JRC-IPTS activities

JRC-IPTS focuses on five major research fields – knowledge for growth, information society, agriculture and global food security, sustainable production and consumption and economics of climate change, energy and transport. It provides policy makers with tools to prepare and justify policy initiatives and later to evaluate them.

Policy and impact assessment studies

IPTS' role is in the interface between science and policy and carries out – in collaboration with other Directorates-General – cost-benefit analyses of policy options within the context of horizontal societal challenges: employment, environment, competitiveness and security.

A solid toolbox of quantitative modelling instruments, databases and analytical capabilities is dedicated to policy studies of the Commission in several of fields, for example:

  • to facilitate the development of EU Innovation Union and Cohesion policies and assess their impact on growth and employment;
  • to assess Digital Agenda policies towards economic recovery and competitiveness (including the Single Digital Market and the eHealth Action Plan), to explore the conditions for digital competences and the impact of ICT for employment/employability, cultural diversity and socio-economic inclusion;
  • to analyse the contribution of the agricultural sector to EU's innovation and growth assessing rural development, food security, trade, and technological innovation in the EU and globally;
  • to address issues related to the carbon economy and the impacts of climate change under the focus of Europe 2020 priorities - Resource-efficient Europe, Innovation Union, Industrial Policy for Globalisation;
  • to analyse the policy mix to support the development of the Green Economy: emissions, voluntary agreements, environmental policies, environmental fiscal reform or trade.

Economic modelling

JRC-IPTS develops and manages econometric models to support impact assessments and prepare evidence for political decision-makers on the advantages and disadvantages of possible policy options and scenarios. The Institute uses sectoral models in key areas such as energy, transport, climate change, agriculture and product policies.

IPTS produces high-quality data (e.g. economic input-output tables at world scale, economic data at firm level or consistent agriculture data) needed for the modelling activities.

Building a strong base of modelling capacity permits to interface sectoral models and respond to high-level policy challenges (e.g. economic impact of climate change, impact of transport policies on regional GDP)

Some examples of their application include:

Several Directorates-General (DGs) (DG Enterprise and Industry, DG Taxation and Customs, DG Economic and Financial Affairs, and DG Health and Consumers) require customised by-products of the above, targeted to specific issues of their interest.

Technical Bureaux

Bureaux services provide techno-economic assessments for EU decisions and policy implementation. JRC-IPTS has been appointed by several EC legislative acts, as the responsible actor to manage several of these services.

  • The European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (lPPC) Bureau produces reference documents on Best Available Techniques building on the Industrial Emissions Directive;
  • Development of implementing acts and secondary legislation under technical working group processes, for example product policy -  Eco-label Regulation, Green Public Procurement, Eco-design Regulation, Eco-management and audit scheme regulation - and the Directive on Waste (in particular Article 6 on end-of-waste criteria);
  • European Coexistence Bureau (ECoB) responsible for the definition of commonly agreed, EU-wide technical segregation measures between genetically modified, conventional and organic agriculture;
  • The European GMO Socio-Economics Bureau organises and facilitates the exchange of technical and scientific information regarding the socio-economic implications and use of GMOs between Member States and the Commission.

Intelligence Platforms

Evidence-based policy-making is often hampered by a lack of relevant, reliable and up-to-date information that is structured and readily accessible. Intelligence platforms are designed to meet that need.

The following platforms are operated by IPTS:

  • Erawatch provides regularly updated policy-relevant information on the research systems of Member States, Associated States, and competitor countries;
  • Scoreboard of Industrial Research Investment provides annual analyses on the performance of the world’s top corporate investors in R&D to improve understanding of the role of various innovation factors on growth of innovative companies;
  • Innovation Union Information and Intelligence System (I3S) shall ensure that stakeholders are well informed on the implementation of the 34 Commitments of the Innovation Union;
  • Smart Specialisation Platform  provides regions with ex-ante support and ex-post assessment of some of these strategies as well as practical information and methodologies.