The Joint Research Centre (JRC) provides scientific support to the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) in two ways. Firstly, it addresses the scientific needs related to the implementation of the EUSDR and thereby helps decision-makers and other stakeholders to identify the policy needs and actions needed for the implementation of the Strategy. Secondly, it contributes to the reinforcement of ties and cooperation amongst the scientific community of the Danube Region.
The Scientific Support to the Danube Strategy initiative is sub-divided into different flagship clusters and activities. They aim to address the scientific challenges faced by the Danube Region from an integrated and cross-cutting perspective, taking into account the interdependencies between various policy priorities.
Four thematic clusters focus on the key resources of the Danube Region, namely water, land and soils, air, and bioenergy.
- The Danube Water Nexus (DWN): This flagship cluster covers various water-related issues such as water availability, water quality, water-related risks and the preservation and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity. It also aims to analyse the interdependencies of between different water-intensive economic sectors such as agriculture and energy.
- The Danube Land and Soil Nexus (DLSN): This flagship cluster aims to study various issues related to the state and use of land and soils in the Danube Region, including land and soil availability and quality, land and soil-related risks and the preservation and restoration of above- and belowground ecosystems and biodiversity.
- The Danube Air Nexus (DAN): This flagship cluster covers various issues related to air, such as air quality and the assessment of the impacts of air pollution on ecosystems, on climate change and on public health.
- The Danube Bio-energy Nexus (DBN): This flagship cluster addresses the challenges related to energy in the Danube Region. It focuses on the high potential of the Danube Region for developing renewable energy from materials derived from biological sources.
The four thematic clusters are complemented by three horizontal activities:
- The Danube Reference Data and Service Infrastructure (DRDSI): This pilot project aims to establish a Reference Data and Service Infrastructure for the Danube Region (DRDSI). The DRDSI aims to offer a satellite view on harmonised data sets on various issues related to the Danube Region (such as water and soil quality, population, landscape, etc.). Thereby, it will provide policy-makers and other stakeholders with comparable data to support evidence-based decision-making in the Danube Region.
- Smart Specialisation: Due to its unique experience, the JRC – via its Smart Specialisation Platform – supports the designing and implementation of Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation in the Danube Region, taking into consideration the regional assets and opportunities but also the broader macro-regional dimension.
- Danube Innovation Partnership (DIP): In the context of this cluster, the JRC, leveraging on the expertise of the European network of Technology Transfer Offices ('TTO Circle') coordinated by the JRC, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and the European Investment Fund (EIF), proposes to gather stakeholders in the innovation value chain of the Danube region into a partnership that will design and implement actions to accelerate innovation and technology transfer. The DIP will build on the results of a pilot initiative launched recently by the Steinbeis Foundation with 4 partners from Danube countries.
In order to ensure that the scientific results obtained are properly channelled to the decision-makers and stakeholders who can use them to develop policy measures and actions in the Danube Region, in cooperation with its partners, the JRC organises events and workshops to report on the implementation of the flagship clusters and findings obtained.