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:

In this week´s Morning Brief we focus on AI expert Holger Hoos arguments, who advocates for an autonomous European AI framework, suggesting a large-scale initiative to reduce reliance on US or Chinese AI models. On the other hand, trilogue negotiations for the European Health Data Space (EHDS) are ongoing, focusing on enabling cross-border health data sharing for research. The objective is to establish a secure infrastructure and common standards across the EU. Finally, you can check the European Commission´s calls for ‘Alliances for Innovation’, aiming to enhance collaboration between education, research, and the private sector. Stay tuned for more insights and in-depth analysis in our Morning Brief!


📢 Last Call Reminder! We are getting ready for the upcoming INESC Winter Meeting, in collaboration with INESC Holding, on January 25th and 26th, 2024, in Porto. Note: Registered participants should confirm their attendance by January 12th via email; otherwise, their registration will be cancelled.

💡INESC TEC has introduced a vertical Electronic Health Record (EHR) AI technology at IPO Porto, enabling doctors to access all pertinent patient information consolidated in a single location, eliminating the need to navigate through numerous pages of clinical records. This solution holds the potential to enhance healthcare quality and reduce service time. Check it here.

📋 EARTO, an organization which the HUB is member, is calling on the European Commission to balance international collaboration and research security. Their position paper emphasizes the need for legislation to respect autonomy in global partnerships. Read the full position paper here.

Key Takeaways

-Renowned AI expert Holger Hoos, speaking to Science Business, advocates for Europe’s pursuit of an autonomous AI framework, suggesting a large-scale initiative similar to a the Open AI ChatGPT. Hoos and other experts emphasize the necessity of mitigating reliance on US or Chinese AI models. Know more here.

-Progress remains underway for the European Health Data Space (EHDS), a pivotal health legislation piece. Trilogue negotiations, focused on enabling cross-border health data sharing for research through EHDS, are currently ongoing. The overarching objective involves establishing a secure infrastructure and common standards facilitating health data sharing across the European Union. Know more here.

– The European Commission has opened calls for ‘Alliances for Innovation’, aimed at strengthening collaboration between education, research, and the private sector. Applications are open until March 7, 2024. Learn more about the application process here.



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: 

Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation 2024 is open for submissions

The European Commission has issued a call for ‘Alliances for Innovation,’ with a deadline set for March 7, 2024.
These alliances are intended to fortify Europe’s innovation capabilities by fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange between higher education, vocational education and training, research entities, and private sector stakeholders.
Read more about the application process here.


EU Award for gender equality champions

The EU Award for Gender Equality Champions, now accepting applications for its second edition in 2023, is an initiative by the European Commission. This annual prize acknowledges achievements of European academic and research organizations in implementing Gender Equality Plans. The submission deadline for the 2023 edition is January 25, 2024, at 17:00 (CET). Explore details on how to apply below. Know more here.

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science


Geographical imbalances remain in AI research funding

Science Business reported that although the EU has embraced a unified research and innovation plan for artificial intelligence (AI), there are noticeable discrepancies in participation and funding across its regions within Horizon Europe AI projects. This imbalance is particularly evident in eastern member states, highlighting significant disparities.
In terms of European funding programs, Germany, Italy, and France emerge as the primary beneficiaries. Additionally, France and Germany lead in national funding initiatives, recently committing approximately €500 million each to further bolster their respective AI industries. Know more here.

AI expert calls for the EU to build publicly funded cutting-edge artificial intelligence

Renowned AI expert Holger Hoos, speaking to Science Business, advocates for Europe’s pursuit of an autonomous AI framework, suggesting a large-scale initiative similar to the Open AI ChatGPT. Hoos and other experts emphasize the necessity of mitigating reliance on US or Chinese AI models, citing the imperative for the EU to allocate billions of euros towards assembling top European computer scientists. This collective effort aims to construct an indigenous, ethical, and transparent AI system, diverging from dependence on technology giants like Microsoft or Google, as voiced by Hoos, a key figure in the Confederation of Laboratories for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe (CLAIRE). Know more here.

Commission launches calls for contributions on competition in virtual worlds and generative AI

The European Commission has initiated calls for contributions on competition in virtual worlds and generative artificial intelligence (AI) this week. Stakeholders are encouraged to share their experiences and insights on competition levels in these domains, along with suggestions on how competition law can uphold market competitiveness. The Commission plans to thoroughly review all input and may organize a workshop in Q2 2024 to further discuss perspectives emerging from the contributions. Interested parties can submit responses to the calls by March 11, 2024. Know more here.



