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PERA: Building a European Partnership for next generation, systems-based Environmental Risk Assessment

PERA aims to create an overarching framework within which relevant partners can be identified and connected to create a roadmap for the transition to the next generation systems approach for environmental risk assessment (ERA). 

The PERA approach is multi-disciplinary, linking previously separate ‘silos’ within regulatory ERA as well as extending the scope to include those facets necessary for the systems approach.

By utilizing proven social science approaches to develop a targeted consensus, PERA will build the roadmap with the aim of harmonising ERA approaches, thereby including key actors, relevant activities, viewpoints and ERA domains.

The systems approach is a paradigm shift for ERA and therefore requires careful planning to implement the EFSA vision,taking into account the previous work done, for example by the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors in 2018 for pesticides, to develop a virtual centre of excellence: the Partnership (PERA). Including a platform of tools to support and iteratively improve the systems ERA, PERA will:

  • Connect relevant partners (e.g. national competent authorities/agencies, EU Member States, EU Agencies, Commission Services, policy makers, risk managers, risk assessors, scientific community and civil society) from various sectors, across regulatory silos, and improve cooperation between these partners;
  • Accelerate the development of new/complementary tools and methods, and the uptake of innovative tools and methods for regulatory ERA;
  • Promote and facilitate the sharing of data (including their findability, accessibility, interoperability and reuse) andexpertise, and the establishment of an EU-wide cross-disciplinary network of risk assessors and risk managers (e.g. community of practice);
  • Improve efficiency and transparency;
  • Overcome the challenges of a fragmented regulatory/policy landscape.


The PERA project is led by Head of SEEL at Coimbra University, and SESS partner, Assoc. Prof. Paulo Sousa. The AU SESS team is involved throughout the project.


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James Henty Williams

Researcher Department of Ecoscience - Biodiversity and Conservation

Project duration    



European Food Safety Authority