The EMCDDA Scientific Committee has elected its new Chair and Vice-Chair for the period 2020–22. Prof. Dr. Catherine Comiskey (Ireland) was elected to the position of Chair and Prof. Dr. Henri Bergeron (France) to the position of Vice-Chair. The election took place virtually on 13 November at the Committee’s 52nd meeting.
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, selected through a public selection process based on scientific merit and independence. 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.
Prof. Dr. Catherine Comiskey, a biostatistician, held the position of Vice-Chair of the Scientific Committee from 2017–19 and of acting Vice-Chair in 2020. She has been Professor in Healthcare Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, since 2008. Prof. Dr. Comiskey’s research focuses on a range of issues, including: treatment outcomes, epidemic modelling, the children of substance users and the link between drug policy and practice. She currently sits on the Irish National Drug Strategy Implementation Committee.
Prof. Dr Henri Bergeron, a sociologist, is a senior research professor at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Sciences Po, Paris) and has been a member of the EMCDDA Scientific Committee since 2008. Prof. Dr Bergeron’s research focuses on: managing public policy; public health in France and the sociology of drugs. He currently sits on the Management Board of the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques.
The EMCDDA wishes the Chair and Vice-Chair well in their new functions. It also pays tribute to outgoing Chair Dr Anne Line Breteville-Jensen for her valuable contribution in steering the Committee in the period 2017–19 and for her role as acting Chair in 2020 (following a delay in the elections foreseen for March on account of the COVID-19 pandemic). Dr Breteville-Jensen also served as Vice-Chair from 2014–16.
The EMCDDA Director and Management Board consult the Scientific Committee on the agency’s work programmes or on any scientific matter concerning its activity. The Committee also plays a pivotal role in the agency’s risk assessment of new psychoactive substances.