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Fera support Expert Knowledge Elicitation at EFSA

Fera support Expert Knowledge Elicitation at EFSA

Fera is helping to bring new rigour to the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) use of expert knowledge and opinion by delivering training in the latest elicitation methodologies.

Elicitation is the process of extracting expert knowledge about some unknown quantity of interest, or the probability of some future event, which can then be used to supplement numerical data. These techniques quantify uncertainty and reduce sources of bias affecting expert judgements. They are especially important when there is limited data available, giving decision makers greater clarity about the best course of action to take.

A consortium led by Fera has won four 4-year contracts to deliver a suite of high quality training courses that will enable the EFSA to an implement Expert Knowledge Elicitation in its scientific assessments. The programme includes a two-day course in steering the elicitation process, three one-day courses focussed on particular techniques – the ‘Sheffield’ method, the Cooke method and a Delphi method – and a half day information course for managers. The consortium includes leading experts on elicitation from Strathclyde, Warwick, Leeds and Newcastle Universities and several independent consultants.

Andy Hart, Lead Scientist on Risk Analysis at Fera said: “We are delighted to be working with EFSA to support the application of these powerful techniques in the vital area of food safety. At a time when some commentators are claiming people have had enough of experts these methods increase confidence in their use and have huge potential benefits for both industry and the public sector more generally.”

The consortium members are University of Strathclyde, University of Warwick, University of Leeds, University of Newcastle, Professor A O’Hagan Ltd, Dr Fergus Bolger, Dr Hans-Hermann Thulke, Dr Gene Rowe