Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

From left to right: Robert Wood, Dominique Ristori and James Elles (26 September 2013)

From left to right: Robert Wood, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim at the US Mission to the EU, JRC Director-General, Dominique Ristori and James Elles, Member of the European Parliament.© EU, 2013

Building a Transatlantic Scientific Bridge on Eco-Industries


With the close cooperation of the US mission to the EU, the JRC organised a high-level meeting on Thursday 26 September in order to examine the scientific potential to support eco-industries and technologies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Eco-industries, including sectors such as air pollution management and control or waste collection and treatment, can play an important role in reconciling competitiveness and sustainability. In addition, with their potential for innovation and technological development, eco-industry companies can create and drive economic growth and jobs. Indeed, the global eco-technologies market is estimated to account for €2200 billion by 2020.

In his opening remarks, JRC Director-General Dominique Ristori underlined that eco-industries are a shared priority for the EU and the US, providing common challenges and opportunities which call for joint actions in a number of fields like sustainable manufacturing, the low-carbon economy and the water, waste and bio-economy. Mr Ristori also emphasized that scientific support is a crucial prerequisite for the development of these industries. To support innovation, however, market and trade barriers have to be overcome and science, including pre-normative research and common standards in particular, is of paramount importance. The official opening of the meeting also included speeches by MEP James Elles, US Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and Robert Wood, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim at the US Mission to the EU.

The debates focused on how to create a smart and energy efficient environment; the way towards innovative sustainable manufacturing; on scientific support to water resources management, bio-economy and waste management; and the future for the transatlantic scientific cooperation on eco-industries, in particular in the field of standards.

Conclusions highlighted the need to prioritise and enhance scientific support, and for sustained and systematic interaction between science and key stakeholders, including industry. In addition, eco-industries should be more consumer-oriented and could benefit from more international cooperation, since the EU and the US have the potential to lead with their examples.

The eco-industries event was organised back-to-back with the EU-US Science Parks roundtable, held the day before. Wednesday's discussions focused on how science, business, academia and industry can best collaborate to support the deployment of smart grids, electricity networks that are set up to continuously respond to the behaviour and actions of producers and consumers. Key recommendations were used for yesterday's conference on eco-industries.