Welcome to today’s Morning Brief. The Morning Brief  newsletter is available to INESC staff and affiliated researchers upon subscription, after creating an account in the Private Area of the HUB website, or those who wish to subscribe. To do so, click the log-in icon on the top-right corner of this website or go to the Morning Brief page and click the subscribe button.

 

Contact us:
Mariana Santos, Communications Officer
mariana.f.santos@inesctec.pt

Pedro Villas Boas, Policy and Communications Officer
pedro.v.boas@inesctec.pt  

In today's Morning Brief:

Highlights

💡 If you’re funded under Horizon Europe or other EU programs, it’s crucial to communicate your project and its results. Check out this page for insights on why and how to effectively communicate about your work. 

📊 2024 EU Budget Infographic Highlights: The Council and European Parliament sealed the deal on the annual EU budget for 2024 on November 11, 2023. Total commitments reach €189.39 billion, with total payments standing at €142.63 billion.

🧠 Unlock insights into brain health innovations and policies in this podcast by Pawel Swieboda, navigating mental wellness and neuroscience’s digital evolution. Check it here.

Key Takeaways

– Have you shared your feedback about this newsletter in our ongoing form? Please let us know what you think about the Morning Brief by filling out this form. It’s anonymous, will take only 7 minutes, and is extremely valuable to us!

– Horizon Europe latest calls have announced a funding pool exceeding €290 million for its targeting digital, industry, and space initiatives. Within this allocation, €85 million is destined for projects fostering innovation in artificial intelligence, encompassing substantial pilot endeavors to bolster industrial Internet of Things platforms and advance next-generation edge computing technologies. Know more here.

– This week, the European Parliament and member states reached an agreement on next year’s EU budget, securing a higher allocation for research and innovation than initially anticipated. The finalized arrangement earmarks €12.9 billion specifically for Horizon Europe, preserving the entirety of the research program without any cuts. Know more here.

– The Commission expressed its approval of the recent consensus reached between the European Parliament and the Council on the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA). The agreed-upon benchmarks stipulate that by 2030, the EU should be capable of extracting 10%, processing 40%, and recycling 25% of its annual consumption of strategic raw materials. Know more here.

Funding

Horizon: €290M in funding for digital, industry and space 

Horizon Europe latest calls have announced a funding pool exceeding €290 million for its targeting digital, industry, and space initiatives. Within this allocation, €85 million is destined for projects fostering innovation in artificial intelligence, encompassing substantial pilot endeavors to bolster industrial Internet of Things platforms and advance next-generation edge computing technologies.

Furthermore, €206 million is designated to fortify Europe’s competitiveness and align with green objectives. This funding includes €60 million for AI and data projects in support of the European Green Deal, €76 million for initiatives in AI, data, and robotics, and €70 million for projects related to cloud and edge computing architecture, as well as the integration of 2D materials in semiconductor technologies and advancements in quantum sensing, among other areas. Know more here.

ERC sees rise in Starting Grant applications

The European Research Council (ERC) reported a 29% increase in applications for Starting Grants, designed to assist early-career researchers in launching their independent projects. Following the closure of the 2024 call for applications, the ERC disclosed receiving 3,474 proposals. The applications were distributed across domains, with 42% in physical sciences and engineering, 30% in social science and humanities, and 28% in life sciences. Notably, nearly 40% of the submissions came from women, maintaining a consistent level from the previous call.

For the upcoming year, the ERC Scientific Council has allocated €601 million to support approximately 387 Starting Grants. Successful projects are expected to be announced in the summer of 2024. More information here.

Artificial Intelligence

OECD updates definition of Artificial Intelligence ‘to inform EU’s AI Act’

The OECD’s Council recently adopted a revised definition of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a pivotal move poised to integrate this definition into the upcoming AI regulations of the EU. This ratified definition stands as an official update, fundamentally shaping the boundaries and extent of the forthcoming legislation. It defines an AI system as a machine-based mechanism engineered to interpret inputs and generate outputs, spanning predictions, content, recommendations, or decisions that have the capacity to influence both physical and virtual environments. Acknowledging the diverse levels of autonomy and adaptability post-deployment, the definition underlines the varying nature of AI systems.

This redefined concept was deliberated within the OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy and Working Party on Artificial Intelligence Governance in mid-October. Emphasizing its relevance to the EU AI Act, a presentation during this collaborative session indicated timeline adjustments made to synchronize with the EU’s strategic plans in the AI domain. Know more here.

Study highlights AI’s economic potential amid EU regulatory focus

The I-Com, a think tank within the PromethEUs network, collaborates with Spain’s Elcano Royal Institute, Greece’s Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, and Portugal’s Institute of Public Policy.

