The task of the SPC is to generally advise Council on scientific matters related to the Organization, namely
Members of the SPC are appointed by Council on the proposal made by the SPC Chair. The proposed names should have the support of at least two-thirds of the members of the SPC. The appointments, for a period of three years, renewable once, are "ad personam", solely on the basis of scientific competence.
1. to make recommendations to the Council on the priorities of research programmes and the allocation of research effort both within the Laboratories of the Organization and extramurally;
2. to examine and make recommendations to the Council on the annual goals of the various scientific activities of the Organization;
3. to annually assess the achievements of the Organization with regard to the past year annual goals of the various scientific activities;
4. to advise the Council from the point of view of scientific policy on the management and staffing of the Organization, including the visitors programme and the nomination of senior staff;
5. to advise the Council on any other matters which affect the scientific activities of the Organization.
The SPC generally holds four sessions per year, during Council weeks, plus one special session to examine the scientific plans of the Organization for the years ahead. Some of the work of the SPC is prepared by ad-hoc panels, created internally when the need so arises to debate specific issues.
The SPC also advises the European Strategy Sessions of Council and the SPC Chair is a member of the Secretariat of those sessions.