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So Many Letters

A flurry of letters has been sent in favor of and against the chief scientific adviser position at the European Commission, the Guardian reports. The position was established in 2012 by José Manuel Barroso, the current EC president, and has been held since then by Anne Glover, a biologist from the University of Aberdeen.

Nine non-governmental organizations have written letters to the incoming EC president Jean-Claude Juncker, calling for the position to be eliminated. The NGOs argue that the role is "fundamentally problematic" and that it concentrates scientific power into one un-elected role. The NGOs, which include Greenpeace and he Health and Environment Alliance, also take issue with the current adviser's stance on genetically modified organisms.

In their own letters, a number of scientific organizations argue for the chief scientific adviser position and say that it should be strengthened and expanded. Signatories of those letters include the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK.

"There will always be those who attack the messenger because they do not like the message but when that message is backed up by the scientific evidence, politicians should be smart enough to listen to the independent scientific experts," Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, says.

The Guardian adds that the decision is up to Juncker when he takes office later this year.