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.
Scientists at the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) have released an innovative Post Harvest Losses Information System, generating figures for the Post Harvest Losses (PHLs) of cereal crops in Eastern and Southern Africa and documenting in a transparent manner the sources and factors in play such as climatic conditions, types of farm and pests. The system is fully accessible online at http://www.phlosses.net.
The European Commission has presented on 12 June draft legislation to achieve a higher level of protection of health and environment. This proposal aims at significantly increasing the safety of biocide products used and placed on the market in the European Union. It proposes to phase out the most hazardous substances, particularly those that may cause cancer, and to introduce new rules for articles such as furniture and textiles treated with biocides, which are not covered by existing legislation. It introduces simplified legislation, whilst providing new incentives for companies to develop safer products against harmful pests and germs. The Helsinki-based European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will be involved in the authorisation of some of these products through a centralised approach. The proposal should enter into force in 2013.
The European Commission and the US Environmental Protection Agency have agreed today to make new ambitious specifications for computers, copiers and printers under the EU-US Energy Star Programme. The new criteria are effective from 1 July, and are expected to trigger 22 TWh electricity savings during the next four to six years in the EU which is comparable to the annual electricitiy consumption of Ireland. ENERGY STAR is part of the EU's strategy to better manage energy demand, contribute to security of energy supply and mitigate climate change.
The Annual reports 2008 from the JRC Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) and Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) are now available. These reports give an overview of the activities, accomplishments and resources related to the Institutes' work carried out in 2008.
A new series of working papers on Research and Development (R&D) recently published by the JRC reveal that R&D intensity (the ratio of investment in R&D against sales) by European companies is comparable or higher than the same ratio for companies in other parts of the world, including the US.
The 2nd European Conference on Corporate R&D (CONCORD-2010), focussing on Corporate R&D – An engine for growth, a challenge for European policy, will take place in Seville (Spain), on 3 - 4 March 2010. The event aims to link science, business, and policy making by being structured around a series of policy relevant questions and thereby seeks to understand the policy implications of scientific findings. In particular, it will address the dynamics of corporate R&D, innovation, competitiveness and economic growth.
The May edition of the JRC Newsletter has been published and can be downloaded here. It features an editorial by European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Poto nik following his recent participation in the JRC-Ispra Open Day 2009. This month's edition also contains news of new data on greenhouse gas emissions, the publication of reports assessing the performance of national research systems across the EU and a study of the livestock sector's contribution to climate change.
The JRC and the European Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development today present the main findings of the two-year "SoCo" (Sustainable Agriculture and Soil Conservation) project at a policy seminar in Brussels. The meeting is to be attended by representatives from government ministries in EU Member States, farming, industrial and environmental organisations and academia.
Published today, the latest results from a joint project of the JRC and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) – called the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research or "EDGAR" – show that global man-made greenhouse gas emissions increased 15% between 2000 and 2005, representing a sharp jump in the rate of emissions growth, which was 3% for the period 1990-1995 and 6% between 1995 and 2000. Global annual emissions of greenhouse gases increased from 24 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents in 1970 to 33 billion tonnes in 1990 and 41 billion in 2005. A total of 560 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases were released into the atmosphere between 1990 (the reference year of the Kyoto Protocol) and 2005.
A new international study by JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and measurements (IRMM) suggests that the majority of laboratories around the world are capable of effectively testing for the presence of melamine in food. The study's results show that levels of the harmful substance in food samples can be accurately measured by the majority of laboratories tested, suggesting that the global response to the Chinese contaminated milk scare of 2008 has been effective.
114 analytical laboratories from around the world volunteered to put their measurement competence to the test for the study, which was organised and carried out by the JRC at the request of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection. Carefully prepared samples of contaminated milk powder and baking mix were sent to the laboratories for testing without revealing the known levels of melamine present. Participating laboratories measured the melamine content of these 'blind' samples to the best of their abilities and reported their results back to the JRC.
Laboratories from 31 countries participated in the test, including Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America, as well as 21 of the 27 EU Member States.