Nuclear safeguards are from the very origin of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), and as enshrined in the EURATOM Treaty, a key duty of the European Commission and a field in which JRC has a fully unique position in Europe. In this area JRC is an un-replaceable R&D partner of Euratom safeguards authority and IAEA through its very extensive support programme. The JRC R&D safeguards programme aims in one hand at maintaining traditional safeguards at level so that deterrence to diversion from civil cycle remains high, taking into account that more installations will need to be safeguarded by EU and international authorities. This relies on development of advanced NDA, DA and CS techniques, full remote and unattended (authenticated) technology and stringent quality systems in measurements and results delivery. In another hand the RD programme put more focus on material flows in sensitive uranium and spent fuel handling facilities and use of fingerprinting techniques to cover diversion scenarios and more performing and accurate environmental sampling techniques and traces analysis. Open-source analysis and development of new tools and methodologies for the control of Import/export are areas where the effort is also increased. In the JRC R&D programme a special attention is also given to the development of accountancy and safeguards concepts for advanced fuel cycles (GenIV) as well as proliferation resistance methodology. This scientific/technical work is encompassed by appropriate training activities. This paper is about some of the new R&D and innovation activities of the JRC as part of the EU contribution to the implementation of effective nuclear safeguards inside and outside the EU.