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Mariana Santos, Communications Officer

Pedro Villas Boas, Policy and Communications Officer

In today's Morning Brief:

Dear readers, we´re reaching again to you with more news on the EU research and innovation landscape. This week, a big and important step for portuguese researchers and research institutions was reached with the recent addition of the Portuguese National Chapter to the research assessment organization CoARA. 
CoARA involves the creation of national chapters to support the implementation of the agreement’s commitments at national and regional levels, and to promote coordination and cooperation between institutions in their respective countries. The portuguese proposal was accepted by the CoARA Steering Committee, coordinated by FCT.
Moving ahead, we dig into the European AI Office, a body under the European Commission who has become operational to strengthen AI expertise in the EU. This implementation will certainly have positive implications for the development and responsible use of trustworthy artificial intelligence.
Finally, EU research ministers and Commissioner Iliana Ivanova have gathered and stressed the need to protect research funding, especially with a €2.1 billion cut in Horizon Europe. Despite national government pressure to redirect EU funds, they pledged to maintain the budget for the upcoming research framework program.

Keep updated with the Morning Brief!



🔬The CoARA National Chapters Exchange Forum, organized by FCT, INESC TEC, CoARA, and Science Europe, is taking place this Thursday and Friday at the Alfândega do Porto. This event brings together all CoARA National Chapters to foster collaboration, share insights, and explore opportunities. A big and important novelty is the recent addition of the Portuguese National Chapter, with its proposal accepted by the CoARA Steering Committee, coordinated by FCT. Further updates will be available on the CoARA website. Know more here.

🌐 The European Commission has launched futures4europe, a foresight platform designed to facilitate collaboration between research and innovation experts and policy makers across the EU. In line with its objective to support the planning of the next Framework Programme, the platform has produced 8 foresight policy briefs, which have been officially published by the Commission and you can check here.

Key Takeaways

– The European AI Office, operating under the European Commission, has become operational to strengthen AI expertise in the EU. Its main objective is to facilitate the development and responsible use of trustworthy artificial intelligence, while addressing the associated risks. The main tasks of the AI Office include supporting and implementing the AI Act, advocating for the development and use of trustworthy AI, fostering global partnerships and engaging with relevant institutions, experts and stakeholders. Know more here.

– Industry group DIGITALEUROPE has published proposals to update Europe’s digital single market. Director General Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl welcomes initiatives for common data spaces, improved cybersecurity and responsible AI development. However, she stresses the importance of unified digital legislation to address the fragmented rules that currently hamper investment and innovation. Check the full report here.

– During an informal gathering in Belgium, EU research ministers and Commissioner Iliana Ivanova emphasized the importance of safeguarding research funding, particularly in light of a €2.1 billion reduction in Horizon Europe. Despite pressure from national governments to allocate EU funds elsewhere, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to preserving the budget for the next research framework program. They underscored the pivotal role of research in driving progress and shaping the future of the European Union, advocating against any attempts to compromise its funding due to external pressures or mismanagement. Know more here.



Horizon Europe ‘Health’ single-stage calls for proposals 2024

The 2024 single-stage calls for proposals under Horizon Europe Cluster 1 ‘Health’ are still open for applications.

Under destination 5 “Unlocking the full potential of new tools, technologies and digital solutions for a healthy society” the call focuses on bio-printing of living cells for regenerative medicine:
HORIZON-HLTH-2024-TOOL-11-02 – Bio-printing of living cells for regenerative medicine
Under destination 6 “Maintaining an innovative, sustainable and globally competitive health industry” the calls focus on fostering innovation in the health industry: 
HORIZON-HLTH-2024-IND-06-08 – Developing EU methodological frameworks for clinical/performance evaluation and post-market clinical/performance follow-up of medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDs)
HORIZON-HLTH-2024-IND-06-09 – Gaining experience and confidence in New Approach Methodologies (NAM) for regulatory safety and efficacy testing – coordinated training and experience exchange for regulators.

