We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
Vincenzo Rondinella, Dimitrios Papaioannou, Ramil Nasyrow and Jean-Paul Glatz from the JRC Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) received, together with their co-authors, the 2009 Significant Contribution Award by the Materials Science and Technology Division of the American Nuclear Society for their paper entitled "Characterization of Metallic Fuel for the Transmutation of Minor Actinides in Fast Reactor".
On 10 June, a collaboration agreement between the JRC and the NORMAN association (Network of Reference Laboratories for Monitoring of Emerging Environmental Pollutants) was signed in Stresa, Italy to improve coordination of research on "emerging pollutants". The signing took place at the joint JRC-NORMAN workshop on river-basin specific pollutants in the context of the European Water Framework Directive.
Roland Schenkel, Director General of the JRC, and Elena Santiago Cid, Director General of the European Committee for Standardization and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, expressed their mutual desire to continue their cooperation in the field of standardisation and pre-normative and co-normative research by signing a renewed collaboration agreement.
The Commission decided today to encourage industry, governments and NGOs to set up sustainability certification schemes for all types of biofuels, including those imported into the EU, by adopting important explanatory communications on the sustainability scheme, and a decision on a carbon stock guideline which lay down what the schemes must do to be recognised by the Commission.
The Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine and the JRC Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP) have kicked off collaboration to support risk management and improve consumer protection through new approaches in the areas of nanotechnology and alternative methods to animal testing. On 6 June, the organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the occasion of the EU-China Food Safety Scientific Seminar at the Shanghai World Expo. Both institutions provide technical support for policy makers and aim to reinforce their co-operation in scientific research for consumer products safety.
In the frame of the third edition of Aria Nuova, a public event organized by Autodromo di Monza and Regione Lombardia dedicated to environmentally friendly transport, a group of 20 journalists participated in the "Eco-race" (a competition with 10 cars running on alternative fuels/engines from Monza to Ispra and back, based on the best performance in terms of fuel consumption). Once in Ispra, the journalists visited the Vehicle Emission Laboratory at the JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES). One of the cars participating in the race, a LPG vehicle, was then tested in VELA to measure its emissions and fuel consumption.
The European Commission published on 18 May a report on the progress of Member States in addressing water scarcity and droughts. Despite more rainfall in southern European countries in 2009 than in previous years, greater efforts are still needed to stop and reverse the over-exploitation of Europe's limited water resources. An effective water pricing policy, water efficiency and water saving measures are essential to ensure that Europe has enough good quality water to meet the needs of users and to face the challenges of a changing climate.
The Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector is by far the largest investor in private research and development (R&D) in the EU, with 25% of total investment in 2007. According to a new report published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, the ICT sector's leadership is due to its market dynamism, technological innovative capacity and the fact that ICT fosters competitiveness and productivity in the rest of the economy. In 2007, ICT companies employed 32% of the researchers working in the private sector and accounted for 4.8% of GDP in the EU, while in the US the percentage reached 6.4%.
On 4 – 6 May, the JRC is hosting an exhibition of its activities at the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels. The exhibition was opened by Vice President of the EP Diana Wallis and EU Research Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, who presented the just published Soil Atlas of the Northern Circumpolar Region. During the three days, leading scientists from the JRC Institutes demonstrate their work and discuss with Members of the EP and visitors how the JRC's research supports EU decision makers in the conception, development, implementation and assessment of EU policies.