European Commission - Joint Research Centre



The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is a department (Directorate-General, DG) of the European Commission providing independent scientific and technological support for EU policy-making. It works closely on the development of EU legislation with the relevant Commission services, such as the Agricultural, Enterprise, Environment, and Health and Consumer Protection DGs. Knowledge comes from specific application- and issue-oriented research within the seven JRC Institutes and close co-operation with over 1000 public and private organisations in 150 networks in Member State and applicant countries. The JRC also liases with non-EU and global scientific and standard-setting bodies. The JRC research programmes are decided by the Council of the European Union and funded by the EU budget with additional funding from associated countries.

Horizon 2020 sets out the overall objective for the JRC non-nuclear work as follows: to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support to Union policies, while flexibly responding to new policy demands. The JRC contributes to the overall objective of Horizon 2020 with its long-standing scientific expertise, modelling capacity, foresight studies; work on standards, infrastructure and e-infrastructures.

The JRC's nuclear work, funded by the EURATOM Research and Training Programme, has as its objective the pursuit of research, knowledge management and training activities with an emphasis on nuclear safety and security; thus we contribute to the transition to a carbon-free economy in a safe, efficient and secure way.


The JRC consists of seven institutes located in five different countries:


Work Programme

The key orientations of the JRC work programme reflect the 10 priorities set by the Commission’s agenda for jobs, growth, fairness and democratic change.

In particular, the JRC will support a wide array of policy initiatives addressing economic growth, energy and climate, and migration.

The JRC’s activities across all policy areas will help identify synergies and trade-offs between policies and foster collaborative working. In particular, the JRC will support the Commission’s work on ‘better regulation’, which focuses on designing efficient polices and laws with minimum cost while avoiding overregulation. Being involved in all stages of the policy cycle, from design to implementation, the JRC is well placed to provide evidence for the improved quality of EU legislation.

In support of the Commission’s objective of improving the way it manages knowledge, the JRC will set up a number of pilot knowledge and competence centres in priority policy areas aimed at facilitating knowledge management across the Commission’s departments. While knowledge centres will create and structure internal and external scientific knowledge for a specific policy field or across policy fields, competence centres will bring together analytical expertise such as modelling or data mining which are independent of any theme, and can be applied across policy areas. A pilot knowledge centre for territorial policies is envisaged to be set up in 2016. As for the competence centres, they will be set up in the areas of microeconomic evaluation and modelling. A competence centre on composite indicators and scoreboards was launched on 3 February.

The main customers of the JRC are the policy making Directorates General of the European Commission. Depending on the subject matter, the JRC’s scientific-technical support covers the complete policy cycle or parts of it: the JRC anticipates policy needs, assesses policy options and their impacts, and monitors and contributes to the implementation of policies. It also provides operational support in certain cases, for example in anticipating environmental disasters, providing assistance to managing crises and assessing any consequential damage and their impact on human life and/or the environment. The ultimate beneficiaries of these activities are the EU Member States.

In July 2010, the JRC published its strategy for 2010 - 2020 with the intention to focus its efforts on seven thematic areas, which respond to major EU and global challenges and take into account the JRC's proven competences:

  • Towards an open and competitive economy: by contributing to the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy by providing integrated socio-economic and policy support on macro-economic policies, structural reform, employment, education and skills, research and innovation ("Innovation Union").
  • Development of a low carbon society: by addressing energy, transport, clean production technologies and consumption patterns, issues that will be pivotal to the progressive transition of the EU towards a 'low carbon society'.
  • Sustainable management of natural resources: by addressing issues related to the sustainable management and use of strategic resources such as food, water, air, minerals and land.
  • Safety of food and consumer products: by providing S&T support to EU policies on safety of food and feed, and other new consumer products.
  • Nuclear safety and security: by providing independent and reliable S&T assessment in the fields of nuclear safety, safety of the new generation of reactor technologies, and nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation.
  • Security and crisis management: by contributing to the development of new technological approaches to enhance the security of the citizen, including support to crisis management.
  • Reference materials and measurements: by maintaining a strong reference role in the area of standards and reference measurements.

In keeping with its mission, the JRC strives to play a role as a centre of reference in its key competence areas through extensive networks with the relevant organisations in the Member States and, where appropriate, international organisations.

In addition to these institutional activities, the JRC co-operates closely with external organisations. In line with a strategic approach to the JRC's role as a partner, several high level agreements have been set up with large scientific and industrial communities on new networks and research collaboration.

Further Information:

  • EU
Contact details
Address: European Commission Joint Research Centre Internal and External Communication 1049 Brussels - Belgium
Geographical focus
  • European Union (EU 27)
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
Related users

Entry created by Katarina Rohsmann on March 31, 2011
Modified on March 1, 2017