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Specific programme 2002-2006 for research, technological development and demonstration to be carried out by means of direct actions by the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

The JRC's contribution to the Framework Programme incorporates recommendations of recent evaluations of the JRC and requirements necessitated by the reform of the Commission. In particular, it includes:
- a strengthened user-orientation;
- networking activities to create a broad knowledge base and associate member state laboratories, industry and regulators more closely in the science and technology support provided to the EU policies;
- the concentration of activities on selected themes: the training of researchers using, in particular, large-scale facilities and specialised laboratories.

In its areas of competence, the JRC's contribution will aim at establishing synergies with the relevant thematic priorities in the other specific programmes. This will be done notably through seeking complementarity between indirect and direct actions.

The political and institutional context in which the JRC operates has evolved significantly in recent years. Rapid technological developments, especially in biotechnology and the information society, are changing our society with new demands on policy-makers simultaneously to protect the citizen and ensure competitiveness in a global economy. Crises in consumer confidence and the growing impact of technology on day-to-day life have increased the expectations put on policy-makers to secure reliable scientific input throughout the whole policy process. Quick responsiveness in the event of unforeseen circumstances and awareness of potential long-term impact of science and technology developments are also required. The development of common European systems for scientific and technical references, as foreseen in the European Research Area (ERA), is an important step in this direction.

With the implementation of the JRC's refocused mission to support EU policies, three characteristics permeate its proposed work programme:
- concentration,
- openness and networking,
- customer-orientation.

The thrust of the JRC's support to EU policies lies in the provision of technical support on issues related to environmental protection, safety and security of the citizens and sustainable development. This includes risk assessment, testing, validation and refinement of methods, materials and technologies to support a whole range of policies from safety of food products, chemicals, air quality, water quality, nuclear safety, to protection against fraud.
Almost all this support will be carried out in close collaboration with laboratories and research centers in member states and elsewhere. To achieve this, the JRC has refocused its non-nuclear activities upon two core areas, supported by horizontal competencies:
- food, chemical products and health,
- environment and sustainability.

The core areas will be complemented by horizontal activities as follows:
- technology foresight,
- reference materials and measurements,
- public security and anti-fraud.
The Joint Rresearch Centre (JRC) carries out its work programme with the mission to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, implementation and monitoring of European Union policies. The JRC serves the common interest of the member states while being independent of special interests, private or national, and as such provides support when there is a need for European intervention.
Within the framework programme, the JRC's actions will focus on the following two areas:
- Food, chemical products and health,
- Environment and sustainability.

1. Food, chemical products and health:
The aim is to protect consumers' health from the potentially harmful effects of contaminants in food and in chemical products.

The specific requirements addressed in the 2002-2006 Framework Programme are linked to:
- the rapidly evolving Community food and chemical policies,
- the objectives of the precautionary principle and,
- the public concern related to health issues.

Work will thus focus on the following priorities:
- food safety and quality,
- genetically modified organisms,
- chemical products,
- biomedical applications.

2. Environment and sustainability:
The quality and use of water, air and soils, the sustainable use of energy and the threat of global warming are concerns of growing political attention. Community policy developments in those fields call for adequate knowledge of causes, processes, impacts and trends. The JRC defines its programme to take direct account of these requirements.

The programme will cover the following areas:
- assessing and preventing adverse global change,
- protection of the European environment (air, water and terrestrial resources),
- contributions to sustainable development (new and renewable energies, environmental assessment),
- support to Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES).

These two core areas are complemented by three different horizontal activities:
- technology foresight,
- reference materials and measurements,
- public security and anti-fraud.

1. Technology foresight:
Increasingly, the definition of EU policies is dependent on the timely anticipation and understanding of developments in science and technology and the social and economic environment. The JRC's expertise in analysing interrelationships between technology and society and its experience in co-ordinating cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary foresight research on an international scale will contribute to the implementation of the objectives of the European Research Area (ERA).

In the 2002-2006 Framework Programme, JRC's activities in this research area focus on:
- techno-economic foresight,
- theinternational foresight co-operation forum.

2. Reference materials and measurements:
Recognition of standards and measurements in products is an important component for the implementation of Community policies related to consumer safety, free trade, competitiveness of European industry and external relations. The JRC will further support the existing or developing European metrological infrastructure to produce results of demonstrated quality, develop specific reference measurements, produce certified reference materials (CRMs) to improve their global acceptance and organise international measurement evaluation programmes. It will also establish trans-national databases in support to EU policies.

In the 2002-2006 Framework Programme, JRC's activities cover:
- BCR (Bureau communautaire de référence) and industrial certified reference materials,
- metrology in chemistry and physics.

3. Public security and anti-fraud:
Public security issues, such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, globalisation of the economy, infringements to privacy and Internet vulnerabilities and risks from natural or technological disasters, require a co-ordinated international approach. The EU is providing a framework through a number of mechanisms and at the same time it has declared zero tolerance on fraud. These political initiatives and commitments need scientific and technical support and the JRC is shaping its programme to answer directly to some of those specific requirements.

In the 2002-2006 Framework programme, JRC's activities focus on:
- international humanitarian security,
- natural and technological hazards, risks and emergencies,
- cyber-security,
- monitoring compliance with EU regulations and fraud control.
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme. The Commission draws up a work programme for the implementation of the programme. The work programme sets out the objectives and scientific and technological priorities, the timetable for implementation, and the implementation arrangements. The work programme takes account of relevant research activities carried out by the member and associated states and European and international organisations. It is updated where appropriate.

For implementing the specific programme, the Commission consults and regularly informs the Board of Governors of the JRC on the implementation of this specific programme. The Commission also regularly reports to the Board on the overall progress of the implementation of the programme. The Commission arranges for an independent assessment of the activities carried out in the fields covered by the specific programme.

The activities relating to this action shall be performed in the relevant institutes of the Joint Research Centre (JRC).
In the implementation, the JRC will, when appropriate and feasible, participate in or organise networks of public and private laboratories in the member states or European research consortia supporting the European policy making process. Particular attention shall be paid to co-operation with industry, especially with SMEs. Research bodies established in third countries may also co-operate on projects.

Particular attention will be given to developing co-operation with research laboratories and institutes in the candidate countries and in countries of the former Soviet Union. The JRC will also use appropriate mechanisms to identify the requirements and changing needs of its customers and users and to involve them in the related activities. The knowledge gained through implementation of the projects will be disseminated by the JRC itself (taking into account possible limitations due to confidentiality issues).
The accompanying measures include:
- organisation of visits of JRC staff to national laboratories, industrial laboratories and universities,
- the promotion of mobility of young scientists, and encouraging participation of women,
- specialised training in support of the elaboration and/or implementation of the European policies with an emphasis on multidisciplinarity,
- the organisation of visits to JRC institutes of visiting scientists and seconded national experts, with particular attention to encouraging participation of women,
- a systematic exchange of information, organisation of scientific seminars, workshops and colloquia, and scientific publications,
- independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the performance of the projects and programmes.