Bringing scientific evidence to the disposal of Europe's regions and cities can help them to develop better policies, which is why a delegation of the European Committee of the Regions led by the President Markku Markkula visited the site of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, on Friday 25 November.
A structured collaboration established in 2014 between the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has led to numerous joint initiatives, such as the recently developed Knowledge Centre for Territorial Policies, which is providing targeted scientific support to EU regions and cities, or the series of Science meets Regions events and Innovation Camps organised around Europe this year.
Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: "Scientific research from the JRC, combined with our local knowledge and proximity to citizens, will lead to better solutions for tackling societal challenges. Working together can help the CoR members to fulfil their mission on the ground, i.e. to develop policies that can create jobs and sustainable growth in cities and regions and provide a better quality of life for citizens. Evidence-based policy-making relies on a strong commitment and dialogue between politicians and scientists."
Charlina Vitcheva, Deputy Director-General of the Joint Research Centre, said: "It is an honour to host President Markkula and his colleagues for this high-level political delegation visit to our site in Ispra. This further demonstrates the positive structured collaboration we have with the CoR. This year has been particularly active with joint JRC-CoR activities, which also serve to highlight the importance of informing policy through evidence at all levels of governance. How we might take our collaboration further, notably in regard to the CoR's priorities for inclusive innovation and societal security, will serve as a backdrop to the various JRC policy support activities that the CoR will be introduced to."
Helping cities and regions to develop their smart specialisation strategies, supporting the implementation of the Investment Plan for Europe, monitoring the deployment of the Covenant of Mayors climate plans, improving energy efficiency and developing territorial impact assessment were identified among key areas where the two bodies could reinforce their collaboration. Furthermore, practical handbooks for local and regional authorities could be produced jointly between the CoR and the JRC to raise awareness on opportunities that science offers to policy-making.
The CoR delegation consisted of chairs, vice-chairs and members of the Committee's six thematic commissions. Raffaele Cattaneo, President of the Lombardy Regional Council and Chair of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER), said: "Cities and regions are a breeding ground for innovative initiatives. Having a European research centre at the service of EU regions represents a real added value and a source of excellence. The researchers here are working on the most advanced topics in the field of energy, transport and many other issues that are decisive for the future of technologies changing our lives."
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