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) - Environment and Climate -,1995-1998

Framework programme


Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 294 million

Official Journal Reference

L 361 of 1994-12-31

Legislative Reference

918/94/EC of 1995-12-15
Institutional research activities and institutional scientific and technical support to the implementation of the Environment and Climate programme and to the formulation and implementation of the Community's environment policy.


Under Fourth RTD Framework Programme (1994-1998), the JRC carries out both institutional research and institutional scientific and technical support activities for the specific RTD programme in the area of environment and climate. These activities build and expand on JRC actions implemented under previous programmes in the area of environmental protection.

JRC direct actions have two components: 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 RTD policy of the Community; and institutional scientific and technical support activities, which 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 JRC carries out both types of activities in support of the environment and climate programme.

The institutional research activities are mainly focused on the issue of global change and intended to contribute to international collaborative programmes such as the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and, more specifically, the following IGBP projects: International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC), Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE), Biosphere Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle (BAHC) and Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). The JRC continues to contribute to the creation of the European Earth Observation System (EEOS) through the Centre for Earth Observation and contributes to the ENRICH network by making its scientific research on global change available and by contributing, from a scientific and technical point of view, to the coordination of actions. In conducting the institutional research, the JRC will assure links with relevant EUREKA projects.

The institutional scientific and technological support activities are focused on contributing to the development of the Community's environment policy (notably the Fifth Environmental Action Programme) and, in particular, supporting the implementation of existing Directives and the formulation of new ones. The institutional support activities conducted by the JRC are generally defined and performed in close collaboration between JRC programme managers and managers of the relevant Directorates-General.

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 environment and climate, actions under the competitive approach focus on support to the Community's regulatory activities in the general framework of environmental policy, including the development of analytical methods and the implementation, through a network of analytical laboratories, of series of tests on atmospheric pollution, water quality, waste and land-based pollution. One particular activity is the use of aerospace remote sensing methods for the surveillance of tropical forest, desertification and marine productivity. Some subjects concerning the regulation of industrial hazards and some measures relating to industrial safety, including biotechnology, may also be included.


Institutional research:

Seven areas:

- Atmospheric processes:
To contribute to the assessment of climate perturbations in the troposphere and lower stratosphere due to atmospheric chemistry of anthropogenic and natural emissions in Europe. JRC's activities are to be conducted in the framework of international collaborative programmes, such as the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). Special attention is to be given to tropospheric ozone and the oxidative efficiency of the atmosphere and to the role of aerosol precursors and aerosol/cloud interactions;

- Environmental quality:
Research on selected aspects of the total chemical pollution, based on European collaboration and in support of prenormative research for the Single Market. Lines of research cover:
. Chemical pollution in soil and water: contaminant transport acid accumulation, biological processes and related monitoring;
. Total human exposure to chemicals: environmental compartments, exposure routes and health effects for trace metals and selected classes of organics;
. Processing and management of data, including the adaptation of geographic information systems;

- Industrial reliability:
To elaborate, together with industry, public authorities and national laboratories a sound scientific basis for improving safety and environmental impact of technology, including the development of multicriteria methods for the definition of aggregate indicators of the state of the environment; development of new methodologies for assessing the safety and reliability of industrial systems; the provision of model design methodologies and experimentally verified calculation tools for the safe operation of chemical reactors. The main lines of research cover:
. Chemical pollution in soil and water: contaminant transport and accumulation, biological processes and related monitoring;
. Total human exposure to chemicals: environmental compartments, exposure routes and health effects for trace metals and selected classes of organics;
. Processing and management of data, including the adaptation of geographic information systems;

- Remote sensing for the terrestrial and marine biosphere:
To document and understand the functioning of the terrestrial and marine biosphere at a global scale. The associated actions hinge on the development and combined application of remote sensing techniques and models, and will directly support the efforts of the scientific community in the exploration of the eco-system from space. Particular attention is to be given to the monitoring and understanding of the biosphere and its interactions with the other components of the global climate system, in particular the atmosphere;

- Advanced earth observation techniques:
To evaluate and develop possible applications of remote sensing techniques taking into account the European Microwave Signature Laboratory and the European Airborne Remote Sensing Capabilities being carried out with the European Space Agency. The output is directed at the scientific community in preparation for the utilization of data from earth observation sensors, the development of methods to interpret satellite-derived data and the evaluation of advanced techniques for earth observation. The work foreseen includes:
. Advanced methods for environmental data analysis;
. Advanced techniques for remote sensing data acquisition;

