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Record ID
Date of creation
2016-09-09 20:13 UTC (dina.abdelhakim@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2016-09-09 20:14 UTC (dina.abdelhakim@cbd.int)

General Information
Guidance on Uncertainty in EFSA Scientific Assessment
European Food Safety Authority
  • English
Publication date
Summary, abstract or table of contents
To meet the general requirement for transparency in EFSA's work, all its scientific assessments must include consideration of uncertainty. Assessments must say clearly and unambiguously what sources of uncertainty have been identified and what is their impact on the final assessment outcome: what range of outcomes is possible, and how probable they are. The Guidance is applicable to all areas of EFSA, all types of scientific assessment and all types of uncertainty affecting scientific assessment. It does not prescribe specific methods for uncertainty analysis but rather provides a harmonised and flexible framework within which different methods may be selected, according to the needs of each assessment. Worked examples are provided to illustrate different methods. Expert judgement plays a key role in uncertainty analysis, as in other aspects of scientific assessment. Assessors should be systematic in identifying sources of uncertainty, checking each part of their assessment to minimise the risk of overlooking important uncertainties. Uncertainty may be expressed qualitatively or quantitatively. It is not necessary or possible to quantify separately every individual source of uncertainty affecting an assessment. However, assessors should express in quantitative terms the combined effect of as many as possible of the identified sources of uncertainty. Practical approaches to facilitate this are described. Uncertainty analysis should be conducted in a flexible, iterative manner, starting at a level appropriate to the assessment in hand and then refining the analysis as far as is needed or possible within the time available. Some steps may be reduced or omitted in emergency situations and in routine assessments with standardised provision for uncertainty. Sensitivity analysis and other methods for investigating influence are used to target refinement on those sources of uncertainty where it will contribute most. The methods and results of all steps of the uncertainty analysis should be reported fully and transparently. Every EFSA Panel and EFSA Units that produce scientific outputs should apply the draft Guidance to at least one assessment during a trial period of one year, involving relevant decision-makers and supported by specialists in uncertainty analysis where needed. When the trial period is completed and any resulting improvements to the Guidance Document have been agreed, uncertainty analysis will be unconditional for EFSA Panels and staff and must be embedded into scientific assessment in all areas of EFSA's work.
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  • Article (journal / magazine / newspaper)