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.
Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union after the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008 remains one of the European Commission's key priorities. The JRC's scientific approach contributes to achieving this goal. With its modelling expertise, socio-economic analyses and analytical tools, the JRC provides useful means for the Commission to restore a strong and stable financial system for the EU.
The JRC supports the Commission's activities aimed at a deeper and fairer economic and monetary union. In addition, the JRC continues to monitor fiscal imbalances for the Stability and Growth Pact, which is a set of rules designed to ensure that countries in the European Union pursue sound public finances and coordinate their fiscal policies.
The JRC provides European policy makers with scientific and technological advice on safety, security and stability within the EU and beyond. Research, analysis and in-house developed tools support EU policies on border security, including maritime borders, the fight against organised crime and corruption as well as implementation of measures against possible biological, chemical and explosive actions.
Modelling, simulation and response capabilities are studied to enhance the security and resilience of physical infrastructures and prevent or respond to cybercrime.
Our analysis, development of warning systems and capacity building strengthen policy measures and practices in the EU to prevent, prepare and respond against all types of natural, technological or man-made disasters.
For EU policies on solidarity with developing countries, the JRC develops methodologies, indicators and ICT tools to implement and measure humanitarian aid and cooperation. It also provides technical assistance, capacity building and monitoring activities on climate change, environment, water, energy and resources management, as well as rural development and food security.
To protect European citizens' rights, the JRC research aims at improving personal data protection online and monitors key challenges such as discrimination of vulnerable communities and minorities. Capacity building activities for customs authorities and research to address terrorist or criminal activity are part of the support to customs policy and fight against fraud.
Within the Euratom programme, the JRC provides technical and scientific support to EU policies in nuclear safety, security and radiation protection, and carries out education, training and information activities in the field. The EU Euratom programme supports cutting-edge research, knowledge creation and preservation across its Member States on nuclear technologies. At the same time, it contributes to the long-term decarbonisation of the energy system in a safe, efficient and secure way.
Our scientists work on the safety of nuclear reactors and of the nuclear fuel itself, the safe operation of advanced nuclear energy systems, as well as on nuclear safeguards, non-proliferation and the fight against illicit activities involving nuclear and radiological material. This work plays a key role in the support of EU policy on nuclear waste management and the safety of nuclear installations.
The JRC develops scientific tools that allow nuclear research to be carried out efficiently, and compiles databases of information relevant to all aspects of nuclear safety and security. One core activity in this field is the knowledge management training and education in all things nuclear in order to ensure preservation of knowledge and transfer of expertise in the field.
The JRC for instance investigates ways to manage spent nuclear fuel and supports the activities of the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence, which mitigate, amongst others, nuclear and radiological risks.
Another concrete example of the JRC's work in this field is the development and qualification of nuclear forensics methods and techniques to fight against illicit trafficking and provide operational support to Member States and international organisations.
To learn more about the EU related policy, take a look at the nuclear energy section on the Directorate-General for Energy's website.
Standards stimulate and enable innovation and competiveness in Europe, and are a key objective of the EU-US Free Trade Agreement. Industry needs framework conditions which are the basis on which to invest, innovate and gain global market share in an increasingly competitive world. Standardisation brings efficiency and trust to industry and consumers. Across the JRC, three quarters of our work contributes to supporting the standardisation system in areas spanning from environmental monitoring to critical infrastructure protection and from food safety to nuclear safety and security.
Concretely our work on standards includes:
- Pre-normative research in areas such as health and life sciences, bio- and eco-technologies and nanotechnology;
- Measurement standards and quality assurance tools in industrial sectors, nuclear safeguards, and food and environment control;
- Harmonised methodologies;
- Foresight studies on the need for standards development and preparation of standards.
The JRC also supports European and worldwide standards in areas such as clean transport, water and renewable energies. In many international settings, the JRC represents the European position from a scientific and technical stand point.
It is essential for the EU economy that European standardisation adapts continuously to the fast changing global developments as well as to the new technological developments. The European Solar Test Installation (ESTI) is an example of the way we examine emerging technologies under certain standards and conditions.
Standards are an integral part of Horizon 2020, the EU's Framework Programme for research and innovation.
Research and innovation are acknowledged to play a key role in creating jobs and boosting growth, which is a top priority for the European Commission. To address the challenges and opportunities facing Europe, innovation has been placed at the core of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Restoring sustainable growth will only be possible if the EU completes the Single Market, boosts competitiveness and promotes innovation in the industry and services sectors.
The JRC provides scientific support to the EU's internal market through its work on standardisation, its support to industrial policy through foresight studies in areas such as health, food security and eco-industries, its activities on raw materials, and through smart specialisation. Through smart specialisation, the JRC strategically addresses economic development and target support to Research and Innovation (R&I) across the EU. The JRC also supports programmes like the European Innovation Partnerships and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
The European Research and Innovation Observatory and the Bioeconomy Observatory are other examples of tools developed by the JRC in close cooperation with the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, to monitor EU research and innovation policies and activities.
To read more about the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, take a look at the Horizon 2020 website.