Their recently published study underscores the economic prospects of Artificial Intelligence (AI), diverging from the EU’s current emphasis primarily on regulatory measures rather than on an industrial policy that champions European companies in this swiftly evolving market. Initially, the European Commission’s AI strategy encompassed two key components: regulation and investment. Yet, Stefano da Empoli, president of the Institute for Competitiveness, notes a neglect of the industrial policy facet, attributing this oversight to a “lack of courage” among member states. Read the full study here.

Energy

EU Atlantic strategy: what’s next?

The Atlantic strategy is making significant progress, with renewed commitments propelling its implementation forward. On October 18, 2023, ministers from France, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal issued a fresh ministerial declaration, outlining the direction for the coming years.

The focus of the new declaration centers on decarbonization and the widespread adoption of offshore renewable energy. The four EU Atlantic member states have pledged to enhance offshore renewable energy production by implementing measures to establish wave or tidal pilot farms in Atlantic waters by 2025. This initiative aligns with the EU strategy on offshore renewable energy, aiming to achieve an intermediate target of 100MW of energy supply from offshore renewables. Know more here.

Bioengineering

How can regenerative agriculture help the food system survive?

In an article featured in Devex magazine, campaigners emphasize the growing severity of extreme weather and stress the necessity for climate-smart farming techniques that preserve both water and soil fertility. Devex interviews practitioners of regenerative agriculture to explore its effectiveness. Beyond promoting biodiversity, regenerative agriculture also minimizes carbon emissions, making it a valuable tool for combating climate change in both immediate and prolonged contexts. The World Economic Forum suggests that implementing regenerative farming on 40% of global cropland could result in a reduction of approximately 600 million tons of emissions, equivalent to the carbon footprint of Germany. Read the full article here.

Regional Innovation Valleys for Bioeconomy and Food Systems” launch event conclusions

The “Regional Innovation Valleys for Bioeconomy and Food Systems” initiative was officially launched in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, on October 13, 2023, during an event attended by approximately 150 in-person and over 500 online participants. This diverse group included stakeholders from existing and potential bioeconomy and food system valleys.

These innovation valleys are poised to make significant contributions to the objectives outlined in the New European Innovation Agenda, with a specific focus on its flagship action to establish 100 regional deep-tech innovation valleys. The Regional Innovation Valleys for Bioeconomy and Food Systems are strategically positioned to drive and expedite the adoption of bioeconomy practices in regions where communities reside and work. Moreover, they aim to address the innovation divide within the EU, with particular attention given to countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Know more here.

Research & Innovation

Horizon Europe: €12.9 Billion Boost in 2024 Budget

An expeditious approval of the proposed revision to the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) by the Commission in June 2023 is allocating resources for pressing new requirements that surpass the current MFF ceilings. To cater to the priorities of the Union, funding has been allocated, including €13.6 billion for research and innovation. This sum encompasses €12.9 billion earmarked for Horizon Europe, the primary research program of the Union. Additionally, financial support is outlined for the implementation of the European Chips Act within the Horizon Europe framework and the Digital Europe Programme. Know more here.

Commission welcomes political agreement on the Critical Raw Materials Act

The Commission expressed its approval of the recent consensus reached between the European Parliament and the Council on the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA). This legislation outlines a comprehensive set of measures aimed at securing the EU’s access to critical raw materials that are affordable, sustainable, and diverse. Such access is crucial for the competitiveness of Europe, particularly in the realms of green and digital industries, as well as defense and aerospace.

The newly established regulations contribute to enhancing domestic capabilities in handling critical raw materials throughout the supply chain. These efforts complement initiatives to broaden the sources of these materials through global partnerships facilitated by the Global Gateway facility. The agreed-upon benchmarks stipulate that by 2030, the EU should be capable of extracting 10%, processing 40%, and recycling 25% of its annual consumption of strategic raw materials. Know more here.

Paper: How regional innovation ecosystems can improve participation in the European Framework Programme for R&I

This study, published by the European Commission, employs advanced statistical methods to analyse the factors influencing success in the European Research and Innovation (R&I) Framework Programme. The findings emphasize the importance of quality over quantity, with a focus on the quality of research outputs for projects addressing societal challenges and the quality of patenting activity for projects targeting industrial objectives. Less-developed regions benefit from improved institutions, while advanced regions see positive outcomes from increased investments in research and development (R&D) and human resources. The study provides actionable recommendations for regions to enhance their capacity to participate effectively in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (EU FP for R&I). Read the full paper here.

European Space Agency looks to private sector to stay competitive

According to Science Business, European Space Agency (ESA) Director General Josef Aschbacher emphasized that Europe has absorbed valuable insights as he unveiled a groundbreaking decision at the Space Summit in Seville. The “historic” move involves adopting a competition-based model for procuring upcoming launchers and cargo vehicles. In response to challenges faced by Europe’s launchers, there’s a notable shift in the agency’s approach to its collaboration with the industry. This transformative change mirrors NASA’s approach, wherein the agency moves away from owning and operating its own space vehicles. Know more here.

