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The person behind the algorithm and the cow in a haystack: risk assessment on the big stage at the BfR Science Slam

48/2017, 04.12.2017

The 2nd BfR Science Slam will present surprising findings from risk assessment and research

To mark its 15th anniversary, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is staging the 2nd BfR Science Slam on 4 December, at 7.30 pm a the "Heimathafen Neukölln" venue in Berlin. In this slam competition in front of an audience, BfR scientists will present findings from the fields of risk assessment and research in an entertaining and informative manner. At the end of the evening, the level of applause from the audience will decide which slammer gave the most convincing performance. "The BfR Science Slam debunks the widespread image of dry scientific lectures - this is an event that promotes a fascination with science and research, showing that science is not boring but can keep an audience on the edge of their seats with surprising and sometimes amazing findings", says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. The event will be compered by forensic biologist and author Dr. Mark Benecke, known from radio and television.

The BfR has been engaged in scientific activity for 15 years now in the endeavour to protect human health. As part of its anniversary celebrations, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is raising the curtain for exciting topics from the field of risk assessment and research at the 2nd BfR Science Slam. Scientists from the BfR will take to the stage this evening at the Heimathafen Neukölln venue in Berlin to present findings and insights from different areas of risk assessment. And the short lectures should be as entertaining as possible, as it is the volume of applause from the audience that decides which slammer has been most successful in imparting a passion for research and providing exciting insights into the field of consumer health protection. The winner will be announced at the end of the evening.

The BfR scientists will be vying for the favour of the non-expert audience with their brief presentations and will only have a few minutes to outline their research findings. The aim is to present complex topics in a way that is interesting, entertaining and easy to understand.

The diversity of the working areas at the BfR is also reflected in the program for the Science Slam: "Algorithms on the advance - how much human input remains in the program?", "Tattoos and the scientific perspective - are people who get tattoos crazy?" and "In search of the cow in the haystack - just how authentic is the food we eat?" are just some of the topics covered by the slamming scientists.

The idea behind the BfR Science Slam is based on the statutory remit of the BfR to ensure transparency and to communicate health risks arising from food, products and chemicals in a way that can be easily understood by laypersons. With these scientific sparring sessions, the Institute breaks out of its daily work routine and outlines its work in an entertaining format.

Around 380 guests are expected to attend the 2nd BfR Science Slam. You can find more information (in German) at

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

The BfR is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the institute has published a jubilee brochure (in German) which can be downloaded or ordered free of charge at

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.


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