The internet and digital technologies are transforming our world. It is a Commission priority to make the EU's single market fit for the digital age. The JRC supports the European Commission's agenda by providing evidence which supports policy making. It works closely with policy Directorate-Generals, responds to their questions related to science, outlines the consequences of different policy choices, and identifies alternative policy options.
The JRC also analyses the key challenges linked to the Digital Single Market and assesses policies that could support its creation. The purpose of these policies is to help Europe's citizens and businesses get the most out of digital technologies and to foster growth in the wider economy and to help create thousands of jobs.
The JRC provides scientific and technical support to EU policies on food, consumer products, chemicals and public health. With the aim of protecting general interests and health of European citizens, our scientists assess selected consumer products, as well as selected health determinants such as safety and quality of food or chemical substances including nanomaterials. They also develop test methods with the aim to reduce, refine or replace the use of animals for safety testing and the efficacy/potency testing of chemicals, biologicals and vaccines.
The JRC develops scientific tools that allow research to be carried out efficiently, and compiles databases of information relevant to all aspects of consumer health and protection. A lot of the JRC's research related to health and consumer protection builds on work done, methods provided and data collected by the relevant JRC-hosted European Union Reference Laboratories.
We are increasingly called for a more comprehensive scientific support to public health policies. With this purpose, we have been developing scientific competencies to tackle the rising number of public health issues that can be dealt with most efficiently at the European level. For example, we are developing a harmonised cancer information system for Europe and setting up of a European voluntary quality assurance scheme for breast cancer care. On the cross-roads of nutrition and behavioural economics, we are looking, among others, into issues of childhood obesity.
We don't work alone in these areas. We regularly engage with other Commission's departments such as the Directorates-General (DG) for Health and Food Safety, DG Environment, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, with EU Member States, patients' organisations and health technology industries.
For more information on the European Commission's policies on consumers, take a look at the Consumer's section of the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers.
Protection of the environment for future generations and efforts to limit the impacts of climate change are of the utmost importance in European and world policy. The international community has agreed that global warming should be kept below 2ºC compared to the temperature in pre-industrial times in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change. In addition to the obvious advantages, meeting the environmental and resource-efficiency challenges will bring about socio-economic benefits in terms of human health and well-being, as well as initiating growth and creating jobs.
Within the context of the EU 2030 framework for climate and energy and of the European Commission's strategy on adaptation to climate change, the JRC carries out research to mitigate the effects of climate change and to preserve the environment through its analysis of natural resources such as raw materials and soil, its monitoring of land degradation and desertification, by developing information systems on forests and forest fires, monitoring air quality, and integrated impact and sustainability assessment of EU policies.
As the science and knowledge service of the European Commission, the JRC supports the policy-makers in the Directorates-General for Climate Action and for the Environment. Other policies which the JRC underpins with scientific advice include the Water Framework Directive and its related directives such as the Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources, the Air Quality Directives, Europe's climate and energy package for 2020 and the 2050 Roadmap.
To read more about the European Commission's environment policies, take a look at the Directorate-General for the Environment's website.
To read more about the European Commission's climate action, take a look at the Directorate-General for Climate Action's website.
Research in energy and transport areas is vital to ensure a sustainable future of our planet in general and a low-carbon economy in particular. The aim of research in these fields is to support the European Commission's Energy Union strategy to make energy more secure, affordable and sustainable, and foster sustainable and efficient transport in Europe.
In order to face future challenges, JRC research includes experimental studies on ways to integrate renewable energy sources into the power grid. It also investigates the grid interoperability with, for example ICT and transport systems.
With its models and analyses, the JRC has contributed to the Commission's 2030 Climate and Energy Package that helps Europe reduce dependency on imports of gas and oil, boost its green technology industry and sustainable growth. For example our scientists analysed the broader economic impacts of the tighter greenhouse gas emissions' reduction targets, covering the interactions between the economy, the energy system and the environment. Research on the transport system focuses on transport emission and their impact on the environment.
The JRC has dedicated laboratories that focus on emission control and related impacts on ecosystems, as well as scientific tools that allow this research to be carried out efficiently and databases of information relevant to all aspects of energy and transport.
To read more on the European Commission energy policies, take a look at the Directorate-General for Energy's website.
To read more on the European Commission transport policies, take a look at the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport website.
To meet the needs of the world's growing population and taking into account changing consumption patterns, natural resources scarcity and the impact of climate change, food production must be increased in an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable way. The JRC provides independent scientific and technical advice and support to EU policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, and new initiatives such as the Bioeconomy.
The JRC supports the European Commission's agriculture and food security policies through its monitoring and economic analysis of agricultural resources and farm systems. We explore, for example, alternative scenarios for sustainable agriculture. In contribution to global food security, the JRC examines the competitiveness of the European agro-food sector, and helps to promote the European agriculture sector in world trade.
In its role as the European Commission's science and knowledge service, the JRC supports, amongst others, the Directorates-General for Agriculture and Rural Development and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in their policy work in the areas of agriculture and food security.