Agrivoltaics pave the way for sustainable energy and agriculture integration in Europe

Startups integrating food production with electricity generation are gaining traction, as showcased by Science Business. Agrivoltaics, the combination of farming and solar panels, offers a promising synergy, explains a report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre suggests that implementing agrivoltaic systems on just 1% of agricultural land in the EU could surpass the bloc’s 2030 solar energy generation target however, the regulatory framework needs to catch up with the technology for Europe to fully harness the benefits. 
Scaling up the implementation of these systems would result in even greater benefits. Agrivoltaic systems provide a means of sustaining crop production without significant alterations to the landscape. In the case of specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants grown under protective structures like polytunnels or greenhouses, these structures can be replaced with structures that not only offer protection but also incorporate semi-transparent solar panels for electricity generation. Know more here.

Research and Innovation


EU should foster open science while addressing security concerns, EARTO say

The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), which the HUB is a member, urges the European Commission to find a harmonious equilibrium between fostering international collaboration and safeguarding knowledge.
In a newly released position paper, EARTO emphasizes the necessity for forthcoming research security legislation to respect the autonomy of research and technology entities in engaging with global partnerships.
Furthermore, EARTO acknowledges that many scientific organizations lack adequate awareness regarding the pitfalls of imbalanced collaborations. They advocate for clear guidelines concerning the management of classified information within international research initiatives to address this gap. Read the full position paper here.

EARTO calls for changes to lump sum funding evaluations

EARTO has issued recommendations on lump-sum funding in Horizon Europe, drawing from its members’ experiences as the prevalence of lump-sum grants increases. EARTO critiques the new Horizon dashboard, emphasizing that it provides an inaccurate representation of personnel costs funded by Horizon Europe grants. The organization suggests using the dashboard as a guide rather than a definitive decision-making tool, especially as members note instances of budget reduction requests during the evaluation phase. Read more in EARTO’s position paper.

Rethinking EU research strategy: beyond productivity to innovation and global competitiveness

In an opinion piece published in Science Business, prominent academics challenge the idea that the primary objective of European investment in research and innovation should solely revolve around productivity growth. They critique Robert D. Atkinson’s proposal to steer the next EU research program, Framework Programme 10 (FP10), toward immediate economic gains. Instead, they advocate for a shift away from what they term as “misguided missions and bottom-up funding,” emphasizing the need for a revamped approach focusing on fostering technological innovation and global competitiveness.
Authors Jakob Edler, Mireille Matt, Wolfgang Polt, and Matthias Weber propose a nuanced strategy for FP10, advocating for adequate resources that enhance industrial competitiveness while addressing global challenges and societal needs. They stress the importance of not sidelining basic research’s resilience and creativity in this pursuit.
The authors emphasize the importance of striking a balance between addressing global challenges and bolstering economic growth. They highlight that missions, while tackling global issues, can stimulate markets and guide research and development toward future demands. They suggest that these missions should be complemented by measures that cater to demand, promoting a holistic approach to EU research and innovation strategy. Read the full article here.

European parliament seeks harmonised approach to health data sharing

According to Science Business, progress remains underway for the European Health Data Space (EHDS), a pivotal health legislation piece. Trilogue negotiations, focused on enabling cross-border health data sharing for research through EHDS, are currently ongoing.
Following the Parliament’s adoption of its stance on December 13, the initial trilogue discussions have commenced, with further talks slated for late January. Resolving disagreements, particularly concerning patient consent and the implementation timeline, stands as a priority during these negotiations.
The overarching objective involves establishing a secure infrastructure and common standards facilitating health data sharing across the European Union. This framework aims to support primary data usage among healthcare providers within and beyond borders, as well as secondary data utilization by researchers and policymakers. Know more here.

Call for paradigm shift in higher education to tackle ‘poly-crisis’

As per a recent publication from the European Commission’s high-level group on the economic and societal impact of research and innovation (ESIR), Europe requires a fresh approach to higher education. The paper underscores the necessity for an integrated model that incorporates research, innovation, entrepreneurship, and education. This holistic transformation aims to bring about tangible changes in the real economy and broader society. The report emphasizes the urgency of overhauling education to empower individuals with the skills and knowledge essential for universities and research institutions to effectively address the multifaceted challenges posed by the “poly-crisis” encompassing pandemics, climate change, and conflict. Read the full report here.

Nanomachines: a revolutionary approach to combat antibiotic resistance and cancer

An Horizon Magazine article highlights the development of miniature instruments aimed at combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria and addressing cancer. These nanomachines, smaller than a human hair, offer a potential solution to the challenge of bacteria altering their structure to evade antibiotics. Unlike conventional antibiotics that can be rendered ineffective when bacteria undergo such changes, the nanomachines, proposed by Ana Santos under project REBELLION, are designed to be more resilient and effective in combating these microbial threats. Know more here.

