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.
Today the JRC presents the results of a pilot project that reached out to Europe’s parliaments, regions and cities to gather scientists, policymakers and citizens and work together on today’s big issues.
From urban renewal in Ghent to eco-innovation in Sofia, more than 2,500 people took part in 'Science Meets Parliaments/Science Meets Regions' events last year.
Science advice is an invaluable resource for democracy. The coronavirus pandemic and the EU’s response has shown how science is at the heart of making the right choices and finding solutions to tackle major challenges.
Europe is a global leader in science and this pilot action was important to bring scientific expertise closer to policy makers across Europe. In this way, 'Science Meets Parliaments/Science Meets Regions' is a unique platform to promote evidence-informed policymaking bringing together science, policy, current challenges and future thinking.
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: "Optimising the use of evidence for policy is one of the best ways to improve the quality of public administration at all levels of governance. The success of the 'Science meets Parliaments / Science meets Regions' pilot project shows that there is a keen interest among countries, regions and cities in the EU for an instrument like this. I look forward to a continued cooperation to advance science for policy across Europe".
The pilot project included 25 events across Europe, honing in on topics proposed by the local parliament or regional authority where the event took place. The JRC ran the pilot project, working closely together with the Committee of the Regions and with the support of the European Parliament.
The project also financed 14 scientific studies to support these events, often sourced from local research institutions. Three specialised training courses were organised for policymakers, on how to integrate evidence in their decision-making processes.
Future 'Science Meets Parliaments/Science Meets Regions' activities will aim to further strengthen links within and between regions and localities. By doing so, the platform can help in finding solutions to critical challenges and meeting policy objectives linked to the EU’s recovery and the economic, social, environmental and digital transitions.
There are also plans in the pipeline to promote ‘Science Meets Parliaments/Science Meets Regions’ beyond the EU, in the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries.
The JRC presents the final report today, during a workshop on evidence-informed local policies at the European Week of Regions and Cities. This workshop will not only take stock of the pilot phase, but also explore synergies with existing instruments such as the Knowledge Exchange Platform, as pledged in the recently published Communication on a new European Research Area for Research and Innovation.
As a leading practitioner at the science-policy interface, the JRC is in a unique position to provide analyses, networks, and resources to help member states, regions and local authorities identify and strengthen parts of their evidence for policy ecosystems and ensure they are well connected across borders.
The pilot phase of 'Science Meets Parliaments/Science Meets Regions' clearly demonstrated that there is a real interest and need for this kind of programme, especially at regional and local level.
As a first next step, the JRC is organising a series of short, virtual workshops about science for policy ecosystems, which will take place between now and May 2021.
The workshops give experts across the EU the opportunity to take stock, discuss and exchange experiences, and to co-create ideas and projects for structures, mechanisms and instruments to strengthen evidence-informed policy-making across Europe.