Appointments to the Advisory Committee for Social Science

Last updated:
3 April 2018
ACSS social science
Chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Heather Hancock has announced the appointment of an independent Chair and eight independent members to the Agency’s new Advisory Committee for Social Science (ACSS).

The ACSS will provide expert strategic advice to the Agency on its use of the social sciences, including new and emerging methods, processes and systems to interrogate data. Its purpose is to help the FSA utilise these sciences and approaches to inform, shape and deliver its strategic objectives and understand its impact.

Professor Susan Michie will chair the ACSS. She is a Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London. Susan is both nationally, and internationally, recognised as an expert in her field, with Fellowships at the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences, Academy of Social Sciences, as well as the USA’s Academy of Behavioural Medicine Research and its Society of Behavioural Medicine. 

The eight newly appointed members of the ACSS are: Ms Julie Hill, Professor George Gaskell, Professor Spencer Henson, Mr John McTernan, Professor Julie Barnett, Dr Hannah Lambie-Mumford, Professor Dan Rigby, and Dr Seda Erdem. Ms Julie Hill has been appointed as the Deputy Chair of the ACSS.

Heather Hancock has said: 'Understanding business and consumer behaviour, the economics of food, what influences the success of regulatory measures and consumer messages, are all critical to delivering effective consumer protection in relation to food.  We have created the new Advisory Committee for Social Science to strengthen the advice and challenge the FSA receives from a broad field of social science, ensuring that our work is underpinned by the best available evidence.

I’m delighted that Professor Susan Michie has agreed to chair the new Committee, bringing her extensive experience within social and behavioural science, and that we have appointed such an exciting, multidisciplinary team of distinguished experts with outstanding international reputations to work with us during a period of considerable change.'

Professor Susan Michie has said: 'The translation of social and behavioural scientific expertise into policy and practice is an important part of my work and I am delighted to have the opportunity to show the relevance and added value of the social and behavioural sciences to the FSA working alongside the experts on this Committee.'

The establishment of the ACSS implements a key recommendation of the FSA’s Triennial Review of its Scientific Advisory Committees. The ACSS will be an independent, expert committee of the FSA, providing strategic advice, including how the FSA can bring together different types of evidence, approaches and information on a multidisciplinary level to address and evaluate strategic problems.

The ACSS will supersede the Agency’s Social Science Research Committee (SSRC), which is now formally dissolved.

The recruitment exercise for the new ACSS was carried out through open competition. Members have been appointed for initial terms of three years, with the possibility of reappointment.