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In today's Morning Brief:

EU reaches a deal on the European Climate Law

After 14 hours of negotiations, negotiators from the European Parliament and EU member states reached an agreement on the European Climate Law. After heated discussions, parties reached an agreement to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by “at least 55%” by 2030, compared to 1990 levels – which is lower than the 66% that the EP had voted earlier – and agreed to cap the contribution of carbon removals from land use, agriculture and forestry. Additional highlights of the deal are the European Commission agreeing to consider increasing the contribution of carbon sinks in order to bump up the EU’s net target to 57%, and the EU negotiators accepting the EP’s advice to establish an independent scientific advisory body, the European Scientific Advisory Board, to advise policymakers on the alignment of EU policies with the bloc’s climate neutrality goal. The agreement arrives right before the beginning of this week’s US-hosted climate summit. For a full account of the targets agreed and the reactions, check this Euractiv article.


Data protection in health care and health research

Health experts are calling for a revision of GDPR to allow the sharing of health data with researchers outside the EU/EEA to enhance international research collaboration in the public sector, thereby maximising health benefits for European citizens. According to a recent report published by the European Academies Science Advisory Council, the current EU’s legal data protection framework is hampering the sharing of pseudonymised health data outside the EU, which affects the work of health researchers in Europe and limits the relevance for European citizens of research conducted elsewhere. It is estimated that in 2019 more than 5000 collaborative projects were affected between EEA countries and the US National Institutes of Health alone. The EU aims to respond to this need with the creation of a “house” for health data, as outlined in the Commission’s Pharmaceutical Strategy last year. This is planned to be a trustworthy, patient-centred European health data space, designed to serve as a cornerstone of health digitalisation and ensure easier and safe access to health data.


ERC receives record number of Starting Grants applications in first round of Horizon Europe

The ERC Starting Grants 2021 call closed for applications on 12 April 2021. These are the preliminary data on submitted proposals.

  • This year the ERC received 4,056 applications. This is a 24% increase compared to the previous Starting Grants call.
  • The highest number of applications was submitted in the domain of Physical Sciences and Engineering (1,754 – 43.2%), followed by Social Science and Humanities (1,185 – 29.2%), and Life Sciences (1,117 – 27.5%).
  • Nearly 40% of proposals were submitted by women, compared to 38% in the Starting Grants call 2020.

In the ERC Work Programme the ERC Scientific Council has earmarked €619 million for an estimated 413 Starting Grants in 2021. The ERC is now starting evaluation of the proposals. The projects selected for funding are planned to be announced at the end of 2021.


CEOs call for €100B technology sovereignty fund

According to Science Business, leaders of EU unicorns, start-ups worth over €1 billion, have compiled an eight-step to-do list for the European Commission on how to get Europe to the forefront of innovation. The list, ‘Next Innovation EU’, handed to research commissioner Mariya Gabriel yesterday, includes a proposal for a €100 billion technology sovereignty fund, scaling up of public procurement and a pact for all EU start-ups to become carbon neutral by 2030. The article does mention the obvious: there is no money to spare, but the Commissioner did say that her services will analyse every proposal and use the ideas to change the way Europe innovates. Check the full list of proposals here.


Digital Maturity Tool and the Innovation Radar

During the webinar hosted by the EC on May 18th (from 10 to 12 CEST), a methodology for assessing the digital maturity of customers of the EDIHs will be presented and feedback from participants will be heard. With the roll-out of Digital Europe programme, a new generation of Digital Innovation Hubs (to be called European) will be funded to speed-up the digital transformation of SMEs, mid-caps and public sector organisations across the EU. Programme and registration here.


German Research Foundation adopts charter of principles for young research careers

Germany’s largest research funding organisation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), has adopted a charter of ten principles for more effective career support for young researchers. The DFG hopes the principles would help create better framework conditions for attractive careers in research.


EARMA Policy session: The research impact agenda and its influence on institutional strategies in the European and wider international context

In 2019 and 2020, the EARMA Policy and Representation Committee invited EARMA members to respond to a survey on their institutional approaches to impact strategies. The aim of the survey was to identify and share best practice in how institutions are responding strategically to the research impact agenda, and the ways in which this relates to national and European policy contexts. In this session, two committee members will present a short summary of the survey, highlighting the key findings and insights that emerged. We will then hear examples of the practitioner view on the impact agenda – from both the institutional and funder perspectives. This is session is only for registered members of EARMA. Would you consider important an institutional membership of EARMA?

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