- Remote sensing monitoring:
Research aimed at developing remote sensing-based methods that could in the future lead to applications projects in the various Directorates General, for example DG I (External Affairs), DG VIII (Development), and DG XI (Environment). The work undertaken within this framework involves input from institutes and organizations in the Member States and covers:
. Tropical forest information system;
. Ecosystem monitoring in the African Savannah;
. Biomass burning monitoring and impact assessment;
. European environmental monitoring;
. Remote sensing data and marine information systems;
. Ocean colour;
. Atmospheric monitoring;
. Development of methods aimed at improving the detection of dangerous objects for the protection of the population, using the European Microwave Signature Laboratory;

- Centre for Earth Observation:
Contribution to the design and implementation phase of the Centre for Earth Observation in cooperation with the European Space Agency and other European organizations such as EUMETSTAT to establish a coordinated, decentralized Earth observation network called the European Earth Observation System (EEOS).
(Fuller details of the JRC contribution to the CEO are contained in the "CEO 2" record on the RTD-PROGRAMMES database);

- Institutional scientific and technical support activities:
Seven areas:

- European reference laboratory for air pollution (Erlap):
Activities consist of the provision of scientific and technical support to the regulatory action of the Commission, covering ambient air quality, industrial emissions and environmental radioactivity information exchange. Work focuses on:
. The preparation and implementation of Community Directives on ambient air quality, with special regard to the urban environment and industrial emissions, in collaboration with the newly established Erlap. Priority is to be given to the establishment of harmonization procedures designed to ensure absolute coherence of information coming from the different Member States;
. Implementation of Community Directives on environmental radioactivity, particularly on those related to information exchange with Member States, both under normal conditions and following an accident;

- Support to the European Environment Agency (EEA):
In accordance with the Council Regulation establishing the EEA, the JRC is to provide scientific and technical support to the Agency. Priority tasks comprise the following:
. Harmonization of environmental measurement methods;
. Intercaliberation of data formats;
. Standardization of data formats;
. Development of new environmental measurement methods and instruments;
. Other tasks to be agreed between the Executive Director of the Agency and the Director-General of the JRC;

- European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM):
To provide scientific and technical support to the regulatory work of the Community. ECVAM coordinates efforts designed to promote the orderly scientific and regulatory acceptance of alternative methods (non-vivisection) which are of importance to the biosciences and which can reduce, refine or replace the use of laboratory animal procedures;

- Industrial reliability:
Two activities:
. To support the implementation of environmental Directives on major hazards, biotechnology hazards, environmental impact assessments and safety at work;
. To analyse the safe handling of dangerous products during the complete product-life cycle, in particular in transit and storage;

- European Chemicals Bureau (ECB):
Technical focal point for research based work for the implementation of Community Regulations and Directives in the field of chemicals control. Activities cover the following domains:
. Classification and labelling of dangerous substances;
. Implementation of the notification scheme for new substances;
. Testing methods;
. Existing chemicals Regulations;
. Import/export of dangerous substances;

- Foodstuff and European Community Pharmaceutical Information Network:
Two activities:
. Technical and scientific support to the relevant Commission services concerning the harmonization of analytical methods applied to foods and consumer goods;
. Integrated information and communication to support the relevant Commission services and the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medical Products in monitoring market transparency (scientific information and process) for medicinal products and in the electronic interchange of documents/data with national authorities;

- Quality control of consumer products:
Two activities:
. To provide an impartial service by making available scientific and technical means to DG XXIV (Consumer policy) for the control of trace contaminants in industrial products destined for public use;
. To assist DG XXIV in the definition and verification of product safety and provide methods for quality control.


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) contributes to the activities of the specific RTD programme in the area of environment and climate (1994-1998) through the implementation of institutional research and institutional scientific and technical support activities (See definition in the "General Information" section of this record).

Four JRC institutes are involved in the implementation of the direct actions:

- Institute for Systems Engineering and Informatics (for activities relating to aspects of the Centre for Earth Observation, environmental quality and industrial reliability);
- Environment Institute (for activities relating to aspects of the Centre for Earth Observation, atmospheric processes, and advanced earth observation techniques);
- Institute for Remote Sensing Applications (for activities relating to aspects of the Centre for Earth Observation, remote sensing for the terrestrial and marine biospheres, remote sensing monitoring, advanced earth observation techniques and environmental quality);
- Institute for Safety Technology (activities related to industrial reliability).

The Commission, assisted by the Board of Governors of the JRC, is responsible for the implementation of the direct actions 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 294 million is reserved for the implementation of direct actions in support of the specific programme in the area of environment and climate. 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. Approximately one-third of the global budget is ear-marked for the institutional support activities.

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 26 million is reserved for actions to be implemented in the area of environment and climate. Actions 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.
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