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Contact us:
Mariana Santos, Communications Officer

Pedro Villas Boas, Policy and Communications Officer

In today's Morning Brief:

Dear readers, this week we highlight the big INESC gathering: the Winter Meeting, in addition to the usual R&I topics we share here. Other than this major event that joined the five institutes, we dig into the Horizon Europe budget, which will experience a reduction of €2.1 billion from its €95.5 billion initial allocation, being this amount diverted to defense research. We also explore the Horizon 2020 review, its valuable lessons and the major takeaways for defining a solid and balanced FP10. Finally, we explore the Cleantech for Europe initiative’s report, revealing a notable funding gap as the EU strives to achieve cleantech manufacturing goals, navigating challenges in scaling and industrializing innovations despite a decade of leadership in cleantech. Keep updated on the EU R&I landscape with the Morning Brief!



📢 A survey is seeking input from the European research community regarding Horizon Europe’s missions—a novel initiative aiming to achieve tangible outcomes in areas such as cancer, ocean and water pollution, and soil health by 2030. Know more here.

📋 The Dutch government has unveiled a new strategy, identifying ten key technologies to be prioritized by various stakeholders, including optics and integrated photonics, quantum technologies, green chemical production processes, biotechnology targeting molecules and cells, and others.

Key Takeaways

– As part of a broader €64.6 billion reallocation within the EU’s multiannual budget to address the escalating costs of supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, Horizon Europe will experience a reduction of €2.1 billion from its €95.5 billion budget. Notably, €1.5 billion of the diverted funds will be allocated to defense research, impacting the research program. Know more here.

– The 2014-2020 research program’s outcomes and limitations emphasize the need for a larger future budget. Ole Petter Ottersen, acting secretary-general of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, notes the report’s indication that each euro invested in Horizon 2020 will yield five euros in benefits by 2040. Mattias Björnmalm, secretary-general of CESAER, highlights the program’s success in enhancing scientific excellence, technological leadership, and facilitating societal advancements beyond economic benefits. Know more here.

– The Cleantech for Europe initiative’s report underscores a significant funding shortfall for the EU to attain its cleantech manufacturing objectives. Despite being a leader in cleantech innovation over the past decade, the EU faces challenges in scaling and industrializing these technologies. The European Commission identifies a requirement for €92 million in combined public and private investments until 2030 for five crucial net-zero technologies. Read the full report here.

INESC Winter Meeting 2024

On 25 January, the INESC Winter Meeting 2024 gathered 200 participants from the 5 INESC Institutes – INESC Coimbra, INESC-ID, INESC MN, INESC TEC and INOV.
In this first day, the meeting took place at the Alfândega Porto Congress Centre, against the scenic backdrop of the Douro River, providing an appropriate setting for collective reflection on our positioning within the European Research and Innovation (R&I) landscape.
Led by Dirk Stockmans, an experient facilitator who worked for the European Commission, we worked together to shape the success stories we want to share in the coming years. Strategies and strengths, as well as the challenges we need to overcome, were discussed, and provided solid routes for our common strategic positioning.
Charlotte Andersdotter and Massimo Busuoli, experient professionals in this area, had fundamental insights for sharing their experiences and were also a source of inspiration.
During the second day, exclusive to administrations and senior positions, we engaged in insightful discussions at the INESC Winter Meeting 2024. The agenda included focused deliberations on the EU positioning of INESC institutes, strategies for adapting to evolving funding realities, and the essential conditions for success in the European Research and Innovation (R&I) landscape.
The day concluded with an in-room training session on “Corporate Governance: Board Development,” providing a valuable opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding of governance dynamics and best practices. This tailored session aimed to enhance the expertise of administrators and senior figures, aligning with the overarching goal of reinforcing the effectiveness and strategic positioning of INESC institutes in the European R&I domain.
We thank all the participants who contributed, whether through posters, technical demonstrations or by openly sharing their work and engaging with colleagues from other institutes. Each contribution played a vital role. A special thanks to the INESC TEC Jazz Band for adding a melodious touch to our meeting!



