On 26 October 2017 the Commission launched a Competence Centre on Modelling. Hosted by the JRC, it will promote a responsible, coherent and transparent use of modelling to support the evidence base for EU policies.
Models - tools to translate policies into numbers
The Commission uses modelling to assess the environmental, economic, and social impacts of policy options and policy initiatives. Models are also used in other phases of the policy cycle, for instance to support implementation.
The Commission’s increasing focus on quantification of EU policy requires cross-cutting and robust approaches. The Competence Centre on Modelling will bring under one umbrella the Commission's competencies and best practice in building and using models for greater quality and transparency in policy making.
In this way it will contribute to the Commission's Better Regulation policy, to the Inter-Institutional Agreement on Better Law Making, and to the Communication on Data, Information and Knowledge Management at the European Commission.
The Competence Centre will pool the modelling capacity and competences across the Commission and beyond.
Starting with a Commission-wide modelling inventory (MIDAS, documenting over 200 models in use by the Commission), it will support a proper documentation, use, and reuse of models by making available years of experience in the area of baseline scenarios, uncertainty analysis and sensitivity analysis, and social multi-criteria evaluation.
It will help identify common approaches to quality and transparency of model use. A new community of practice on modelling will offer a web-based forum for sharing best practice and topical knowledge.
The launch of the Competence Centre on Modelling was a centrepiece of a dedicated event, taking place in Brussels. Opening the meeting, Vladimir Šucha, JRC Director General said: "In our post-truth world, policy-makers have more data and more facts, but much less trust than before. Better modelling the impact of EU policies on citizens' lives must be part of our efforts to re-build trust. By sharing what we know about policy options and explaining why we chose one option over others, we can demonstrate how the EU protects, empowers and defends its citizens".
The event brought together policymakers, analysts and researchers from the European Commission, European Parliament, international organisations, and think tanks, including International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, to discuss the role of modelling as a source for quantitative evidence in the European policy process.
The morning programme set the scene for the modelling for EU policy support focussing on issues like transparency, coherence, whereas the afternoon programme was dedicated to the Community of Practice for Modelling and other building blocks of the Competence Centre.
POTEnCIA - the latest model in the JRC portfolio
The Policy Oriented Tool for Energy and Climate Change Impact Assessment modelling tool (POTEnCIA) together with the Integrated Database of the European Energy System (JRC-IDEES) were launched earlier in October
POTEnCIA is a modelling tool for the EU energy system. It is designed to assess the impacts of alternative energy and climate policy options on the energy sector under different hypotheses about surrounding conditions within the energy markets. The main use of the tool is to perform comparative analysis of scenarios.
The Integrated Database of the European Energy System (JRC-IDEES) is a one-stop data-box that incorporates in a single database all information necessary for a deep understanding of the dynamics of the European energy system, to better understand the past and to create a robust basis for future policy assessments.
JRC-IDEES is both the key input to the POTEnCIA model, as well as a stand-alone product that can be used to assess the historic evolution of the energy sector and its underlying drivers.
The JRC-IDEES will be accessible to the general public in early spring 2018, facilitating its use further by offering an inter-active visualisation tool.
Competence centres in the JRC
The Competence Centres in the JRC are centred on analytical tools which can be applied to any policy area, bringing together in one place extensive expertise in this field.
They offer training courses in the use of the tools for policy-making, advise on the choice of tools and also work directly with the Commission policy Directorates-General to apply the tools to the policy problems in hand.
The Competence Centre on Modelling is the fourth one in the JRC, after Competence Centres on Composite Indicators, Microeconomic Evaluation and Text Mining and Analysis.