EMCDDA Scientific Committee elects new leaders

Scientific Committee — elections for chair and vice chair

The EMCDDA Scientific Committee, meeting in Lisbon this week, elected its new Chair and Vice Chair for the next three years. Dr Marina Davoli (Italian) was elected by an overwhelming majority to the position of Chair and Prof. Dr Gerhard Bühringer (German) to the position of Vice Chair.

The Scientific Committee plays a major role in the EMCDDA’s efforts to attain scientific excellence. It is composed of 15 high-level scientists from the EU Member States plus one from Norway, selected through a public selection process based on scientific merit and independence. The EMCDDA Director and Management Board consult the Committee on the agency’s work programmes or on any scientific matter concerning its activity. The Committee plays a pivotal role in the agency’s risk assessment of new psychoactive substances.    

Since members of the Committee are appointed in a personal capacity, they are required to provide opinions independently of their country and of the Community institutions.

Dr Davoli, who held the position of Vice Chair of the Scientific Committee from February 2008 to May 2011, is the second woman to head the Committee since its establishment in 1995. Trained as a medical doctor and epidemiologist, she is currently Director of Lazio Regional Health Service’s Department of Epidemiology, a centre for drug addiction and the evaluation of healthcare interventions. Dr Davoli serves on a number of scientific advisory boards in Italy and abroad, including the World Health Organization’s international technical expert group for developing guidelines for the treatment of opioid dependence. She is also Coordinating editor of the Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Review Group.

Prof. Dr Bühringer, a psychologist, has been scientific director of the German IFT Institut für Therapieforschung since 1973 and, since 2005, Professor for addiction research at the Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at the Technische Universität, Dresden. He also sits on a number of national and international scientific committees and advisory boards, including: the German Centre for Addiction Issues (DHS) and the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors (ISAJE).

Both are members of a variety of prestigious editorial boards and peer-review panels and have published extensively in the field of drugs and drug addiction.

The EMCDDA wishes the Chair and Vice Chair well in their new functions. It also pays tribute to outgoing Chairman Professor Michael Farrell (Irish) for his valuable contribution in steering the Committee over the last three years. Professor Farrell, who will remain a Committee member, has recently been appointed Director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), Australia.

During the meeting, the members expressed their gratitude to EMCDDA staff member Margareta Nilson, who has been responsible for liaison with the Scientific Committee since 2005, and who will be retiring from the agency in the autumn after 16 years of service.

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