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.
The EU leads research in the field innovation in plant breeding, but still lags behind in patenting the resulting technologies, a JRC study reveals. The report notes that 45 % of peer-reviewed scientific research publications in the field worldwide are produced in the EU, followed by North America with 32 %. On the other hand, 65 % of the total patenting of resulting technologies is carried out by US-based institutions. Twenty six percent of patents are registered by EU-based institutions.
This report provides an overview of the activities, accomplishments and resources related to the JRC's work carried out during 2010 and includes figures on staff, budget and publications.
The JRC is hosting the Third International Conference on Alternatives for Developmental Neurotoxicity Testing (DNT3) on 10-13 May 2011 in Varese, Italy. The event brings together over 100 scientists and representatives from academia, industry and governmental organisations working on children's health, alternatives to animal testing and environmental protection.
In line with one of the commitments of the Innovation Union Communication, the JRC has launched the "TTO (Technology Transfer Offices) Circle", which met for the first time at the end of April at the premises of the European Space Agency in Noordwijk (NL).
Researchers from the JRC and the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine (CAIQ) discussed food safety and consumer protection related to nanoscience in the first Sino-EU symposium dedicated to nanotechnology, held on 14-15 April 2011 in Beijing. The event was co-organised by JRC's Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP) and the CAIQ. It is a fruit of increased cooperation between the two partners, which followed a Memorandum of Understanding signed in June 2010.
A new Tsunami Alerting Device (TAD) has been developed by the JRC to directly alert people at risk in the event of an incoming tsunami wave. When an earthquake occurs, innovative software automatically calculates within minutes the results of tsunami propagation predictions and activates a siren.
The European Commission's new progress report on education and training, co-authored by the JRC's scientists, reveals that EU countries have managed to sharply increase the number of graduates in mathematics, science and technology. However, they will need to step up their efforts in other important areas such as reducing school drop-out rate.
The Joint Research Centre has contributed to the first end-of-waste Regulation that was recently adopted. The JRC prepared the technical criteria that determine when a material recovered from waste ceases to be waste and can be dealt with as other products or raw materials. This first Regulation covers iron, steel and aluminium scrap, allowing these materials to be reprocessed into secondary raw materials or new products. It aims to stimulate European recycling markets by creating legal certainty, removing unnecessary administrative burdens and by releasing safe and clean secondary raw materials.
The Commission recently presented the Consumer Empowerment Index, a unique measure of consumer empowerment describing perceptions and behaviours of more than 56,000 consumers of 29 European countries along three main dimensions: consumer skills, awareness of consumer legislation and consumer engagement.