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

Pedro Villas Boas, Policy and Communications Officer

In today's Morning Brief:


🌍 Join us at EARTO’s upcoming events in Brussels, which will gather representatives from all over the world (RTOs, EU institutions, industry, and other key R&I stakeholders).

🌱 Have you read the key recommendations for net-zero innovation ecosystems coming out from the INESC Brussels HUB participation in the Science Business-INESC conference?

🔮 Dive into the exclusive insights from our participation in the European Commission JRC-EARTO foresight workshop! Find the presentations here

Key Takeaways

– Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are advocating for an additional €140 million to be allocated to Horizon Europe, in contrast to the 2024 budget draft put forth by the European Commission. A draft resolution is set to be voted on October 9th.

– The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO) has expressed deep concern about a budget reallocation within Horizon Europe. In a recent publication, EARTO strongly objected to the idea of withdrawing funds from Pillar II of Horizon Europe and redirecting them to the European Innovation Council (EIC). Read the complete statement here.

– The four intermunicipal communities of Alentejo have just signed an agreement that grants the Alentejo Regional Development Agency (ADRAL) specific responsibilities in the establishment of a permanent representation of Alentejo in Brussels. ADRAL, through its network of European partners, is the largest regional organization dedicated to identifying, designing, and implementing projects with European funding. Read more here.



Next MSCA cofund call opening soon: 6 steps to prepare your application

The MSCA Co-funding of Regional, National, and International Programmes (COFUND) action offers financial support for regional, national, and international initiatives designed to enhance researcher training, career development, and mobility. This is achieved through co-funding mechanisms, and the program aims to promote the adoption of MSCA best practices, ensuring high standards and excellent working and employment conditions.
If you’re considering applying for MSCA COFUND, here’s a helpful roadmap to get you started on your proposal:
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the funding process.
Step 2: Confirm your organization’s eligibility and understand the recruitment criteria.
Step 3: Identify suitable partners to collaborate on your proposal.
Step 4: Begin drafting your application.
Step 5: Seek input and feedback from colleagues.
Step 6: Submit your application.
For detailed information on each of these steps, check this link.

New European Bauhaus: applications open for 2024 edition of NEB Prizes

The Commission has officially launched the applications for the 2024 New European Bauhaus (NEB) Prizes. This year, the NEB Prizes will recognize 20 outstanding innovative projects and concepts that embody principles of sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusivity. Notably, for the first time, applicants from Ukraine are eligible to submit their projects alongside those from EU Member States and the Western Balkans. Special recognition prizes are reserved for projects contributing to Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction in alignment with NEB values.
In addition to this expansion, the 2024 NEB Prizes have a new focus on projects and concepts originating from EU regions grappling with socio-economic challenges, particularly in the context of the dual digital and green transition.
The prizes will be awarded across four categories: reconnecting with nature; regaining a sense of belonging; prioritizing places and communities in need and shaping a circular industrial ecosystem and supporting life cycle thinking.
The NEB Prizes aim to celebrate and support initiatives that champion sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusiveness, marking their commitment to fostering positive change in our communities and the environment. Know more here.



Research & Innovation

New Zealand surpasses expectations in Horizon Europe participation

According to Science Business, New Zealand has exceeded expectations in Horizon Europe, securing four out of twelve bids. Cost control for future participation is a concern as additional bids are submitted. The country has several options to manage potential cost escalations, including reallocating funding and requesting more government support. New Zealand views Horizon Europe as crucial for international connections in line with its national strategy.
The successful bids span various clusters, moving beyond traditional research strengths. New Zealand aims to focus its investments and explore initiatives like an international talent attraction scheme. While it may not lead in emerging technologies, New Zealand aims to contribute to cutting-edge research, particularly in the safe use of AI. Collaboration opportunities in space and quantum technology through Horizon Europe may face challenges due to protectionist sentiments within the European Commission.
Despite the geographical distance, the country values its participation in Horizon Europe, as it aligns with shared values and principles with the European Union, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and other associated countries. The country anticipates continued involvement in the programme and its successor, particularly in industry-focused consortia. Read more here