French National Center for Scientific Research unsubscribes from Scopus and advances open science

The CNRS is unsubscribing from the Scopus publication database, aligning with its commitment to open science. This move, effective December 31, 2023, marks a significant step in disengaging from commercial bibliographic databases. The CNRS plans to transition to open and sustainable solutions once they are sufficiently developed, while maintaining its subscription to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science. Unsubscribing from Scopus is an initial step in gradually shifting towards open and open science-aligned bibliographic tools. Know more here.

New EU instrument aims to foster collaboration on digital infrastructure

The European Digital Infrastructure Consortia (EDIC) initiative aims to foster collaboration among EU member states by creating a legal framework to support joint research projects, as explained by Science Business. Building on the model of European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERIC), EDICs enable the pooling of resources for multi-country projects that surpass the capacity of individual member states. This effort aligns with the EU’s Digital Decade 2030 targets, focusing on developing a digitally skilled population, establishing secure digital infrastructures, promoting digital transformation in companies, and digitizing public services. Know more here.

Energy Data Space policy paper with INESC TEC contribution

The Energy Data Space policy paper by ETIP SNET, the European Technology and Innovation Platform for Smart Networks in Energy Transition, aims to offer a concise technical overview of the subject. It provides references for in-depth analysis and emphasizes opportunities, challenges, and essential actions for the rapid establishment of a unified European energy data space. The document remains technology-agnostic, prioritizing practical steps for concrete implementations. Ricardo Bessa, coordinator of the INESC TEC´s center for energy systems, contributed to this paper. Read it here.

JRC report on assessing Open Strategic Autonomy

This report from the EC´s Joint Research Center aims to enhance the EU’s open strategic autonomy (OSA) by offering data for monitoring and action in innovation and production. Operationalizing the concept, the report provides empirical insights, revealing vulnerabilities in the EU’s digital sector, particularly in artificial intelligence and big data. While other innovation areas show some vulnerabilities, they may not immediately affect Europe’s OSA. Economic dependencies and evolving geopolitics further amplify potential vulnerabilities from international collaboration on innovation. Know more here.

Europe’s first exascale supercomputer to mark a milestone in computing sovereignty

The upcoming inauguration of Europe’s first exascale supercomputer, the Jupiter system, marks a significant stride toward European computing sovereignty, as explained by Science Business. Distinguished from previous EU-supported supercomputers, Jupiter will be powered by European microprocessors developed by SiPearl. SiPearl’s Rhea chip secured the contract over competition from Intel, realizing the vision of a European machine with an exaflop capacity driven by a European microprocessor. Recognizing the importance of supercomputers in technological sovereignty for AI, medical research, and climate change, having a “designed in Europe” label goes beyond mere marketing. Know more here.

Launch of the Singapore-Portugal Innovation Alliance (SPIA)

The Singapore-Portugal Innovation Alliance (SPIA) was officially launched by Ministers Balakrishnan and Cravinho. SPIA aims to promote collaboration among startups and tech companies, enhance business networks, and facilitate market entries into Portugal, Singapore, and their respective regions. Additionally, Minister Balakrishnan discussed Lisbon’s potential as a startup hub with Mayor Carlos Moedas on January 4, 2024. Both agreed to intensify exchanges in innovation, housing, and public services. Know more here.

New rules to boost cybersecurity of the EU institutions enter into force

The new Cybersecurity Regulation, effective since January 7, 2024, mandates measures to ensure a high level of cybersecurity across Union entities. It requires the establishment of an internal cybersecurity risk management framework and introduces the Interinstitutional Cybersecurity Board (IICB) to oversee its implementation. The regulation extends the mandate of the Computer Emergency Response Team for EU entities, enhancing its role as a threat intelligence hub, information exchange center, incident response coordinator, advisory body, and service provider. Know more here.

Clean Steel Partnership public consultation

Public Consultation: Clean Steel Partnership seeks input on the update of its Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA). Organized by the European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP), the consultation aims to gather feedback from research, development, and innovation stakeholders. The Clean Steel Partnership aims to expedite the adoption of low-CO2 technologies in the steel industry for climate neutrality and competitiveness. Stakeholders are invited to share their input on the draft SRIA by February 2, 2024. Access the consultation here.

CHIPS Joint Undertaking: multi-annual work programme 2023-2027 published

The newly established CHIPS Joint Undertaking (JU) has released its multi-annual work programme for 2023-2027, encompassing initiatives within both Horizon Europe (emphasizing research, development, and innovation) and the Digital Europe Programme (emphasizing capacity building). Recognizing the geopolitical imperative of achieving strategic autonomy for the EU’s chips industry, the program will prioritize top-down activities, coordinate with related Joint Undertakings like EuroHPC, and align with relevant EU or member state-level policies. The calls for 2024 under the CHIPS JU are outlined in the appendices accompanying the multi-annual work programme. Check it here.

