Functions of the EU – Joint research and science groups


The Joint Research center is the science group of the European Union. It is the European Commission’s science and knowledge service that employs scientists to execute research in favor of providing independent scientific advice and support to the policy of the EU. The Director-General of the JRC is Stephen Quest and the Commissioner is Mariya Gabriel. The JRC has six sites in five EU countries:

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Geel, Belgium
  • Ispra, Italy
  • Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Petten, Netherlands
  • Seville, Spain

The JRC is responsible for the research and innovation to:

  • create, manage, and make sense of knowledge
  • to support European policies with independent evidence
  • develop innovative tools and make them available to policymakers
  • anticipate emerging issues that need to be addressed at EU level and understand policy environments
  • share expertise with EU countries, the scientific community, and international partners
  • contribute to the overall purpose of Horizon 2020 (a financial instrument aimed to boost economic growth and establish new jobs)
  • conduct research on nuclear safety and security to contribute to the transition to a carbon-free economy

The JRC collaborates with more than a thousand organizations worldwide whose work has direct impacts on the lives of people. It does so by contributing its research for secure energy supplies, sustainable mobility, and consumer health and safety. The JRC draws from 50+ years of scientific experience and continually build their expertise in knowledge production and management.

Scientists from different organizations have access to many JRC facilities through numerous collaboration agreements. The JRC has 200+ ongoing collaboration agreements. These agreements authorize sharing of infrastructure, laboratory equipment, data materials along with transferring knowledge. This facilitates closer links between the European scientific community and the Commission. It is because of these agreements that the JRC can play its role as the European Commission’s science and knowledge service to the fullest. As a result of collaborating with public and private organizations, universities, and national and international bodies, the JRC is able to work towards a better future.

In 2018, the JRC and the European Parliament Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) launched “Science meets Parliaments / Science meets Regions”. The objective was to build closer links between scientists and EU policymakers, in order to promote a culture of evidence-informed policymaking. This project compromises three main lines of action:

  1. organising events in EU member states, under full ownership of the concerned authorities
  2. conducting scientific studies to support these events and their follow-up
  3. raising awareness about the science-policy nexus

These events give scientists the opportunity to present their work and allow policymakers to communicate their needs and explain their priorities.