European Innovation Council to adopt lump sum funding in Horizon Europe

As stated by Science Business, lump sum funding is gaining momentum in Horizon Europe, with the European Innovation Council (EIC) set to adopt this approach in its 2024 work programme for all three EIC-run programs. The goal is to have up to 30% of grants awarded under Horizon Europe as lump sums by the end of 2024, reducing bureaucracy and errors.
However, this shift has faced criticism, particularly from start-ups, who may need to provide more detailed proposals. EU auditors have identified technical issues and are calling for improvements in requirements, evaluation benchmarks, and control definitions.
The Commission plans a mid-term evaluation of Horizon Europe to assess the suitability of lump sum funding for various project types. The roll-out of lump sums will continue beyond 2024, with political support and an official announcement expected soon in the EIC’s 2024 work programme. Read more here

EU launches Chips partnership to boost semiconductors innovation

As reported by Science Business, the European Chips Act, in force since September, establishes the Chips Joint Undertaking (JU) to double the EU’s semiconductor market share to 20% by 2030. It mobilizes €43 billion in investments, including €3.3 billion from the EU budget, matched by member states.
According to Science Business, one specific ambition of the Chips JU is to bridge the gap between research and industry and make Europe less reliant on China and elsewhere for semiconductors. The Chips JU, expanding from the Key Digital Technologies partnership, has an €11 billion budget, with €4.2 billion from the EU budget. Funding sources include Horizon funding (€1.3 billion), specific Chips Act Horizon funds (€1.425 billion), and the Digital Europe programme (€1.45 billion).
The JU will focus on pilot lines, a design platform, competence centers, and quantum chips, targeting chip manufacturers and user industries. Competence centers will offer support and training, aiming for at least one center per member state. Read more here

CERN opens its Geneva campus to test climate-friendly technologies

According to Science Business, CERN, the high-energy physics laboratory near Geneva, has launched an initiative known as CERN’s Green Village. CERN is alongside INESC, a partner in the EU-funded project ATTRACT. This initiative serves as a testing ground for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. It invites research groups, businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals with well-developed green concepts to put them into practice within CERN’s extensive network of buildings, infrastructure, and personnel. These technologies can be focused on energy conservation, transportation, pollution monitoring, and other sustainability challenges. The primary goal is to expedite the transition of promising green ideas into the market and practical use.
Mar Capeans, the head of CERN’s Site and Civil Engineering Department, emphasized their open invitation, encouraging individuals to explore and test any solutions or technologies that can contribute to a more sustainable planet during a Science|Business climate conference in Brussels on September 19. Read more here. 

MEPs call for increase to Horizon Europe funding

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are advocating for an additional €140 million to be allocated to Horizon Europe, in contrast to the 2024 budget draft put forth by the European Commission, says Science Business.
The Parliament’s budget committee has formulated its stance on the upcoming EU budget, highlighting the issue of the Horizon program being oversubscribed, with numerous ‘excellent’ projects being left without funding. They propose directing the extra funds towards the health, culture, and climate sectors, as well as the European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. It’s worth noting that this increase doesn’t encompass budget adjustments associated with the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform.
Furthermore, the committee has restored appropriations to the original Commission proposal levels for all budget lines that were reduced by the Council in its negotiating position. A draft resolution is set to be voted on October 9th. 

Wolfgang Polt opinion in Science Business: Transforming Europe’s policy culture for ambitious climate and health goals

In an opinion article for Science Business, Wolfgang Polt stresses the need for a shift in Europe’s policymaking culture to achieve the ambitious climate and health objectives of objective-driven research projects. These projects, known as the Missions, have received €1.8 billion in seed funding to drive large-scale initiatives for preserving Europe’s oceans, revitalizing soils, combating climate change, achieving climate neutrality in 100 cities, and improving cancer care for three million individuals by 2030.
While the Missions are underway, the European Commission, responsible for their oversight, has noted their progress but indicated the need for increased support from public authorities and industry.
Polt acknowledges the fairness of the Commission’s assessment but believes it’s too early to gauge their success comprehensively. He suggests that realizing these goals may take another five to ten years, underlining the urgency for concerted action. Read the full article here. 

Research and technology organisations warn against budgetary reshuffle in Horizon Europe

The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO) has expressed deep concern about a budget reallocation within Horizon Europe. This shift is intended to fund STEP, a new platform for strategic technologies.
In a recent publication, EARTO has strongly objected to the idea of withdrawing funds from Pillar II of Horizon Europe and redirecting them to the European Innovation Council (EIC). According to the paper, this move is considered “unacceptable” and counterproductive, as Pillar II has a proven history of making substantial research, development, and innovation contributions aligned with the objectives supported by STEP. Read the full statement here. 