Early 2024 open calls

Remember you can check our new tool for all the open calls under the Horizon Europe programme. Meanwhile, these are the main open funding areas and grants for the beginning of the year:  

Applications for up to 8 CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. Scholarships

Starting on February 1st, the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program and Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) are inviting applications for up to eight Dual Degree Ph.D. scholarships in ICT-related areas for the academic year 2024/2025. This opportunity is available to staff and researchers from INESC ID, INESC INOV, and INESC MN.
The application period is currently open, and submissions must be made online directly at CMU. Different deadlines apply for each of the five Ph.D. programs:
  • Software Engineering (SE) and Societal Computing (SC): February 8th, 2024 (11:59 pm EST | 04:59 am GMT).
  • Computer Science (CS) and Language Technologies (LTI): February 14th, 2024 (11:59 pm EST | 04:59 am GMT).
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Engineering and Public Policy (EPP): February 28th, 2024 (11:59 pm EST | 04:59 am GMT).
Know more here.

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science


Opinion article: Europe needs to plot its own course in applying artificial intelligence to education

In a Science Business opinion article by Martin Vendel, it is highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has positioned technology-assisted learning at the forefront of education, with AI now driving further advancements. While this presents substantial advantages, it is crucial to approach the risks and benefits of these tools with nuance. In higher education, the integration of AI tools, particularly in educational technology (EdTech), has shown transformative potential. EdTech facilitates personalized learning experiences, accommodates diverse learning styles, and enables 24/7 access to coursework for flexible learning. Automation in grading, classroom management, and the adoption of tools like ChatGPT are revolutionizing educational processes. However, realizing the full potential of these technologies while preventing misuse remains a critical and unresolved challenge. An example is the widespread use of AI tools in academic writing, posing a threat to academic integrity. News strategies and roadmaps are needed. Know more here.

Helmholtz head advocates shift in FP10 focus: embracing AI and solar flagships

Helmholtz head, Otmar Wiestler, advocates for a shift in the focus of FP10, proposing the replacement of missions with EU-wide initiatives concentrating on AI and solar flagships, he told Science Business. Wiestler emphasizes the importance of EU-led endeavours to secure industrial leadership in emerging technologies. He expresses openness to incorporating military dual-use research calls in Horizon Europe’s successor, without fundamental opposition. Criticizing the limited impact of heavily funded missions, Wiestler envisions pan-EU projects under FP10 aimed at establishing a leading solar industry and developing AI models for medical and climate applications. Know more here.



Commission launches 2 calls for evidence linked to increasing public and private investment in energy efficiency

The Commission has recently initiated two calls for evidence related to investments in energy efficiency. The first call focuses on evaluating the levels of EU and national funding for energy efficiency, contributing to a report by the end of 2024. The report aims to explore the feasibility of an EU mechanism for facilitating investment, potentially leading to a legislative proposal. The second call seeks evidence on ways to enhance private investment in energy efficiency to meet the new EU targets for 2030. The insights gathered will assist the Commission in creating a “Guidance” document for EU countries and market actors, addressing how to “unlock private investment in energy efficiency,” scheduled for publication by the end of 2024. Know more here.

‘Contradictory’ national energy plans mean EU risks missing 2030 climate targets

According to Science Business, member states are revising their roadmaps for emission reduction targets, with a heavy reliance on green hydrogen, biofuels, and carbon capture and storage infrastructure. However, a report from the European Climate Neutrality Observatory (ECNO) raises concerns that these plans lack clarity on how the necessary infrastructure will be implemented. The ECNO, an independent consortium evaluating progress toward climate neutrality, analyzed draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) from five countries. The report warns that the plans are inconsistent, contradictory, and could pose a risk to Europe’s path to net zero. The drafts from Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden, set to be finalized by June 2024, are criticized for lacking policy detail and transparency. Know more here.

