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.
EU-funded projects on tourism, cultural heritage and arts, bike routes and wellness resorts are among the highlights of an interactive Story Map on tourism in the Danube region, launched by the JRC at the 7th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) on 18th October 2018 in Sofia.
Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the JRC, and Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional policy, are attending the event.
The focus of this year's conference is tourism development as a precondition to economic growth and territorial cohesion.
Commissioner Navracsics said ahead of the event: "The 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage places a spotlight on the important links between cultural heritage, tourism and economic growth. More than 300,000 people are directly employed in the European cultural heritage sector and around 7.8 million European jobs are indirectly linked to it. Yet, whilst tourism can provide jobs and boost growth, we must take steps to ensure that it is sustainable, not least in the Danube region."
Several hundred participants, including senior representatives from national and local governments in the Danube region, experts, civil society representatives and journalists are taking part in the event jointly organised by Bulgarian Presidency of the EUSDR and the European Commission.
The JRC representation is headed by Deputy Director-General Charlina Vitcheva.
At the event, the JRC showcases the contributions science can make to issues of particular importance for the Danube region related to preservation of cultural and historical heritage, new technologies and digitalization in tourism sector, ensuring safety and security in tourism, transport connectivity and mobility.
The Story Maps, prepared by the JRC, are an innovative way of displaying various datasets linked to various policy issues in an accessible and attractive way.
The Danube Region Story Map, launched during the event, takes the viewer on a journey along the Danube river and the countries it borders and flows through.
It gives a snapshot of the rich heritage of the Danube region and the potential of its tourism economy.
It also allows users to learn about the cultural heritage initiatives supported by the EU in the region and the links between cultural and natural heritage.
In the context of presenting new technologies to preserve cultural and historical heritage, the JRC is also presenting its mobile 3D Laser scanning platform.
While originally developed to enable nuclear safeguards inspectors to create 3D images of locations that need to be monitored, such as nuclear waste storage facilities, the technology is now also used for non-nuclear applications.
For example, it can be applied for the detailed 3D mapping of cultural heritage sites or damaged historical buildings to map, document and analyse eventual changes in the infrastructure, assess damages and offer support to reconstruction.
In the last years, the worldwide rise of terrorism has been accompanied by a series of attacks that have migrated from critical infrastructures to public spaces, which are characterized by limited protection measures.
The JRC is presenting a series of guidance documents for Member States and urban authorities, presenting innovative ideas of protecting public spaces against terrorist attacks by using measures such as distributed barriers to reduce the speed of hostile vehicles.
In order not to create unfriendly fortresses, the protective elements can also use landscape, plants and water elements and other well-designed barriers fitting the urban surroundings.
The Danube Region covers parts of nine EU Member States (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania) and five non-EU countries (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ukraine and Moldova).
Member States endorsed the EU Strategy for the Danube Region at the General Affairs Council on 13 April 2011.
The strategy's aim is to tackle the challenges and priorities of the Danube region in an integrated way, leading to concrete results and a better future for the region and its citizens.
Like all macro-regional strategies EUSDR operates on the basis of the "three No" rule:
The idea is to better align existing funds and policies at EU, national and regional level and to rely on existing bodies for implementation.