Commission gears up to confront the risks generative artificial intelligence poses to science

As generative artificial intelligence gains prominence in the field of science, the European Commission is taking proactive steps. They are forming a dedicated unit to establish guidelines and initiating a debate on responsible AI use in science within the European Research Area (ERA) policy agenda, as explained in Science Business. Pilot projects are also in the pipeline to set unified European standards for AI integration in science. The aim is to prevent fragmentation of rules among member states.
A scoping paper released in July highlighted the lack of a systematic policy framework for AI in science. Liviu Știrbăț, a cabinet member of the Commission’s digital chief Margrethe Vestager, emphasized the urgency of seizing AI’s transformative potential. The challenge lies in balancing AI’s contributions to scientific progress with potential impacts on research integrity. Know more here. 

Commission to review four critical technologies amid rising competition with China

The European Commission has revealed its intention to conduct an evaluation of potential economic and societal risks stemming from the possible leakage of critical technologies. This move comes in the context of higher geopolitical tensions with China. The assessment, set to be released by year-end, will focus on analyzing the European Union’s dependencies and vulnerabilities in advanced areas such as semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum technology, and biotechnology.
Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, has emphasized that these four technologies present “imminent risks” to the EU’s technological sovereignty. This initiative marks the initial concrete step toward implementing the European economic security strategy, which was unveiled earlier this summer. The strategy aims to assess the challenges confronting the EU economy, especially given the increasing geopolitical tensions both within Europe and in relations between the West and China. Read more here. 

EU launches cancer imaging platform

The European Commission has introduced the European Cancer Imaging initiative, a crucial step in its strategy to establish a unified cancer data infrastructure accessible to researchers, innovators, and healthcare providers.
As part of the EU’s anti-cancer plan, this initiative seeks to integrate digital technologies into cancer research, treatment, and patient care. The goal is to enhance the precision and speed of clinical decision-making, diagnostics, treatments, and predictive medicine, all aimed at benefiting cancer patients.
This imaging platform connects 36 datasets containing images from nine different types of cancer, comprising over 200,000 images from 20,000 patients. For more details, click here. 

How to increase the use of alternative fuels for cars

As part of its NextGenerationEU recovery plan to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union has allocated €20 billion to promote the sales of environmentally friendly vehicles.
According to the European Parliament news, to further encourage the use of sustainable fuels and reduce carbon emissions, the EU is implementing stricter CO2 emission limits for new cars. By 2035, all new cars must be emission-free. Zero-emission vehicles can rely on alternative fuels like electricity, ammonia, and hydrogen. Electric cars draw power from various sources, including renewable energy, nuclear power, and fossil fuel power plants. They produce no pollutants, while hybrid vehicles consume less oil and emit fewer CO2 emissions.
In March 2023, the European Parliament and Council reached an agreement on mandatory national targets for the development of alternative fuel infrastructure for both cars and trucks. Parliament officially adopted these regulations in July 2023.
During negotiations, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) advocated for increased recharging infrastructure on major EU roads. They successfully secured plans for electric charging stations with a minimum output of 400 kW every 60 kilometers by 2026, with a further increase to 600 kW by 2028. These developments signify a concerted effort to promote cleaner and more sustainable transportation within the European Union. Read more here. 

Nobel Prize in Physics goes to former MSCA researchers

As noticed by the European Research Executive Agency, the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2023 has been granted to Anne L’Huillier and Ferenc Krausz, both of whom were beneficiaries of funding and support from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), along with Pierre Agostini. Anne L’Huillier and Ferenc Krausz have joined the list of MSCA fellows, scientists, and mentors who have received a prestigious award.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences attributed them the distinguished honour for their “experimental techniques that produce attosecond light pulses, enabling the study of electron behavior in matter.”
The three Nobel Laureates in Physics for 2023 are being acknowledged for their groundbreaking experiments that have provided humanity with new tools for delving into the inner workings of electrons within atoms and molecules. Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz, and Anne L’Huillier have demonstrated a method for generating extremely brief bursts of light, which can be employed to measure the swift processes by which electrons move or alter their energy states. Read more here. 

