JRC research topics

The JRC carries out research in a wide variety of fields. Located across five sites throughout the EU, seven research institutes work in the areas of agriculture and food security, energy and transport, environment and climate change, health and consumer protection, information society, safety and security, innovation and growth, measurements and standards, and nuclear safety and security.

  1. Agricultural land covers almost half of Europe’s territory. Technological development, mechanisation, agro-chemicals and genetic research have led to structural modifications in farming practices and put pressure on the environment, leading to soil depletion, water shortages, pollution, habitat degradation and biodiversity loss.


    Science Areas: Agriculture and food security, Environment and climate change
    Keywords: agriculture, biodiversity
  2. The JRC provides essential support to policy for improving air quality, including initiatives to harmonise air quality monitoring processes and to develop integrated greenhouse gas and air pollutant emission inventories and projections. This knowledge serves as the basis for analysing the cost estimates of different policy options.


    Science Areas: Environment and climate change
    Keywords: air, quality
  3. The JRC can estimate and predict movements of pollutants and toxins emitted from sources such as vehicles and industry through the use of atmospheric dispersion models. 


    Science Areas: Environment and climate change, Safety and Security
    Keywords: hazard, air
  4. The JRC establishes best environmental management practices (BEMPs) of organisations in order to produce Sectoral Reference Documents (SRDs) which are then used by industry and organisations and helps the implementation of the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).


    Science Areas: Environment and climate change, Innovation and growth
    Keywords: efficiency, environment, quality
  5. JRC research in this area supports the EU’s aim of addressing, mitigating, monitoring and adapting to the effects of climate change. This includes assessing and monitoring the impact of climate change, evaluating the increased risk of climate change hazards, and assessing the sustainability of climate policies.


    Science Areas: Environment and climate change
    Keywords: climate
  6. The JRC is committed to supporting the EU in limiting global climate change. For example, it provides expertise in modelling and evaluation of different energy scenarios, black carbon assessment, land use change and carbon capture and storage.


    Science Areas: Environment and climate change
    Keywords: climate, mitigation
  7. The JRC provides support to the implementation of the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive using modelling simulations, remote sensing data, dissemination of datasets as well as assisting the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to sustainably manage their marine resources.


    Science Areas: Environment and climate change
    Keywords: sea, environment
  8. Through its international agreements the EU has endorsed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 20% by 2020. This will redirect EU's energy economy towards a highly efficient and low CO2 one with an important impact on climate change mitigation.

    At European level a comprehensive package of policy measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been initiated through the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP).


    Science Areas: Environment and climate change
    Keywords: climate, mitigation, impact assessment
  9. The JRC’s work in the field of drought and desertification includes the evaluation of land degradation, regionally as well as globally, meteorological drought forecasting and assessment of the water supply throughout Europe.


    Science Areas: Agriculture and food security, Environment and climate change
    Keywords: hazard, drought, climate
  10. Digital Earth is a concept of an interactive digital replica of the entire planet that can facilitate a shared understanding of the multiple relationships between the physical and natural environments and society. To do so, it needs to be accessible globally from multiple platforms (mobiles, tablets, computers); be able to display information in ways that are easily understood by multiple audiences (the public, decision-makers, scientists); and be constantly updated with data coming from sensors (space-based, airborne, in-situ), citizens, and both public and private sectors.


    Science Areas: Environment and climate change, Information Society
    Keywords: geo-reference, reference data