The mission of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability is to provide scientific and technical support to the European Union's policies for the protection and sustainable development of the European and global environment.
Located in Ispra (Lake Maggiore, Italy), the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) is one of seven scientific institutes that constitute the Joint Research Centre (JRC), which is a Directorate-General of the European Commission that provides customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of European Union policies.
Made up of eight scientific Units, the Institute is engaged in the following fields of activity:
- Sustainable Use of Strategic Resources: Water, soils, forests, air, land, biodiversity
- Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development: Crop production, food security
- Climate Change and Air Pollution: Reduction of GHG emissions
- Environmental Risks and Natural Hazards: Fire, droughts, floods, desertification
- Environmental Dimension of Development Cooperation: Focus on Africa
- Environmental Monitoring and Information Systems: GMES and INSPIRE
- Sustainability Assessment: Integrated socio-economic and environmental assessments; indicator development.
The scientific advice and evidence provided by the JRC provides the European Commission with an in-house scientific reference source supporting the EU2020 strategy and accompanying flagship initiatives.
Through its research actions, the work of the IES is embedded in the 'resource-efficient Europe' flagship initiative, and makes strong contributions to the 'Digital Agenda for Europe', the 'Innovation Union', and the 'Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era' initiatives. Within these political priorities, the IES supports a large number of European policies, Action Plans and programmes related to the environment, including the Water Framework Directive, a Blueprint to Safeguard Euope’s Water, the Action Plan related to disaster and crisis management, the Air Quality Directive, the Nitrates Directive, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its reform in 2013, Space Policy, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Climate Change Policy, the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative and the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE) Directive.
The main customers of the IES are the Policy Directorates-General of the European Commission, other European bodies such as the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and global organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The IES works in close collaboration with research partners in the Member States of the European Union, for example via the Network of Air Quality Reference Laboratories (AQUILA), the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) the European Soil Bureau Network (ESBN) and further afield through the GlobalSoilMap.net and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). Since 2002, the Institute is a member of the Partnership for European Environmental Research (PEER) network, which brings together Europe's largest environmental research centres.
The IES manages several large-scale research facilities and hosts a large number of unique pan-European and global databases. The Institute actively supports the enlargement and integration process of the European Union through targeted activities. Being a European reference centre for environmental science and technology, it is also engaged in international standardisation efforts and provides calibration services to the private sector and the scientific community at large.
The IES puts strong emphasis on the public dissemination of its research results through publications and media activities, thus strengthening the link between EU policies and the European citizen.
The Institute publishes over 150 peer reviewed scientific manuscripts annually, which are complemented by an additional 80 to 100 European Commission Reports which often have a more policy-relevant format. These can be viewed and downloaded from the JRC Publications Repository.