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.
With its 1.7 billion square kilometres, an area equivalent to 5 times the size of Germany, the Congo Basin forest is the world's second largest tropical forest. The 'State of the Congo Basin Forests 2010' report launched in Douala, Cameroon, at the Annual meeting of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), provides a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the status of this crucial pool for climate regulation and natural resources. It looks at deforestation patterns, points to trends in sustainable forest management and highlights threats to biodiversity.
Today, 28 November 2006, a high-level conference on EU-Finnish research perspectives took place at The Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) in Espoo. The focus of the Information Day – hosted by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the VTT – was on two research areas of high relevance to Finland where new Collaborative Agreements were signed: Energy and the Environment & Health Impact of Chemicals. Future perspectives under the 2007 – 2013 EUR 54 billion Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) were also discussed.
The European Commission wants to put a special focus on innovation, research, market development and the debate with society on ethical issues in the field of biotechnology. In a mid-term review of the Strategy on Life Sciences and Biotechnology 2002 – 2010, presented today by President Barroso and Commissioners Verheugen and Potocnik, a refocus of actions has been proposed to promote a competitive and sustainable European knowledge based Bio-Economy. Competitiveness can be ensured by the promotion of research and market development, innovation programmes, societal debates, sustainable development of agriculture and better implementation of legislation. Life sciences and biotechnology offer the prospects of new and renewable bio resources, lower energy and water consumption, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and reduced dependence on petroleum. They also play a growing role in the discovery and development of new medicines, advanced therapies, diagnostics and vaccines. Biotechnology as a scientific technique has existed for more than 5000 years. It was first used in foodstuffs, such as bread, cheese, wine and beer. Modern applications of biotechnology include the production of enzymes, used in very practical day to day products like washing powder, or the creation of bio-plastics, which degrade considerably quicker than conventional plastics, thereby reducing waste. Biotechnology is also used to develop new life-saving medicines and medical devices. New applications are being developed all the time and Europe should be at the forefront of these developments.
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre has today made available certified reference materials for the analysis of genetically modified (GM) cotton and sugar beet. The release of the two new materials together with a set of starchmodified potato materials introduced earlier this year, brings the number of certified GMO reference materials to 14 provided by the JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) located in Geel, Belgium. Certified reference materials are needed for calibrating the methods used to quantify the GM content and for controlling the quality of measurements. Implementing EU legislation on labelling of food and feed products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) largely depends on the accuracy and reliability of those measurements. For each GMO authorised for food and feed use in Europe, certified reference materials need to be available.
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre has released a new study entitled "Scientific and technical contribution to the development of an overall health strategy in the area of GMOs". The study assesses the current state of knowledge in this field and defines areas for possible improvement. It was carried out on the request of the European Parliament with Directorate-General SANCO (Health & Consumer Protection) as the lead European Commission Service. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and a panel of twenty international experts also inputted.
The formal participation contract of the EU in the Expo Milano 2015 was signed today in Milan in the presence of the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and the Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta. The participation contract was signed by David Wilkinson, Commissioner General to the World Exhibition in Milan 2015 for the European Commission, by Giuseppe Sala, Commissioner of the Government of Italy for Expo Milano 2015 and by the General Commissioner for the Italian Pavilion Diana Bracco.
A Collaboration Agreement signed today between the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements) and the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) aims to advance measurement science and foster greater confidence in the comparability of international measurements. Areas covered will range from bioanalysis (DNA measurements) and radionuclide metrology (environmental measurements), to food control and mechanical testing (e.g. toughness of steel).
Agreement will allow extension of GMES to developing countries
Increasing temperatures, changing precipitation, rising sea level, more intense and frequent extreme weather events and melting glaciers, ice sheets and Arctic sea ice are some of the challenges for Europe already triggered by global climate change, says a report released today by the European Environment Agency, the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
Top EU businesses expect their investments in research and development to grow by an average of 4% annually over the period 2012 to 2014, according to a Commission survey of some of Europe's companies that invest the most in R&D. The figures show the importance that these companies place on R&D as a key factor for their future growth and prosperity, despite the current economic difficulties. The front runner is the software and computer services sector, which expects R&D investment to grow by 11% per year on average. In-house R&D is seen as the most relevant driver of innovation by the surveyed companies, followed by market research and related activities for new product introduction.