Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Specific programme of research and technological development, including demonstration, to be carried out for the European Community by the JRC (direct actions) - Agriculture and Fisheries (including agro-industry, food technologies, forestry, fish farming

Framework programme


Programme funding

EUR 47 million

Official Journal Reference

L 361 of 1994-12-31

Legislative Reference

918/94/EC of 1995-12-15
Institutional scientific and technical support activities in the areas of remote sensing for agriculture, the European Office for Wine, Alcohol and Spirit Drinks and reference measurements, and material for quality control in foodstuffs.


At the request of DG VI (Agriculture) and Eurostat, the JRC provides institutional scientific and technical support to the implementation of the specific RTD programme in the field agriculture and fisheries (including agro-industry, food technologies, forestry, aquaculture and rural development) under the Fourth Framework Programme (1994-1998). The activities carried out by the JRC build and expand on work conducted in this area under previous programmes, particularly in the area of remote sensing.

Institutional scientific and technical support activities, which constitute one element of JRC direct action, are defined as those activities which are necessary for the formulation and implementation of Community policies and other tasks undertaken by the Commission which necessitate the neutrality of the JRC. The other element of JRC direct action is institutional research activities, which are described as those for which the JRC has expertise and special, if not unique, facilities in the Community which contribute to the implementation of the Community's RTD policy. The JRC does not carry out institutional research activities in support of the agriculture and fisheries programme.

The work carried out by the JRC focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on agriculture- and food-related issues. In response to requests from the relevant Commission services, new methods will continue to be developed for the collection of agricultural statistics and yield forecasting across the European Union by the use of satellite imagery and remote sensing techniques, with particular attention being paid to the improvement of the quality and consistency of these statistics. Use of remote sensing for the wine, olive and citrus registers and controls of subsidies are good examples of such work.

In particular, a contribution is to be made to the second phase of the pilot project for the application of remote sensing to agricultural statistics (MARS-STAT). The second phase aims, in particular, to continue the work with regard to vegetation evolution and forecast models with the aim of obtaining an integrated agricultural information system at Community level. Studies on the applications of methods or new sensors are also to be followed up.

The JRC continues to provide support to the Office for Wine, Alcohol and Spirit Drinks (BEVABS). The Office was established by DG VI with the aim of supporting the proper implementation of Community provisions in the wine sector. Work here employs advanced technologies such as nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry to control adulterations to wine and to determine the origins of any given wine.

The expertise and impartiality of the JRC will also be extended to other research areas under the agriculture and fisheries programme, notably the development of analytical methods applied to foods and consumer goods and the provision of reference measurements for quality control of foodstuffs and other consumer products to DG XXIV (Consumer Policy). In addition, the JRC Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements is to provide, upon request, scientific and technical support in the area of quality control for food. This is to be achieved by supplying reference materials, by providing adequate analytical procedures and by coordinating inter-laboratory comparisons.

In addition to the direct actions, the JRC may bid for contracts to carry out other support activities within the framework of a competitive approach. Actions within this framework are carried out by means of work suited to a competitive approach in the context of a customer/contractor relationship.

Under the specific programme in the area of agriculture and fisheries, support activities in this field may contribute to:

- The application of remote sensing techniques to agriculture by the gathering of images and the handling and treatment of data;
- A series of tests for quality control in food products;
- Evaluation of phytopharmaceutical products, notably with regard to those aspects linked to their launch on the market.


Institutional scientific and technical support activities:

Three areas:

- Remote sensing for Agriculture:
Institutional support consisting of R&D into new remote sensing techniques to establish improved methods to monitor European agricultural policy. Activities include:

. The follow-up, or second phase, of the pilot project on remote sensing applied to agricultural statistics (MARS-STAT);
. Full-scale establishment of the activities related to the monitoring and control of the Common Agricultural Policy (MARS-PAC-FEOGA);

