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News announcement15 June 2021

New arrangement boosts EU-US science cooperation to support innovation

The Arrangement is signed today at an event during the EU-US Summit

The JRC and NIST have been cooperating on science since 1984.
The JRC and NIST have been cooperating on science since 1984.
© tapui, adobe stock 2021

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have agreed today to renew and extend their cooperation, paving the way for a new era of collaboration between two of the world’s leading scientific centres.

The new Implementing Arrangement sets out a framework for cooperation on standards, measurements and certified reference materials over the next five years. It reinvigorates a working relationship that began back in 1984, spanning fields from structural engineering to emerging technologies and food safety.

Recently, the JRC and NIST released certified reference materials that can be used to assess the stability of mRNA vaccines, such as those against COVID-19. With this new arrangement, the two organisations will continue working together on scientific solutions to help tackle the pandemic and build back resilient societies that are ready to face future challenges.

The new Implementing Arrangement aims to expand cooperation and support collaborative activities in the following fields:

  • Reference materials, where JRC and NIST are leading global producers;
  • Emerging ICT and AI;
  • Energy and transport;
  • Nanotechnology;
  • Healthcare and clinical measurements;
  • Environment and climate;
  • Food safety and nutrition;
  • Security and resilience.

Collaboration in these fields will take several forms, building on previous positive experiences. Some types of cooperation could include:

  • Information exchange: the JRC and NIST share data on topics like remote sensing and regulatory science. They also hold workshops to exchange knowledge and explore specific topics together. Most recently, the two co-organised a workshop to exchange ideas on developing methods useful to tackling global plastic pollution;
  • Visiting scientists: There are regular contacts and mutual visits between JRC and NIST scientists to spend time working on specific projects, which in the recent years focused on areas including nanoplastics research and critical infrastructures.
  • Joint research projects: the JRC and NIST work together on producing certified reference materials and on several other projects.


The Implementing Arrangement was signed by JRC Director-General, Stephen Quest, and NIST Associate Director performing the nonexclusive duties of the NIST Director, Dr. James Olthoff, today, at an event on the day of the EU-US Summit.

As a milestone in reinvigorating the Transatlantic partnership, the EU-US Summit launches new strands of cooperation, following upon the proposals made in the Joint Communication on A New EU-US agenda for global change published on 2 December and the Council Conclusions of 7 December 2020. The new JRC-NIST Implementing Arrangement can help to contribute to the implementation of some of these objectives.

The Arrangement is placed under the Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the United States of America.

Related links

NIST website

Related Content

NIST website


Publication date
15 June 2021