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Europe’s Scientific Community Calls for Respect

Published on the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) website, an open letter calls upon the European Parliament to encourage society to respect independent science advice and to condemn physical attacks on scientists.
The letter, prompted by an incident at the European Food Safety Authority in Parma June 7, was addressed to the president and vice-president of the European Parliament, as well as the president of the European Commission and the commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.
According to the letter, publicly-funded scientists are experiencing an increasing number of threats, not just in Europe but around the world including in the United States, Australasia, the Philippines and in Latin America.
An excerpt from the letter reads:

“Threats to publicly funded scientists are threats to a society which relies on their independent evidence. We see these attacks as resulting from a science-hostile trend that is spreading and inspiring such extremist acts. What is at stake is the independence of science and its essential role in the democratic system of decision-making.
“We can no longer remain silent. These violent acts demonstrate a dangerous intolerance of openly expressed expert opinions and of democratic, social and scientific development. We believe in reason and dialogue. Through our work we aim to stimulate innovation, improve livelihoods, minimise environmental impact and provide for a better future. Furthermore,
independent scientific advice is crucial to informed debate and appropriate decision-making on complex issues. We are convinced that such acts of aggression not only impede progress, but also destabilise society and undermine democracy.”

The letter was signed by more than 35 scientific organizations, some of which include the Federation of European Societies of Plant Biology, Swiss Society of Agronomy, Italian Society of Agricultural Genetics, Global Plant Council, French Society of Plant Biologists and the European Academies Science Advisory Council.
To read the entire letter, visit