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 European Commission has launched today a new website, the so-called 'Tracking System for Alternative test methods Review Validation and Approval (TSAR)', designed to track the development of new alternative test methods which should replace, reduce and refine current animal testing.
Favourable weather conditions and an increase in the planted area farmed should lead to a total cereals harvest close to 301 M tonnes for this year in the European Union, 43 M tonnes more than in 2007. This represents an increase of 16% o the 2007 harvest and 9% o the past five years' average production. This forecast, published today by the European Commission, is based on an updated analysis by the Commission's in-house scientific service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), using an advanced crop yield forecasting system.
When a major disaster strikes in remote parts of the world, knowing if the area is populated, and how densely, is crucial for the effective organisation of humanitarian operations. The Global Human Settlements Layer (GHSL), developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), will soon provide this detailed information for the first time on a global scale. The breakthrough is new advanced algorithms, developed by the JRC, that allow automatic analysis of medium resolution data provided by European satellites. The first test results confirm that the combined use of ICT technologies permit fast and precise mapping of built-up areas, anywhere in the world. In addition, the algorithms allow massive datasets to be processed more efficiently and rapidly, making it possible to monitor the changes in human settlements regularly and equally importantly, to collect the same information from heterogeneous satellite data. This can help to reduce risks in areas that experience recurrent disasters and to focus post-disaster humanitarian interventions on the most likely populated places in disaster affected countries and regions.
Biodiversity loss is a growing concern. Protected areas are a instrument to counteract this trend. The UN's Convention on Biological Diversity conference of the parties in Nagoya (October 2010) set stringent new targets to be reached by 2020. At least 17% of terrestrial and inland water and 10% of coastal and marine areas have to be protected. But are protected areas really protected? Are they in the right place? Where should new protected areas be located? The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), in collaboration with other partners, is helping decisionmakers to find their way through the vast amount of information needed to answer these and other questions by setting up a Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA).
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre has substantially contributed to the new EU system established to ensure that European biofuels and bioliquids come from sustainable sources and meet the highest environmental standards. A key tool is the JRC's methodology to quantify changes to the amount of carbon in soils and biomass when land use changes as a result of biofuels production. This is an important factor in the sustainability assessment. The methodology follows the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories and is supported by comprehensive global data collected by the JRC. The methodology was the basis for the Commission decision on the guidelines for the calculation of land carbon stocks.
A European network bringing together the technology transfer offices of 25 large public research organisations has been established with the support of the European Commission. The European TTO CIRCLE (Technology Transfer Offices – Connecting Innovation and Research Centres and Laboratories in Europe) aims at increasing the market and societal impact of publicly-funded research.
The European Commission today launches two new research projects looking to address the issue of sustainable transport. The first, TRAENVIA, will assess and compare the environmental and socio-economic impact of difference transport modes along the extended Trans-European Corridor V, running from Lisbon to Kiev. The second is the "Collaborative Research Project for Air Pollution Reduction in Lombardia" which will focus on particulate matter and emission remediation options for that region of Italy. Both projects are coordinated by the Commission's in-house scientific service, DG Joint Research Centre and are part of the Commission's efforts to contribute to improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The two projects will be launched during a conference on "Transport and Environment: A Global Challenge – Technological and Policy Solutions" which takes place in Milan on 19-21 March.
An updated analysis by the European Commission, through its advanced crop yield forecasting system, shows that the particularly hot weather in July has significantly affected this year's EU crops productions. Compared to the previous analysis performed at the end of June, the European crop monitoring system now depicts a further reduction of crops. In comparison with the 2005 campaign, the main crop yields affected are: soft wheat (-4.0%),inter barley (-2.0%),rain maize (-5.1%),otato (-4.3%) d sugar beet (-3.0%).he total cereal production is expected to be about 9 M tonnes (-3.6%) en lower than 2005's reduced yields. In terms of production, Germany, Poland, UK, France and Italy appear to be most affected. Compared to the 2003 drought, the geographic area affected by the yield reduction is greater, whereas the overall loss in production is less severe.
The European Commission's own research arm, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), has today published its new strategy for the period 2010-2020. It envisages reinforced scientific support to EU policy-making based on assessments of policy options identified in close collaboration with the Commission's policy Directorates-General.
The European Commission will establish an observatory to map progress and measure the impact of the development of the European Union's bioeconomy, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn announced today. The observatory will gather data to follow the evolution of markets, to map EU, national and regional bioeconomy policies, research and innovation capacities, and the scale of related public and private investments. The observatory will be coordinated by the Joint Research Centre, the Commission's in-house science service.