Technology readiness levels are getting a reality check to ensure innovations are socially acceptable

According to Science Business, while Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) offer insights into the proximity of an innovation to market readiness, they fall short in gauging people’s willingness to adopt the product and seamlessly incorporate it into their daily lives. Several European innovation entities are now employing social readiness scales to offer a more realistic assessment for researchers and engineers. These scales aim to provide a practical perspective, ensuring that innovators, who might be overly fixated on the capabilities of their creations, also consider the probable acceptance of their new technologies by consumers. Know more here.

Research Management initiative advances strategic capacities in European research organisations

The Research Management Initiative, part of the European Research Area (ERA) Policy Agenda Action No 17, aims to strengthen the strategic capacity of Europe’s public research-performing organizations. It focuses on supporting networking, training, skills development, and recognition of research management staff. The initiative is relevant for Horizon Europe WIDERA applicants and National Contact Points, aligning with ERA Policy Agenda action 4 measures to promote research careers, talent circulation, and mobility across the ERA. A detailed policy brief is available for those interested in learning more about the Research Management Initiative and its objectives.

 

INESC News

Carla Gonçalves of INESC TEC recognized among Portugal’s green visionaries

Carla Gonçalves, a researcher at INESC TEC, has been recognized as one of the 20 leading personalities in Portugal contributing to the transition to a greener world by the Portuguese newspaper Expresso. Her vision for 2030 includes widespread solar panels, increased electric vehicles, and innovative solutions for green energy storage. Explore her interview with Expresso here for more insights into her journey and vision.

Bactometer project secures runner-up position in EIT Health

The Bactometer project achieved the runner-up position in the EIT Health InnoStars RIS Innovation Call 2023 Grand Final. The project represents collaborative work, including the PhD contributions of Ruben Afonso, Ana Rita Soares, Débora de Albuquerque, supervised by Profs. Susana Freitas, Goncalo Tavares, Jorge Fernandes, and Paulo Freitas. This effort signifies an enduring collaboration between INESC MN and INESC-ID within the INESCLisboa and INESC Brussels HUB research consortium. Instituto de Saúde Ambiental (ISAMB) and Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte recently joined the project, with the participation of Profs. Cristina Barbara and Catia Caneiras. The project is additionally supported by HiSeedTech.

Artificial Intelligence and humans collaborate to enhance critical infrastructure security

What if Artificial Intelligence (AI) were employed to support decision-making, enhance efficiency, and ensure safety in the operation of critical infrastructures, typically managed by humans, in the energy (electric grid) and transportation (rail and air traffic) sectors? This is the goal of the European project AI4REALNET – AI for REAL-World NETwork operation – led by INESC TEC.

It presents itself as a challenging and ambitious initiative that relies on collaboration between humans and AI to support operational decisions made by human operators, creating conditions for the decarbonization of these sectors, improving service quality and efficiency. For instance, it aims to address potential congestion issues in these infrastructures, contributing to increased efficiency in investments in sectors critical to society. Know more about the project here.

Job Opportunities

– INESC TEC has 29 vacancies in different work areas, such as Mobile Robotics, Computer Science, and more. Recently they opened a position for the study and development of a fiber optic sensor for monitoring the curing process of concrete structures, and another in industrial Robotics Research. Find more at INESCTEC website and via LinkedIn

– INESC ID is offering a research scholarship with a 6 month duration. More info

– INOV is hiring a Analyst/Programmer and a Full Stack Software Engineer. More info

– INESC Coimbra has announced a PhD position Behavioral Operations Research and multi objective optimization in residential energy management systems. More info

Events & Training workshops

– Climate finance challenges and ESG Conference, 8 November, in INESC TEC. Register here.

– 3rd Science|Business Sector Day: Health & Life Sciences – Future-proofing medicines. 13-14 November 2023. 14:00 – 12:30 CET, Brussels. By invitation only. More info

– The European Commission organises the Annual Research Conference in Brussels, 13-15 November 2023. More information here.

– Horizon Results Booster – steering research towards a strong societal impact. 14 November 2023 from 10:00 to 12:30 (CET). More information here.

 

– Making Research results work for society, 14-15 November, Lisbon. An event promoted by the European Commission. Register here.

 

– Enterprise Europe Network Annual Conference 2023, 15 November 2023, 09:00 CET – 17 November 2023, 18:00 CET, Barakaldo, Spain. More info.

– BusinessEurope – EARTO event: Investing in Research and Innovation: Towards FP10, 20 November, 10:00 – 12:30 CET, Brussels. Registration here.

