways of Working

The Science Council uses Microsoft Teams as a platform to share documents and information and to hold some virtual meetings. Members will be required to access and use Microsoft Teams effectively as part of their role. This will require access to a computer with a stable internet connection and a webcam. 


Time Commitment

The Science Council holds approximately four, one-day, meetings per year. These will be a mixture of ‘virtual’ and ‘in-person’ meetings. In-person meetings are usually held in London. Working groups may also be formed between meetings. The FSA may also request advice from Science Council 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 approximately 10 days per year, including attendance at four meetings. 


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 matters in their personal or professional history that could draw into question their ability to fulfil this role, and it is important that candidates bring 
such matters to the attention of the panel.



Members cannot hold any paid or high-profile unpaid posts in a political party, and cannot engage in specific political activities on matters directly affecting the work of this body.


Other information

We welcome applications from existing members of government Scientific Advisory Committees or Councils; however, applicants must list relevant current appointments in the application to identify any cross-membership and assess any potential conflicts of interest.