Scientific & technical reference function
In keeping with its mission, the JRC strives to play a role as a centre of reference in its key competence areas through extensive networks with the relevant organisations in the Member States and, where appropriate, international organisations. Some examples of the JRC's reference functions:
- Development of reference materials, development and harmonization of measurements in support of a harmonised system of measurements in the EU and/or sector-specific legislative acts.
Read more: Providing reference
- Validation of data and measurements, particularly in the area of environment and health and consumer protection policies; JRC currently runs six European union Reference Laboratories (and their networks) in support of the implementation of various food safety control and health directives. In addition, the "European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods" validates alternative methods to animal experiments in the framework of the cosmetics directive; this validation is mandatory for such alternative methods to replace experiments on animals.
- Certification of certain types of equipment (solar cells, digital tachograph). Establishment of interoperable services in the frame of the directive on "Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community" (INSPIRE) based on harmonised data sets.
- Establishment of norms for directives and/or pre-normative research is supported by a number of experimental facilities, such as the Vehicle Emissions Laboratory, the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (Eurocodes) and test facilities for hydrogen storage and fuel cells.
- Through so-called "bureaus", JRC provides reference data (for example, the European Bureau for Wine, Alcohol and Spirit Drinks which supports anti-fraud in the European wines and spirits trade), promotes the establishment of harmonised data sets (for example, the European Soils Bureau) or of best practices with reference function (for example, the European Bureau for Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, the European Clearing House for Operational Safety Experience of Nuclear Power Plant Operators in the EU, the European Coexistence Bureau for technical measures at farm level to ensure coexistence between conventional, organic and GMO-bearing crops).
Read more: Implementation of Community law
- Operation of two on-site laboratories for nuclear safeguards in reprocessing installations.
- The JRC operates key and sometimes unique experimental infrastructures, underpinning the scientific-technical reference function, varying from nuclear research to production of certified reference material.
- In addition, the JRC hosts a large number of unique pan-European and global environmental information systems and data centres (e.g., the Global Land Cover 2000 database).
Read more: Information collection and sharing
The EU Member States are in many cases direct beneficiaries of the above activities.