Researchers meet children to show the wonders of science

The European Commission has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative, “Researchers at Schools,” aimed at strengthening the connection between researchers, teachers, and students. Over the next two years, this initiative, a part of the European Year of Youth and funded through the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie action MSCA & Citizens, will reach more than 2,400 primary and secondary schools, engaging with over 224,000 pupils across 26 EU Member States and countries associated with Horizon Europe.
Through this program, students will have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the societal challenges we face and expand their access to science, technology, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) education and research activities.
“Researchers at Schools” is set to play a pivotal role in demonstrating how European research contributes to our future and well-being, particularly in addressing critical issues such as combatting climate change, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and promoting healthier environments and lifestyles for European citizens. This initiative will offer unique opportunities for practical engagement with the importance of European research in our lives. 

Alentejo seals historic agreement in Brussels

The four intermunicipal communities of Alentejo, with the support of CCDR Alentejo, aicep Portugal Global, EURADA – European Association of Development Agencies, ERRIN, the Embassy of Portugal in Brussels, and the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the European Union (REPER), have just signed an agreement that grants the Alentejo Regional Development Agency (ADRAL) specific responsibilities in the establishment of a permanent representation of Alentejo in Brussels. ADRAL, through its network of European partners, is the largest regional organization dedicated to identifying, designing, and implementing projects with European funding. With the establishment of a Permanent Representation of Alentejo in Brussels, which falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the intermunicipal communities (CIMS), the region will also play an active role in shaping regional public policies at the European level. Check ADRAL´s announcement here. 

European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius visits China to step up dialogue on environment and discuss European Green Deal priorities

From September 22nd to 26th, Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries, made his inaugural visit to China. In a world where both sides are grappling with severe weather conditions and environmental issues, enhancing collaborative efforts between the European Union and China in the realm of environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly important. The purpose of this visit was to build upon the outcomes of the High-Level Environment and Climate Dialogue that took place on July 4, 2023, between the EU and China. During the visit, discussions covered critical political topics such as biodiversity, ocean governance, environmental matters, and water issues, along with the launch of a high-level dialogue focused on the circular economy. Read more at the Commission´s website. 

Survey – expression of interest for the Cities Mission evaluations

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre is seeking experts to assist the Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy in an upcoming evaluation of a group of Climate Neutrality Action Plans (CNAPs) at the city level.
CNAPs serve to identify, link, and facilitate the strategic execution of a comprehensive set of transformative actions at the city level, aimed at addressing current gaps in policy, regulations, financing, funding, and implementation to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.
The reviews of CNAPs will be conducted in several phases over the next 15 months, working closely with the Joint Research Centre. Each evaluation will encompass a range of factors, including overarching, cross-cutting, and sector-specific elements. The initial group of CNAPs is scheduled for evaluation by December 2023. Know more here.




Conclusions on the Science|Business-INESC workshop on reaching net zero

In a conference sponsored by the ATTRACT project and hosted by Science Business, with moderation by INESC Brussels Hub, several key recommendations were put forward for the development of net-zero innovation ecosystems. These recommendations highlighted the need for diversity among stakeholders, clear objectives, and building upon the success of existing EU ecosystems. Additionally, the conference emphasized the importance of addressing the rising demand for industry-driven infrastructure while continuing to benefit from research infrastructures. Furthermore, the participants stressed the significance of taking into account the preferences of citizens and cities when it comes to climate innovations, rather than solely concentrating on technological solutions and corporate interests. There were several other policy recommendations, so keep reading here

JRC-EARTO workshop on foresight with INESC Brussels Hub participation

The European Commission JRC-EARTO workshop in collaboration with INESC Brussels Hub and international organizations like Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, SINTEF, TNO, and VTT, recently gathered experts to discuss critical aspects on foresight.
The workshop emphasized the need for adaptable, universally applicable value chains to meet evolving construction demands. Discussions covered investment in electro fuels and the importance of comprehensive evaluation to balance innovation with environmental concerns.
The growing demand for renewable raw materials in the chemical industry was another focal point. Sustainability, including the use of bio-based materials and eco-friendly production methods, was highlighted.
The event’s outcomes are expected to influence regional and global policy decisions, shaping sustainable practices in construction and the chemical industry. Watch all the participants presentations here.

