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Mariana Santos, INESC Brussels HUB Communications Officer

In today's Morning Brief:

Key Takeaways

– The recently released European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) and Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) show that EU Member States and their regions have made progress in their innovation performance despite recent crises. The EIS categorizes countries into four performance groups, with Portugal being classified as a Moderate innovator. The RIS assesses the performance of innovation systems across various regions, with Norte, Centro, Lisboa e Alentejo in Portugal considered Moderate innovators, while Algarve, RAAçores, and RAMadeira are seen as Emerging Innovators

– Spain’s six-month presidency of the EU emphasizes the expansion of research and innovation, strategic autonomy, digitization, and green policies. They aim to develop a fair and human research and innovation system that addresses economic, environmental, and social challenges. Spain aims to promote science and innovation to benefit European citizens and democracies, fostering closer cooperation with Latin America and the southern Mediterranean region.

– Global investment in clean technology and manufacturing is on the rise, propelled by initiatives such as the US Inflation Reduction Act and the EU Green Deal Industrial Plan. These initiatives have the potential to attract substantial investments, with the US expecting around $1.7 trillion and the EU allocating €578 billion in public funding. The surge in demand for cleantech solutions presents opportunities for EU member states, including Portugal, which possesses low-cost hydrogen and lithium deposits.

– The European Commission has recently announced the funding of 18 projects with a total budget of over €106 million as part of the EU Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters.” These projects involve more than 370 beneficiaries from 36 countries, including SMEs, research institutions, local authorities, schools, and businesses. The projects have a significant role to play in achieving climate neutrality and restoring nature.


Horizon Europe

EU Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters”: €106 million for 18 new projects for protection, conservation, depollution and innovation

The Commission announced last week 18 new projects which will receive over €106 million to contribute to the EU Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters“.

The projects gather over 370 beneficiaries from 36 countries, including SMEs, research institutions, local authorities, schools and businesses. They will play a key role in achieving climate neutrality and restoring nature by protecting and restoring biodiversity in waters, cutting pollution, supporting a sustainable blue economy and developing the European Digital Twin of the Ocean.

All EU Member States are involved in the projects, with actions from the Baltic and North Sea, through the Danube River, the Mediterranean Sea, and across to the Atlantic. Find out more here.


UK talks on Horizon Europe still ongoing, Brussels sources say

According to Science|Business, talks between the UK and the European Union (EU) regarding the UK’s association with Horizon Europe are ongoing, according to multiple sources in Brussels. Politico initially reported a draft deal on the UK association, but sources within the European Commission denied knowledge of such a deal and stated that news reports only rely on information from the UK side. However, there is optimism from both sides that a deal could be close after months of speculation.

At a recent EU-UK Partnership Council meeting, there was a call to complete the association for the sake of scientists. The EU has shown flexibility by not demanding UK payments for the first two years it missed out on. Various groups with an interest in UK association with Horizon Europe have welcomed the progress on talks, but they await the details of any agreement reached. The UK government has extended its support for Horizon Europe applicants until September and has been laying the groundwork for its alternative research program called Pioneer. Read more here.


Let Knowledge Serve the City: The Urban Transitions Mission Centre launches its Knowledge Repository

The Urban Transitions Mission Centre (UTMC) is a global collaborative platform that aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, capacities and funding opportunities to accelerate the urban transitions to climate neutrality and net-zero emissions. This week, UTMC launched a Knowledge Repository that gathers tools, solutions and ideas for urban transitions.

The curated evidence and good practice under the repository is available to cities worldwide, including the growing city cohort of the Urban Transitions Mission. The Knowledge Repository can be accessed by joining the UTMC global platform. Know more about it here.


New study highlights Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions’ contribution to the objectives of Horizon 2020

The European Commission has published a study that provides new insights into the impact of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) under Horizon 2020, the former EU’s research and innovation framework programme, two years after its end.

