The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is intensifying and globalising its research activities relating to desertification and drought. The JRC recently set up a new research team with a view to developing benchmarks and indicators for monitoring and assessing desertification processes on a range of geographic scales. The research team is already engaged in several regional and global networks, providing support to policy makers at a European level and beyond. It also provides scientific support for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) ten-year implementation strategy and reform process. The Commission's renewed interest in desertification and 'dryland' science is beginning to produce results.