WaveFarm unleashes a wave of energy for a sustainable future

Wave energy stands as the largest untapped renewable resource globally, with a potential of 30,000 TWh/year, surpassing global electrical energy consumption. As explained in an European Commission article, if harnessed effectively, it could significantly boost renewable energy production and decrease reliance on fossil fuels.
Wave conditions’ predictability, coupled with advanced wave energy converters, could contribute up to 10% of the EU’s energy by 2050, reducing the need for fossil fuel backup generators. Aligned with the EU’s renewable energy goals, the ocean energy objective aims for a minimum of 1 GW installed capacity by 2030 and 40 GW by 2050. Fuelled by the EU-funded WaveFarm project, Finnish enterprise AW-Energy is working on industrial-scale wave energy production to support these ambitious targets. Know more here.

Research and Innovation


Horizon Europe budget to be cut by €2.1B, as defence research gets a €1.5B boost

Leaders in Brussels approved adjustments this week following Germany’s rejection of a Commission proposal to inject an extra €100 billion into the EU’s multiannual budget, as explained by Science Business. This decision facilitates the allocation of a €50 billion aid package for Ukraine. As part of a broader €64.6 billion reallocation within the EU’s multiannual budget to address the escalating costs of supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, Horizon Europe will experience a reduction of €2.1 billion from its €95.5 billion budget. Notably, €1.5 billion of the diverted funds will be allocated to defense research, impacting the research program. The major portion of the reallocated funds, €50 billion, will be directed to Ukraine. Additional financial needs include support for migration and border management, foreign aid to neighboring countries, and an extra €1.5 billion for the European Defence Fund (EDF), the EU’s primary source for military technology research and development. Know more here.

EARTO raises concerns over RD&I budget cuts in EU agreement

The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO) expressed deep concern over the Research, Development, and Innovation (RD&I) budget cuts in the agreements reached by the European Council on February 1, 2024, as part of the Mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. A substantial €2.1 billion is slated to be redirected from Horizon Europe.
EARTO emphasizes the viewpoint that RD&I funds should not serve as an adjustment tool in European Union budget discussions. This move raises apprehensions regarding the potential impact on research and innovation initiatives within the EU. Know more here.

Horizon 2020 evaluation shows that investment in EU research and innovation greatly pays off

The Horizon 2020 program, the European Union’s initiative for research and innovation spanning from 2014 to 2020, played a significant role in fostering a knowledge-based and innovative EU society and economy. With a substantial budget of nearly €80 billion, it made noteworthy contributions that extended well beyond what individual nations or regions could have achieved. Notable achievements include its swift responses to the COVID-19, Ebola, and Zika outbreaks, along with substantial contributions to climate science.
The recently published ex-post evaluation of Horizon 2020 highlights its tangible impact and emphasizes the program’s cost-effectiveness. It reveals that each euro invested in the program is projected to yield five euros in benefits for EU citizens by 2040. This underscores the substantial value for money associated with investments in research and innovation, showcasing the positive impact on European society. Know more here.

Horizon 2020 review underlines need for more ambition in Framework Programme 10, research leaders say

The outcomes, as well as the limitations, of the 2014-2020 research program underscore the need for a larger budget in the future, as reported by Science Business. According to Ole Petter Ottersen, the acting secretary-general of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, the report indicates that each euro invested in Horizon 2020 will yield five euros in benefits for European citizens by 2040, emphasizing the positive impact. Mattias Björnmalm, the secretary-general of the university association CESAER, adds that beyond economic benefits, the program successfully enhanced scientific excellence, technological leadership, and facilitated digital and green transitions, showcasing its societal value.
However, Horizon 2020’s major drawback was insufficient funding; an additional €159 billion would have been required to support all high-quality proposals. Know more here.

Switzerland holds talks with EU on joining Erasmus+

Swiss Education Secretary Martina Hirayama has engaged in preliminary discussions with the European Commission, expressing interest in Switzerland joining the Erasmus+ education mobility program. Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, the EU’s Director-General for education, youth, sport, and culture, welcomed Switzerland’s interest, emphasizing the potential mutual rewards in collaboration on education and culture. The European Parliament has previously endorsed Switzerland’s participation in Erasmus+.