The study covers funding instruments implemented under the first of the programme’s three pillars, ‘Excellent science’.

It assesses how the MSCA contributes to:

  • reinforcing and extending the excellence of the Union’s science base
  • consolidating the European Research Area(ERA) to make the Union’s research and innovation system more competitive on a global scale

Read more about the study here.


Research & Innovation

The European Commission releases the 2023 edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard and the Regional Innovation Scoreboard

Yesterday, the Commission released the 2023 edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) and the bi-annual edition of the Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS). The EIS compares innovation performance among EU Member States, European countries, and regional neighbours. The RIS examines innovation performance within European regions. Despite the recent crises, EU Member States and their regions keep improving their innovation performance. Learn the key findings here.

European innovation scoreboard 2023: Based on their scores, EU countries fall into four performance groups: Innovation leaders (performance is above 125% of the EU average), Strong innovators (between 100% and 125% of the EU average), Moderate innovators (between 70% and 100% of the EU average) and Emerging innovators (below 70% of the EU average). In this scoreboard, Portugal falls into Moderate innovators. See more here.

Regional Innovation Scoreboard: The RIS 2023 provides a comparative assessment of the performance of innovation systems across 239 regions of 22 EU countries. In Portugal, Norte, Centro, Lisboa and Alentejo are considered Moderate innovators. Algarve, RAAçores and RAMadeira are considered Emerging Innovators. See the Portuguese profile here and more results here.


Spanish EU presidency to spearhead strategic direction for research and innovation policy

Spain has begun its six-month presidency of the EU, focusing on expanding research and innovation into strategic autonomy, digitization, and green policies. The presidency aims to enhance cooperation in these areas with North Africa and Latin America, according to Science|Business. Research minister Diana Morant stated that the goal is to develop a fair and human research and innovation system that addresses economic, environmental, and social challenges. The Spanish presidency seeks to promote science and innovation that benefit European citizens and democracies, aligning with the motto “Europe, closer.” They also aim to strengthen scientific cooperation with Latin America and the southern Mediterranean region while adopting a unified stance on the role of science in public policy. For more information, refer to Science|Business. Read more in Science Business.


Commissioner-designate Ivanova to audition in Parliament after the summer break

Science|Business reports that the installation of the new research commissioner, Iliana Ivanova, has been delayed until autumn due to the scheduling of her hearing before the industry and culture committees of the European Parliament. To assume the position, Ivanova must receive formal approval from the European Parliament and participate in a joint hearing organized by the Parliament’s committees for industry, research, and energy (ITRE) as well as culture and education (CULT). Read more here.


EIC Accelerator open to initial pitches again after a month’s hiatus

Tech companies can once again submit initial funding applications to the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Accelerator instrument following a controversial four-week pause, as reported by Research Professional News.

The EIC, with a budget of over €10 billion for 2021-27, supports the advancement and commercialization of breakthrough technologies, including through the Accelerator instrument, which provides grants and investments to small companies.

The temporary suspension of the EIC’s bespoke submissions platform for start-ups was attributed to a contractual dispute by the Commission without further details. As an emergency measure, submissions for the €7 billion EIC Accelerator program were redirected to the general Horizon Europe Funding and Tenders opportunities portal. The delay in resuming the application process has been commended for its brevity by the funding body. Know more here.


Science Europe’s 2022 Annual Report is out

The 2022 Annual Report of Science Europe has just been published. The digital report highlights the most important achievements to Science Europe’s priority topics, including research culture, research assessment, open science, EU framework programmes, the green and digital transition, and science communication.

The report traces the most significant milestones of Science Europe from last year. The association joined forces with partners in the wider research community and engaged in meaningful dialogue with key EU and international stakeholders to ensure high-quality science for the benefit of society. Read the full report here.


