I was invited to address the EU’s Joint Research Centre team as part of their series on Megatrends. I took as my theme the changes in consumerism and how they would affect not only retailers and consumption in the short term, but also the relationships between state, services, brands and commerce. It was a stimulating opportunity to take the last four years of IREU Top500 research, the ongoing changes and disruptions in our industry and place these in the context of social and scientific policy-making.
The JRC’s base is in Ispra, high in the mountains, on the site of a former nuclear research centre… The setting is very ‘James Bond’ – massive security (a well-dressed, very serious nuclear police force!) and then a campus that blends the look of a modern high school with a moonbase. I was expecting solid concrete blast doors but – although the reactor is still in use for research – the environment was serious rather than max security.
The welcome was exceptional and I was treated to a tour of the information centre where you could see not only the major workstream of the EU policymakers, but also the contributing science to assess and support those goals. It is a multidisciplinary and multinational place.
After my presentation I spent a couple of hours in the electric vehicle testing unit, seeing how electric cars are tested, safety is assured and the impact on the national grids are calculated. Not only is each vehicle charger tested for how it (alone and in concert) can affect the grid, but how the grid’s flux and stress will affect each one. I’ve attached a photo of one of the test rooms that checks for electro-magnetic emissions during charging, rest, load…
It was a fascinating day where I was met with enthusiasm, patience (as things were explained to me) and a clear passion for their role – ensuring that decision-making and policy are based on the very best evidential and practical base.
You can read more about the JRC on their rather understated website: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/about/jrc-site/ispra.
I can’t share my slides but I will be digging into these themes in our webinar series to support the IREU Top500 throughout 2019.