Annual Report Scientific Advisory Board

The task of the RIVM Scientific Advisory Board  is to monitor the scientific quality of the work of RIVM. This is done  by supervising and advising on the level and quality of the research carried out as well as by contributing to and further developing RIVM’s quality assurance system. The board also plays an important role as regards monitoring and improving RIVM’s scientific fields. On the basis of its findings the Board issues an annual statement about the quality of the research and RIVM’s quality assurance system. It then reports its evaluation to the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

In 2015 the Board was informed about the status of a new cycle for RIVM’s Strategic  Programme  (SPR)  for 2015-2018 and about the evaluation of the SPR programme for 2011-2014. The Board is convinced that SPR constitutes an essential building block for the quality of RIVM's work and informed the competent authority accordingly.

The Board was also informed about, and involved in the execution of, the action plan relating to the goal and structure of the evaluation of the position of the Chief Science Officer at RIVM.

In the autumn of 2014 the scientific audit entitled 'Risk Assessment and Policy Advice relating to Substances and Products' was carried out. The findings of this successfully completed scientific audit, as well as the action plan for the implementation of the recommendations, were discussed at the Board's June meeting.

The Drinking Water scientific audit was carried out in January. At the Board's request the audit committee established an explicit relationship with the national government's legally determined duty of care with regard to the sustainable safeguarding of public drinking water supplies. As a result this audit was more a policy audit than a scientific audit. The Board wishes to express its concern about the conclusions of the audit committee relating to the future resilience of the Drinking Water team and considers it essential that the discussion about reinforcing the related expertise within RIVM is started with RIVM's principal commissioning client.

Throughout 2015 the Board was informed about, and intensively involved in, the process of making  a general guideline for audits at RIVM. This guideline serves as instruction for choosing a suitable audit protocol and a proper audit methodology for all the various roles which RIVM fulfils.

The Board was previously informed about RIVM's intention to participate in the IANPHI initiative for the development of an evaluation tool for National Public Health Institutes, as well as about RIVM's aim, under the auspices of the IANPHIs management, to have a comprehensive peer evaluation carried out. In 2015 the Board was periodically informed about the run-up to and preparation of the IANPHI peer review.

In 2015 the Board was also involved in various activities which were organised within the framework of the RIVM Academy on the subject of scientific integrity. As a consequence this specific task of safeguarding scientific quality is receiving structural and sufficient attention at RIVM.

The Board states, on the basis of the information provided, the excellent results of the 'Risk Assessment and Policy Advice relating to Substances and Products' audit carried out, the follow-up Strategy of the new Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Servicesand the discussions held with the institute's management, that RIVM has again succeeded in guaranteeing the scientific quality of the research carried out at the institute.