Think Tank E3G Report: “Making clean technology value chains work for EU economic convergence. A case study on Portugal”

Global investment in clean technology and manufacturing is accelerating due to initiatives like the US Inflation Reduction Act and the EU Green Deal Industrial Plan. The IRA could attract $1.7 trillion in US green tech investment, while the EU plan has €578 billion in public funding. Demand for cleantech solutions is surging, but it’s unclear how gains will be distributed among EU member states. Reliant on cohesion funding, Portugal has the potential for green investment due to low-cost hydrogen and lithium deposits. Choices made will be critical: prioritize high-value activities like green steel production and battery gigafactories to create jobs and economic output or focus on low-value parts of the value chain. Here’s a Think Tank E3G report examining Portugal’s potential.


Commission updates the eInvoicing Country Factsheets

This update represents a significant advancement in empowering businesses and governments to navigate the eInvoicing landscape effectively. Check the newly updated factsheets for detailed knowledge and guidance on policy frameworks, technical standards, digital reporting requirements, and more here.


France plans UK-inspired tax relief for early-stage investors in technology start-ups

France aims to replicate the UK’s successful Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) to attract more private funding for its tech sector, according to Science|Business.

The report by Paul Midy MP, commissioned by the government, suggests implementing these schemes as part of efforts to stimulate high-tech sectors, generate employment, and reduce the unemployment rate to below 5% by 2027. The UK currently has nearly 37,000 business angels, compared to 5,500 in France. Read more here.


Josep M. Garrell takes office as EUA President

According to Science|Business, Josep M. Garrell, former Rector of Ramon Llull University in Spain, has become the President of the European University Association (EUA).

Josep M. Garrell was elected by the EUA General Assembly in April, succeeding Professor Michael Murphy of University College Cork, who has held the position since 2019. Read the goals for Professor Garrell´s term here.


EIT Health partners with PSCC to drive innovation

Science|Business reports that EIT Health has formed a new partnership with the Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster (PSCC). Start-ups within the PSCC will now have access to EIT Health’s extensive network of over 130 European partners, providing expertise in fundraising and cancer innovation. They will also benefit from Sanofi’s membership, gaining access to the Venture Centre of Excellence (VCoE) programme.

The PSCC, the first of its kind in France, has been awarded the Bio-cluster label under the France 2030 NextGenerationEU programme. It aims to drive innovation in oncology by serving as a central hub for innovative projects, offering services such as expertise, advanced technology platforms, access to patient samples, financing, and workspace. Know more here.


European Commission cooks up GDPR steroids shot 

According to Politico, the European Commission has proposed new rules to accelerate the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These rules aim to enhance the sharing of information upfront among European privacy regulators in major privacy cases and encourage more out-of-court settlements. The objective is to expedite cross-border cases involving companies like Meta, Google, and Amazon.

The draft rules include early information sharing to minimize last-minute negotiations between authorities and encourage them to avoid litigation. Additionally, regulators are urged to maintain confidentiality during investigations to safeguard the process. Read more in Politico.


Barcelona Supercomputing Center and Prado Museum teach AI to view and interpret works of art

According to Science|Business, researchers at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) are training artificial intelligence (AI) models to analyse and recognise the content of paintings at the Prado Museum.

The project, known as FrAI Angelico, aims to generate detailed descriptions of the artworks to enhance understanding of cultural and historical heritage. The BSC’s Computational Applications for Science and Engineering (CASE) department has developed an object-detection AI model capable of identifying details and objects in paintings that may go unnoticed by the human eye. The collaboration between BSC and the Prado Museum seeks to utilise AI to facilitate recognising and describing objects, figures, and themes in artworks, benefiting cultural heritage professionals and making artworks more accessible to the visually impaired. The project’s goal is to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the entire Prado Museum collection, which comprises over 35,000 works of art. The FrAI Angelico project builds upon previous AI initiatives implemented by the Prado Museum and aims to create new cultural and dissemination initiatives that harness the potential of AI to recognise the past, culture, and symbols. Know more here.