- European Office for Wine, Alcohol and Spirit Drinks (BEVAPS):
Scientific and technical support to DG VI to support the implementation of Community provisions in the wine sector. Activities to be carried out cover:
. Control of wines requested by EC inspectors, official national organizations operating on behalf of DG VI or the Member States for possible sugaring, watering or other adulterations of wines;
. Control of the origin of ethanol produced by the distillation of surplus wine, ethanol used in the gasoline market and the origin of alcohols present in spirits;
. Continuation of the collection of data for the EC wine data bank which is updated each year and used for improving the performances of the control methods for sugaring and origin;
. Intervention, if requested, as a neutral laboratory, in the event of disputes between Member States;
. Participation in the collaborative study for the determination of the origins of sugars present in fruits (after their fermentation);
. Collaborative work with official Member State laboratories for quality assurance activities concerning nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectronomy;

- Reference Measurements and Materials for quality control of foodstuffs:
To develop means for suitable actions by supplying certified reference materials by supplying analytical procedures and by coordinating laboratory intercomparisons. The JRC contribution may cover the following areas:
. Preparation of food reference materials for the detection of adulteration or blending of products;
. Supply of reference materials for expert analyses and quality control issues;
. Development of reference analysis procedures for the detection of highly toxic additives (as conservation ingredients) or contaminations (as dioxins);
. Further refinement of the isotopic fingerprint method for identification of the origin of products or pollutants;
. Establishment of a series of different and independent analytical procedures recognized at European level (concentration and specification of trace metals, multi-element and micro-analyses).


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) contributes to the activities of the specific RTD programme in the area of agriculture and fisheries (including agro-industry, food technologies, forestry, fish farming and rural development) through the implementation of institutional scientific and technical support activities (See definition in the "General Information" section of this record). The JRC Institute for Remote Sensing Applications (IRSA) is used to conduct activities in the area of remote sensing; the Environment Institute (EI) for support activities for the European Office for Wine, Alcohol and Spirit Drinks; and the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) for reference measurements and materials for quality foodstuffs.

The Commission, assisted by the Board of Governors of the JRC, is responsible for the implementation of these activities in accordance with the Decision adopting the specific programme of JRC direct actions to be carried out in support of certain programmes under the Fourth Framework Programme and the activities to be carried out within the framework of a competitive approach and intended for scientific and technical support to Community policies.

In the implementation of institutional activities, the JRC is required, when appropriate and feasible, to participate in, or organize networks of, public and private laboratories in the Member States or European research consortia. Particular attention must also be paid to cooperation with industry, especially with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

On the basis of the criterion of mutual benefit, the JRC may, at the request of the Commission, execute projects with legal entities established in third countries, provided this is deemed to make an effective contribution to the implementation of JRC activities. Legal entities from third countries may not, however, benefit from Community financing under this programme. Particular attention is paid to cooperation with research laboratories and institutes in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and in the independent states of the former Soviet Union.

Under the programme, provision is made for a number of accompanying measures, which include:

- The organization of visits to JRC institutes of grant holders, visiting scientists and seconded experts;
- Organization of the secondment of JRC staff to national laboratories, industrial laboratories and universities;
- Systematic exchange of information, through the organization of scientific seminars, workshops, colloquia, scientific publications, etc.;
- Specialized training with an emphasis on multidisciplinarity;
- The independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the performance of the projects and programmes.

The total funds estimated as necessary for the execution of JRC direct actions under the Fourth Framework Programme is ECU 600 million, of which a sum of ECU 47 million is reserved for the implementation of direct actions in support of the specific programme in the area of agriculture and fisheries. The global JRC budget includes provisions for exploratory research (approximately 6% of the total) and the JRC's budget contribution necessary for its participation in shared-cost actions.

A further global budget of ECU 128 million is set aside under the Fourth Framework Programme for the implementation of competitive support activities, of which ECU 30 million is reserved for actions to be implemented for the agriculture and fisheries programme. Activities under the competitive approach are assigned by the Commission to research bodies and centres, including the JRC, universities and undertakings on a competitive tendering basis.

The Commission will continuously and systematically monitor progress in the implementation of actions under the programme, paying particular attention to assessing whether the objectives, priorities and financial resources of the various actions are still appropriate.

Before 15 April each year, the Commission is required to submit an annual report, on the implementation of the JRC actions under the specific programme of research, technological development and demonstration to be implemented by the JRC under the Fourth Framework Programme. In addition, the Commission is required to organize an external assessment conducted by independent experts of the specific activities covered by the JRC programme and their management during the five years preceding this assessment. The results of this assessment, together with the annual reports, will be communicated to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee.
Record Number: 543 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05
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