INESCTEC researchers earn top honors at WNS3 2023

Researchers at INESCTEC have achieved a remarkable feat by securing the Best Paper Award at “WNS3 2023: Workshop on ns-3 2023.” Their pioneering work in digital twins for wireless technology is turning heads in the field.
Under the leadership of Eduardo Nuno Almeida, and with significant contributions from Helder Fontes, Rui Campos, and Manuel Ricardo, they’ve introduced the P-MLPL model (Position-based Machine Learning Propagation Loss Model). This innovation promises to transform telecommunications networks within the ns-3 simulator.
P-MLPL offers tailored propagation loss models for physical environments, often referred to as “physical twins.” This advancement outperforms generic models, ensuring precision in complex urban settings. Read more here

INESC TEC collaborates with CMU Africa to advance cardiovascular disease screening in Rwanda

INESC TEC, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University Africa (CMU Africa), has initiated a significant endeavor to collect cardiac data in Rwanda. The primary aim of this collaboration is to develop innovative algorithms for the screening of cardiovascular diseases linked to rheumatic fever.
A dedicated team of researchers from INESC TEC is at the forefront of this effort, focusing on harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). They are combining multimodal stethoscopes, which not only facilitate traditional auscultation but also enable electrocardiograms, with advanced deep learning techniques for the comprehensive analysis of heart sounds and electrocardiogram data. This approach represents a groundbreaking leap in healthcare technology, aptly referred to as a multimodal deep learning technique.
The long-term objective of this project is to enhance the early detection and screening of cardiovascular conditions stemming from rheumatic fever, ultimately improving the healthcare outcomes in Rwanda. Read more here. 

Job Opportunities

– INESC TEC has 35 vacancies in different work areas, such as Mobile Robotics, Computer Science, and more. Find more at INESCTEC website and via LinkedIn
– INESC MN is seeking a dedicated individual to join its team as a Research Staff member in the area of Lab on Chip and Microfluid System. More info
– INOV is hiring a Analyst/Programmer and a Facilities Manager. 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

– European Week of Regions and Cities 2023. 9 – 12 October 2023, 09:00 – 18:00 CET, Brussels. More info.

– Writing MSCA Doctoral Networks Proposals, Oct 10, 2023, 10:00 AM – Oct 11, 2023, 10:00 AM. Register here.

– Science for Policy in Europe Conference. 10-11 October 2023. 09:00 – 18:00 CET, Brussels and online. Register here.

– The Widening: Founding Group Meeting. 10 October 2023 (TBC), 10:00 – 13:00 CET, Brussels. Members only. More info

– EARTO Policy Event and Innovation Awards Ceremony, 11 October 2023 at 13.30-16.15 (CET), Brussels. Register here.

– Making waves: Is international R&I bringing a true blue economy within reach? 12 October 2023, 14:00 – 16:45 CET, Brussels. Members only. More info

– Workshop on Software Defined Vehicles – a Holistic Technology Stack. 12 October 2023, online. Register here.

– The Neuro Summit – Digital, MedTech, DeepTech, Data & A.I., 11 October at 16:00 – 13 October at 17:00, Champalimaud Fondation, Lisbon. Register here.

– Mutual Learning Exercise on R&I Foresight, 13 october, 9.00-13.00 (CET), Brussels. Register here.

– Horizon Implementation Day: Grant Agreement Preparation in Horizon Europe. 17 October 2023. 8:30 CET. Register here.

– Horizon Europe Cluster 2 – Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society Info Day. 18 October 2023. 8:30 CET, Brussels. More info.

– ETSI Security Conference, from 16 to 19 October 2023, in ETSI, Sophia Antipolis, France. More info.

– Horizon Europe – Cluster 1: Culture, Creativity & Inclusive Society. Info Day. 18 October. More info

– Information Session – European Research Council (ERC) Applications: Key Aspects to Consider from an Evaluator’s Perspective, 20 october, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM. Register here.

– Conference by the European Commission – DG RTD: Making research results work for society. 26 October 2023, 09:30 – 16:15 (CEST), Brussels and online. 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

– 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 will be soon provided.

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

– 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.

– 10th Symposion 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

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

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