Bridging the Gap: Satellite Data and Models for Local Impact | Online Workshop with UT Austin, November 20-21, 14:00-17:00, Lisbon time. Register here.

–  NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) Policy, Monday, November 27th, 14h00-15h00, Brussels. Hybrid event. Register here.

– Horizon Europe: FP10 and Preparing for the 2024 Annual Conference. 28 November 2023. 15:00 – 17:00 CET. Online. Members only. More info

-ERC Annual Conference 2023: Research on Diversity & Diversity in Frontier Research. 28 November 2023. 08:30 – 18:00 CET. Brussels and Online. More info.

– Generative AI: How will it transform science and its impact on society? 29 November. A Science Business Event, Brussels, 14:00 to 17:00 CET. More info here.

– Behave 2023, the 7th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency by the European Energy Network (EnR). 28-29 November. Maastricht, the Netherlands. The theme of this year’s conference will be ‘Scaling-up Behaviour Change in the light of the energy and climate crises. More info.

– The Chips Joint Undertaking Launch Event, 30 November-1 December, Brussels, at the Event Lounge. Register here.

– Co-Designing Diamond Open Access Recommendations and Guidelines for Research Funders, Sponsors, and Donors by Science Europe, 4 December, Brussels, 14.00–16.00 CET. Register here.

– European Partnership Stakeholder Forum 2023. 5-6 December, Brussels. Registrations open.

– 10th Symposium on European Civil Security Research – organised by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 5-6 December, 11:30- 18:00 (CEST), Brussels and online. Register here.

– The Widening: 2023 Annual Conference. 06 December 2023 (TBC). 13:30 – 17:30 CET. Place TBA. Public event. More info

Research and innovation Conference 2023, 7 December 2023, 9:30am – 4:30pm (GMT), a UK Universities event. Register here.

– 1st European Science Diplomacy Conference – Towards a European Approach to Science Diplomacy. 18-19 December, Madrid. More info here.

– Annual Network Conference. 06 February 2024. 09:00-17:30 CET. Brussels. Public event. More info

– What’s on the Horizon? Framing the next 40 years of European R&I. 12 February 2024. A Science Business Event, Brussels, 09:00 to 17:30 CET. More info here.

– 4th Workshop on Neuroengineering: Brain-on-a-Chip Platforms. 4-5 April 2024. i3S – Institute of Research and Innovation in Health. More information here.

– 8th World Conference on Research Integrity, 2-5 June 2024, at Megaron Athens International Conference Centre (MAICC), Athens. Travel Grant applications open on 26 June 2023. More info

More Articles

22/03/2024 – Revamping the Brief, Green & Digital Transitions, Biotech, AI & Ethics, HE Strategic Plan, and Global Impact & much more

In today’s Morning Brief:
Policies
Commission´s priority with the FP 10 preparation
Figuring out the role of AI in Science
Research Security: more important than ever
Horizon international expansion: the access to more excellent science
The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU
Highlights in the European Research and Innovation landscape for 2024
Funding
Funding areas and grants for the beginning of the year
Artificial Intelligence and Data Science
United Nations releases interim report: shaping global AI governance for humanity
Energy
Wind farms as seafood hubs: innovative research explores offshore cultivation
Securing rare earths for Europe’s high-tech industries
Research & Innovation
Horizon Europe cuts would cause “serious damage”, science organisations warn
Innovative Implementation of the Partnership Principle in EU Cohesion Policy
Jacques Delors, architect of a united Europe, is dead at 98
INESC News
INESC TEC contributes to ERA FABRIC’s milestone: first joint policy brief published
INESC TEC leads a project that developed tools for managing the electrical grid of the future
Job Opportunities
Events & Training workshops

Read More »

15/03/2024 – Microelectronics and the Chips Act, the FP10, Knowledge Valorisation, Data Spaces & much more

In today’s Morning Brief:
Policies
Commission´s priority with the FP 10 preparation
Figuring out the role of AI in Science
Research Security: more important than ever
Horizon international expansion: the access to more excellent science
The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU
Highlights in the European Research and Innovation landscape for 2024
Funding
Funding areas and grants for the beginning of the year
Artificial Intelligence and Data Science
United Nations releases interim report: shaping global AI governance for humanity
Energy
Wind farms as seafood hubs: innovative research explores offshore cultivation
Securing rare earths for Europe’s high-tech industries
Research & Innovation
Horizon Europe cuts would cause “serious damage”, science organisations warn
Innovative Implementation of the Partnership Principle in EU Cohesion Policy
Jacques Delors, architect of a united Europe, is dead at 98
INESC News
INESC TEC contributes to ERA FABRIC’s milestone: first joint policy brief published
INESC TEC leads a project that developed tools for managing the electrical grid of the future
Job Opportunities
Events & Training workshops

Read More »