Fifth EU-US Trade and Technology Council meeting takes place in Washington, D.C.

Representatives from the European Commission and the US government convened in Washington, D.C. for the fifth meeting of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council. Discussions centred around enhancing bilateral trade, investment, and cooperation on economic security and emerging technologies. Both parties agreed to explore avenues for facilitating trade in goods and technologies crucial for the green transition, said the Commission in a statement. Additionally, they committed to reinforcing measures related to investment screening, export controls, outbound investment, and dual-use innovation. The next ministerial meeting, described by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as the “capstone TTC,” is scheduled to occur in Belgium in the spring.

Open letter calls on EU Commission to consider impact of policies on research sector

Eight organizations representing the public research and higher education sectors have penned an open letter to Ilze Juhansone, the secretary-general of the European Commission. In the letter, they express the need for better integration of their concerns into policy decisions, citing instances where the needs of research and higher education were not adequately considered. An example highlighted is the Digital Services Act, which lacks explicit exemptions for not-for-profit organizations from obligations designed for commercial platforms. The signatories call on the Commission to review the EU’s Innovation Principle and update its Better Regulation guidance to comprehensively incorporate the needs and interests of higher education and research, ensuring the protection of academic freedom.

EU faces €50 billion cleantech funding gap, says report

The Cleantech for Europe initiative has issued a report highlighting a substantial investment gap for the EU to achieve its cleantech manufacturing goals. Despite being a cleantech innovation powerhouse in the last decade, the EU struggles to scale and industrialize these technologies. The European Commission estimates a need for €92 million in public and private investments until 2030 for five key net-zero technologies. However, the current rate of private investment leaves a significant funding gap of €50 billion, which may double when considering other strategic technologies. The Cleantech for Europe initiative is advocating for an “EU Cleantech Investment Plan” to attract capital from institutional investors, use public guarantees to reduce cleantech risks, and allocate EU ETS revenues for cleantech manufacturing. Read the full report here.

Remote access to research infrastructures should be improved, ESFRI report finds 

The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) has released a report highlighting ongoing issues regarding access to research infrastructures. Based on a survey of research lab users, the report is part of ESFRI’s initiative to revise the European Charter of Access to Research Infrastructures. The findings indicate that researchers are seeking enhanced options for remote and hybrid access to research infrastructures. Additionally, respondents emphasize the importance of expanding access to these labs for new research communities and industry users. Know more here.

Dutch government identifies ten key technologies in new strategy

The Dutch government has unveiled a new strategy, identifying ten key technologies to be prioritized by various stakeholders, including the government, research institutions, companies, and civil society organizations. These technologies include optics and integrated photonics, quantum technologies, green chemical production processes, biotechnology targeting molecules and cells, imaging technologies, optomechatronics, artificial intelligence and data, energy materials, semiconductors, and cybersecurity. The strategy also outlines specific targets that the Netherlands aims to achieve in these areas by the year 2035.

Survey opens about Horizon Europe missions

survey is seeking input from the European research community regarding Horizon Europe’s missions—a novel initiative aiming to achieve tangible outcomes in areas such as cancer, ocean and water pollution, and soil health by 2030. The questionnaire aims to gather insights into the current perception and implementation status of the five missions and seeks feedback on the specific challenges and needs researchers currently face. The survey is expected to take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

Fostering diversity in research: Science Europe’s practical guide and best practices

Science Europe published a new article, which aims to promote diversity in research environments through the release of a practical guide, sharing insights from their 2023 survey and featuring best practices from their member organisations. The guide reflects on the challenges research organizations encounter in fostering fair and inclusive research cultures, contributing to our broader commitment to embedding shared values in policies and practices throughout Europe to support high-quality research and create attractive and equitable research environments. Read it here.


