The JRC earns additional income through work carried out on a competitive basis. This work allows the JRC to benchmark itself against other research centres, to acquire new expertise and know-how, and to share its own competences and facilities.
The first step in opening the JRC up to competition dates back to 1988 when Work for Third Parties was introduced. The main purposes of this initiative were to provide a measure of the relevance of JRC’s work and its competitive position, to enhance technology transfer and to increase access to JRC’s specialised infrastructures.
As from 1995, the first year of the Fourth Framework Programme, the JRC can also participate in Community Programmes on an equal basis with national partners from research and industry. This was a result of the Council Conclusions of April 1994 on the role of the JRC which emphasised the need for the JRC to pursue and reinforce its move towards a more competitive approach on the basis of a genuine customer / contractor relationship.
A few years later, the new mission with more focus on customer-driven support for EU policy-making, led to increased JRC scientific and technical support for Commission services.
Hence, JRC competitive activities can be divided into three categories:
Participation in Framework Programme Indirect Actions
The so-called indirect actions are mainly collaborative projects for which the JRC, together with partners from Member States, submits proposals in the context of calls for proposals.
Support to Commission services
In the first years this support mainly consisted of JRC’s participation in Community actions such as PHARE and TACIS. Over the years, this support became much more diversified and the number of Commission services requesting additional work from JRC significantly increased.
JRC support to DG AIDCO in the framework of the TACIS Programme
In the context of the TACIS Nuclear Safety Programme, cooperation frameworks have been established between the JRC and Russia (MINATOM and Gozatomnadzor) and Ukraine (Institute for Nuclear Research - INR), as an important component of the European Union's strategy in the field of non proliferation and combating illicit trafficking. Several projects have been carried out in the last ten years in order to strengthen the cooperation between the CIS countries and the European Commission in the field of nuclear safeguards.
Current TACIS safeguards projects will intensify fight against illicit trafficking, while sustaining the Nuclear Material Accountancy & Control of important Nuclear Materials flows in the civil fuel cycle, including spent fuels from Navy (submarines and ice-breakers). Projects will also be extended geographically to other CIS countries with relevant fields of interest; in particular, concerning illicit trafficking, protection of outer borders of the possible enlarged Europe will be addressed through pilot projects in Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russian Federation.
JRC support to the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) Bureau of DG Enterprise
The Institute for Environment and Sustainability and the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen deliver technical and scientific support to the GMES bureau. This support aims at enabling the Bureau to produce a coordinated implementation strategy for the introduction and management of GMES services. It will also contribute to the definition of a methodology for the implementation of operational GMES services, stimulate the emergence of new GMES services, and support the Bureau's consultation with stakeholders.
A number of JRC staff is put at the disposal of the Bureau for a limited period of time to assist with the start up the Bureau.
Third Party Work
The term "third party work" encompasses research and supply of services under contract to third parties, such as industry, national or regional authorities. This also includes contracts in the context of Member States’ research programmes.
Reduction of Air Pollution in the Lombardy Region and Po Valley
In the frame of an Agreement between the Lombardy Region and the JRC a multi-annual programme, called 'Structural Measures for Air Quality' was set up. Through this programme JRC will provide scientific and technical assistance, focussing on four task: (1) identification of air pollution origin, (2) studying technological options for the abatement of emissions from transport; in particular the retrofitting of tracks with new filtering device for micro particles, (3) air quality monitoring, and (4) development of possible emissions scenarios of impact assessments.
Scientific experiments will mainly be carried out in Ispra where JRC operates a leading international Reference Center for Atmospheric Air Quality and Transport Emissions.