EU ambassadors agree partial mandate on the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform

EU ambassadors have reached an agreement on the European Council’s partial negotiating mandate for the proposed Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP). The platform aims to enhance manufacturing capacity in critical digital, net-zero, and biotechnologies by reallocating funds from existing programs and providing additional financing. The primary goal is to strengthen Europe’s technological sovereignty and resilience in areas like artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and pharmaceuticals. The term “partial” in the negotiating mandate indicates that additional funding for STEP is contingent on the mid-term revision of the EU’s multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027, currently delayed due to political obstacles. Know more here.



INESC Lisboa to host talk with blockchain expert

Blockchain’s Zero-Knowledge (ZK) concept is gaining prominence, but understanding it remains a challenge. With a growing demand for ZK engineers offering attractive compensation, INESC Lisboa is organizing a talk this month featuring Professor Jeroen van de Graaf from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil. This session, tailored for technical professionals, aims to demystify ZK terminology and explore its core essence. Know more here.

INESC ID leads SHIFT2DC kick-off meeting in Lisbon

The SHIFT to Direct Current (SHIFT2DC) project, part of the Horizon Europe Programme and led by INESC-ID, successfully launched with its Kick-off Meeting at Instituto Superior Técnico on December 12 and 13. Engaging members from 33 partner institutions across 13 European countries, the project, backed by a significant funding of over 11 million euros and supported by the European Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), aims to revolutionize energy infrastructures with more intelligent, efficient, and eco-friendly solutions based on direct current (DC).
With over 40 participants in attendance, the event began with an opening by the project coordinator, Hugo Morais, a researcher at INESC ID. Over the project’s 42-month duration, INESC ID will lead Work Package 2 (WP2) focused on developing tools and methods for integrating DC solutions, along with specific libraries for diverse applications. Furthermore, INESC ID will spearhead WP6, concentrating on knowledge transfer and dissemination, documenting all communication and outreach activities. Lastly, under WP7, INESC ID will manage and coordinate the project, ensuring robust financial, administrative, data, and risk management to uphold the quality of project outcomes. Know more here.

Revolutionizing environmental DNA collection: INESC TEC’s autonomous biosampler

Portuguese researchers from INESC TEC have developed a method for collecting Environmental DNA (eDNA) samples in extreme environments autonomously.
Their biosampler, developed in collaboration with CIIMAR, is a revolutionary method that allows the collection of more samples and to prevent risk of sample contamination in extreme environments such as the Arctic’s frigid depths. This will allow safe and extensive collection of planktonic communities critical to marine ecosystems, in an operation carried in waters with low temperatures from melting glaciers located in the fjords of the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard. This innovative technology can operate up to 150 m, but the next step is to go 1.000 meters depth. Learn more about this cutting-edge technology here.

Pioneering initiative in Portugal: INESC TEC implements AI system in a hospital

INESC TEC has introduced a vertical Electronic Health Record (EHR) AI technology at IPO Porto, enabling doctors to access all pertinent patient information consolidated in a single location, eliminating the need to navigate through numerous pages of clinical records.
This solution holds the potential to enhance healthcare quality and reduce service time, streamlining the efforts of healthcare professionals. INESC TEC is in the process of implementing the system in another hospital unit, incorporating new features tailored to each hospital’s specific needs.
Vertical EHR systems have the capacity to revolutionize healthcare delivery and have far-reaching impacts on various economic sectors. Check it here.

INESC TEC researcher wins Women 3.0 Science and Technology award

Ana Pires, a Researcher at INESC TEC’s Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems, expressed gratitude to the exceptional jury of G100: Mission Million for the visibility provided to her work. In Lisbon (TAGUSPARK), she achieved success by winning the Science and Technology category at the Women 3.0 Awards in 2023. Know more here.

Job Opportunities

– INESC TEC has 47 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 

– Innovative Health Initiative Call Days for calls 6 and 7, 10 to 16 January 2024, Brussels. Register here.
– Useful information for proposals to Cluster 2, Jan 8, 2024 03:30 PM, Paris. Register here.
– European Innovation Council online Info Day – Work Programme 2024″ on 15 January 2024, 09:00 – 17:15 (CET), online. Register here.
– Policy Workshop – Interm Evaluation of Horizon Europe | Digital & Industrial Transition. 17 January 10.00 -17.00 CET – Online. Registration
– Workshop: Funding opportunity for cooperation between the European Union and the African Union. 18 January, 2024 10:00-11:00, online. Register here.
– Horizon Europe: Decoding the 2024 European Innovation Council programme. A Science Business Network event, 18 January, from 15:00 to 16:00 CET, Brussels. Register here.
– Webinar on issues of Co-funded European Partnerships – definition and implementation of additional activities beyond joint calls. 24 january, 9:30 – 13:00 CET, online webinar. Register here.
– INESC Winter Meeting, January 25th and 26th, full day event, in Porto. Check the agenda here.

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

– 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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