INESC MN advances microfabrication expertise in Micro.eletronics consortium

INESC MN is actively participating as a member of the Micro.electronics Agenda Consortium, operating within the framework of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR). The primary objective of this agenda is to enhance the production and innovation capabilities of the national semiconductor and microelectronics industry.
Leveraging its expertise in microfabrication, INESC MN is collaborating with Picadvanced to contribute to the industrialization of processes for integrated optical circuits. A recent achievement involved reducing the thickness of a 3″ wafer from 388 microns to 250 microns using Etch KOH. This progress underscores the institute’s commitment to advancing technologies and applications within the microelectronics sector. Know more here.

INESC TEC researcher enhances Android application security

Reports of leaks of information stored by major software applications—gathered through the usage of these applications by ordinary citizens—are frequent, exposing personal data, often of a sensitive nature. These leaks are typically caused by software malfunctions capable of causing significant losses to companies, both financially and in terms of reputation. This underscores the importance of employing good coding practices. In this context, INESC TEC researcher Rui Rua has been working to develop solutions that enhance the performance of Android applications through modifications to the source code. Know more here.

First CoARA international conference hosted by INESC TEC and other partners in Porto

FCT, INESC-TEC, CoARA, and Science Europe, in collaboration with the University of Minho, are jointly hosting the “CoARA National Chapters Exchange Forum” on February 22 and 23 at the Alfândega do Porto Congress Centre. This inaugural international gathering under CoARA, an organization with nearly 700 signatory institutions, aims to bring together representatives from existing and developing National Chapters alongside high-level delegates from European and national institutions.
The event seeks to facilitate in-depth discussions on common goals and commitments for research assessment reform, as outlined in the agreement. Specific objectives include enhancing communication and collaboration among CoARA National Chapters, exploring synergies, and addressing questions while mobilizing countries that have yet to establish a National Chapter. The HUB played a crucial role in bringing together this organizations closer to the stakeholders, with the aim of improving the assessment of research careers. Know more here.

Job Opportunities

– INESC TEC has 34 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 hiring a Communication and Operations ManagerMore 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 

–  Annual Network Conference. 06 February 2024. 09:00-17:30 CET. Brussels. Public event. More info
– INESC-ID Training Workshop: “Horizon Europe for ICT: An Overview”, February 14, 15h-17h30, Lisbon. Register here.
– CoARA National Chapters Exchange Forum, February 22 – 9 am to 23 February 1pm, Porto, Portugal. More info here.
– Access conditions to Technology Infrastructures, organised by the European Commission, February 27, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Brussels. Register here.

– International conference CBRNE Research & Innovation, March 19, 2024 – March 21, 2024, Strasbourg. Register here.
R&I Week 2024, the European Commission’s flagship event on research and innovation, will take place from 18 to 21 March 2024 in Tour & Taxis, Brussels. The event marks the 40th anniversary of the Research and Innovation Framework Programmes and will focus on discussions on the future of R&I and its role in EU priorities such as technological sovereignty and competitiveness.
During the event, participants will be able to attend various sessions:
– 18 March: Opening of the R&I Week. Know more here.
– 19 March: The 2024 EIC Summit. Register here.
– 19-20 March: Belgian Presidency Conference on Innovation Procurement. here.
– 20-21 March: The European R&I Days 2024. Register here.

– Connecting Europe Days, 2 April, 11:00 – 5 April, 12:30, Brussels. 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.
– MSCA Presidency conference: Researcher’s careers – multiple pathways, 18 – 19 April 2024, Mons, Belgium. Register 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
– European Sustainable Energy Week 2024, 11 June 2024, 09:00 – Thursday 13 June 2024, 18:00 (CEST), Brussels. More info here.

– Conference: IAMOT – International Association for Management of Technology 2024, 8-11 July 2024. Porto, Portugal. Organised by INESC TEC and FEUP. More info
-14th International Symposium on Communication Systems, Networks and Digital Signal Processing – CSNDSP 2024, 17-19 July 2024, 9:00 – 17:30, Rome, Italy. Register here.

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