European Green Deal: more sustainable use of plant and soil natural resources

This week, the Commission adopted a package of measures for the sustainable use of key natural resources, strengthening the resilience of EU food systems and farming.

A soil monitoring law will put the EU on a pathway to healthy soils by 2050 by gathering data on the health of soils and making it available to farmers and other soil managers. The law also makes sustainable soil management the norm and addresses situations of unacceptable health and environmental risks due to soil contamination. Today’s proposals will also boost innovation and sustainability by enabling the safe use of technical progress in new genomic techniques, enabling developing climate-resilient crops and reducing the use of chemical pesticides, and by ensuring more sustainable, high-quality and diverse seeds and reproductive material for plants and forests. Know more here.


News from INESC institutes

Applications are open for the “Vencer o Adamastor” Prize

The prize, worth 20,000€, recognises ground-breaking projects by young scientists (under 40 years old) carried out in Portugal, in the fields of electrical engineering, computer science, and related disciplines, which demonstrate not only scientific excellence but also the potential for developments that benefit society. The prize is promoted by INESC in partnership with the Portuguese newspaper Público. Deadline for applications: 16 October 2023. More info.


The latest issue of INESC TEC Science & Society is out

The sixth issue of the magazine is entirely dedicated to blue economy, a domain that’s increasingly relevant at a time that climate change is part of the agenda. The authors are INESC TEC researchers and external personalities to ensure a comprehensive view of the topic. The magazine is distributed online, in PDF format. You can find it here.


INOV takes part in the PASITHEA project

The PASITHEA project focus on developing a Hybrid Autonomous Vehicle system for military operations in the marine environment, supported by the European Defence Fund.

This collaboration brings together experts in autonomous systems, marine engineering, and defence to create a state-of-the-art solution that enhances operational efficiency and effectiveness. Learn more about INOV’s R&D projects here.


Hate Speech in Social Media – a new research study by INESC ID Researchers

Authored by INESC-ID Information and Decision Support Systems (IDSS) researchers Paula Carvalho and Danielle Caled, and Human Language Technologies (HLT) researchers Fernando Batista and Ricardo Ribeiro (together with Cláudia Silva from ITI-LARSyS), “The expression of hate speech against Afro-descendant, Roma, and LGBTQ+ communities in YouTube comments” — published last month in the Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict — explores the prevalence of overt and covert hate speech, counter-speech and offensive speech in CO-HATE (Counter, Offensive and Hate speech), a corpus of Portuguese 20,590 YouTube comments posted by more than 8,000 different online users. Read more here.


Job Opportunities

– INESC TEC has 38 vacancies in different work areas, such as Electrical Engineering, Power Systems-Smart Grids, Robotics, and more. Find more at INESCTEC website and via LinkedIn

– INESC ID has 1 open position. It is a Research Grant for MOORE4MEDICAL – Accelerating Innovation in Microfabricated Medical Devices ECSEL/0005/2019 – BI|2023/42.  More info

– INESC MN is hiring a Junior Characterization Engineer, a Clean Room Process Engineer, and a Junior Researcher – Electrical Engineering. More info

– INOV is hiring a Systems and Network Engineer and a Software Engineer (Full stack) More info


Events & Training workshops


–  EU AI Act Webinar. 13 July 2023. 16:00 – 20:00 CET. Join a webinar hosted by EIT Hub Israel and the Start-up Nation Policy Institute to gain insights and practical tools on how to manage AI technologies with the EU AI Act. Apply here.


– 2nd Science|Business Sector Day: Green Deal & Climate – The road to net-zero industry. 18-19 September 2023, 14:00 – 12:30 CET, Brussels. Members only. More info

-Horizon Europe – Cluster 6: “Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment”. 27-28 info days. More info.

– 2023 European Researchers Night, 29 September. Find more here.


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

– 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


– 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

– 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. The event will take place in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The theme of this year’s conference will be ‘Scaling-up Behaviour Change in the light of the energy and climate crisis’. More info.


– 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

– 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

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