Joint Research Centre - European Commission

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

Competitiveness and innovation

The JRC supports a competitive EU market through its development of internationally accepted reference materials and the promotion of a common European measurement system. Other JRC work in this area includes econometric studies, data gathering and also projects related to clean technologies and the safety of chemicals or the harmonisation of data.


Reference materials, reference measurements and standards

A direct impact of JRC work on competitiveness is found in its capacity to develop reference materials, reference measurements methods and other standards in various facets of economic life. Trade relies on global reference measurement systems consisting of reference laboratories, materials, and methods - many of them based on metrological principles. Therefore, quality assurance tools, in particular the development and production of reference materials, reference measurements and horizontal assessments will be pursued in a broad range of policy areas which have a strong impact for example on European industry (as in chemicals and cosmetics), on European independence in the energy sector, or on the preoccupation of the citizen with food safety and GMOs.



The JRC, in close co-operation with Eurostat, addresses the growing demand for the development of a Commission in-house capacity to operate advanced econometric modelling and sensitivity analyses in a wide range of policy fields. Priority is given to the financial, internal market and fiscal policies, as well as education policy. Associated with this an activity responding to the emerging demand for a better understanding of the relationship between the needs of the knowledge society and the provision of education, in particular with regard to the common evaluation of the efficiency of investments in education in Member States.


Indicators and intelligence for the knowledge society

This area covers a range of research and monitoring activities dedicated to the Lisbon Agenda in terms of indicators and scoreboards, demographics of skilled manpower, as well as process and conditions for stimulating industrial innovation. It will provide guidance on the development of research policy items, on the Lisbon agenda, on stimulating the knowledge society objectives, and on improving employment in advanced and innovative sectors of the European economy.


Clean technology assessment

Many items in the JRC Work Programme contribute to the development and use of clean technologies, such as the activities grouped under the natural resources topic. Indeed, the environmental dimension is one of the pillars of sustainable development which receives attention throughout the programme. This area of work specifically focuses on implications of clean technologies in a production-consumption context.



The new European chemicals policy sets the framework for the safety of chemicals and products. The JRC provides additional scientific and technical support in focusing on

  • Continuing role of the European Chemicals Bureau in the assessment of chemicals until the European Chemicals Agency is in full operation.
  • Support to the implementation of the current and new European chemicals policy, including the development and maintenance of the guidance tools and management systems; provision of relevant information to EU external partners and other nations.
  • Development of approaches for integrated chemical risk assessment applied more particularly to ecotoxicology.

These activities are carried out with a view to develop a system of reference for integrated risk assessment in support of the body of EU chemicals legislation (such as REACH, 7th Amendment to the Cosmetics Directive, General Product Safety Directive, Water Framework directive and IPPC.


Data Harmonisation

The competitiveness of the European economy also benefits from increased access to harmonised information and interoperable services related to the reporting on items of community policy relevance. In the area of environment and natural resources a specific effort is made in the context of the INSPIRE Directive and the Shared Environmental Information system (SEIS). The JRC also contributes to the data and information management for GMES and in the context of the Water Framework Directive, an action is dedicated to the maintenance of a reference community information system on water quality. In all these fields, the JRC closely cooperates with Eurostat.


Details on scientific actions in this area:

  • Community Image Data Portal Read more
  • Analytic Methods for Financial and Economic Protection Read more
  • European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau Read more
  • Industrial Research and Innovation Read more
  • Sustainable Production and Consumption Read more
  • European Reference Materials # Technology developments and quality management Read more
  • Statistical Indicators for Policy Assessment Read more
  • Support to European measurement infrastructure (and CRL for heavy metals) Read more
  • Community Spatial Information Network Read more
  • Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe Read more