The deadline to apply to these calls is on 11 April 2024, 17:00 CEST.

Funding and tenders 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 right now:

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science


UK offers EU cooperation on artificial intelligence policy and copyright

Despite differing approaches to technology regulation between Brussels and London, there has been a noticeable shift towards collaboration on science and technology matters, as explained by Science Business. During a recent visit to Brussels, the UK’s artificial intelligence minister adopted a cooperative stance, expressing a willingness to collaborate with the EU on regulation. He also indicated that the UK’s approach to AI copyright is likely to align closely with that of Brussels.
Jonathan Berry participated in a discussion in Brussels last week on AI regulation, alongside MEP Axel Voss, who serves as rapporteur on the EU’s AI Act, nearing finalization. While the UK has yet to enact similar legislation and has instructed existing regulators to develop AI rules instead, Berry emphasized the importance of cooperation and information exchange between the two sides as technology advances. Know more here.

EU AI law gains momentum as new European AI office gets up and running

Tasked with spearheading AI expertise in the EU, the European AI Office, an institution under the European Commission, aims to advance the development and deployment of trustworthy artificial intelligence while mitigating the risks involved.
Established on 21 February 2024, ahead of the formal adoption of the EU AI Law, the AI Office is laying the groundwork for a comprehensive EU-wide AI governance framework. It will drive the implementation of the EU AI Law, in particular with regard to general-purpose AI models, and is expected to facilitate international cooperation to ensure a coherent European approach to AI policy.
The main tasks of the AI Office include supporting and enforcing the AI Act, promoting the development and use of trustworthy AI, fostering international partnerships and collaborating with relevant institutions, experts and stakeholders. Know more here.



Energy efficiency empowered: mid-term evaluation of the recovery and resilience facility

At its mid-point, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) remains a key component of the EU’s NextGenerationEU plan, driving ambitious reforms and investments across the EU.
The Commission has presented a mid-term evaluation of the RRF, highlighting the progress made by Member States in implementing their reform and investment agendas. By the end of 2023, the Commission had assessed more than 1,150 milestones and targets as having been satisfactorily achieved, leading to tangible positive changes on the ground.
Thanks to the RRF, significant achievements have been made, including saving over 28 million megawatt hours (MWh) of energy, extending internet access to over 5.6 million additional households through high-capacity networks, and providing protection against climate-related disasters to nearly 9 million people. Know more here.

Research and Innovation


German science minister calls for a rethink of “strong wall” between civilian and military research

According to Science Business, German Science Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger is calling for a rethink of the long-standing division between civilian and military research, arguing that research now plays a central role in global power dynamics. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Stark-Watzinger emphasised the growing importance of research in geopolitical competition, particularly with regard to China. Her presence at the conference, which is typically attended by military leaders, underlines the intertwining of security concerns with science and innovation policy. Stark-Watzinger’s call signals a recognition that research has become a key geopolitical factor. Know more here.

Joint push by Ivanova and EU research ministers for ‘stable’ budget

At an informal meeting in Belgium, EU research ministers and Commissioner Iliana Ivanova agreed on the need to protect research funding, especially after a €2.1 billion cut to Horizon Europe, as reported by Science Business. Amid growing pressure from national governments to find other uses for EU funds, Europe’s research and innovation ministers were united in their pledge to protect the budget for the next research framework programme.
The meeting, attended by ministers from EU member states and representatives from the UK, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, took place on Thursday 15 February in La Hulpe, Belgium, as part of the first informal Competitiveness Council under the Belgian Presidency.
Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Willy Borsus, Vice-President of the Walloon Government, stressed the importance of maintaining a stable budget for the Framework Programme. He stressed that research is a cornerstone for action, progress and the future of the European Union and therefore its budget should not be subject to pressure or mismanagement. Know more here.

IMPAC3T-IP project: copyright opens up new options for academic knowledge transfer

In this ecosystem article, Science Business showcases how universities are expanding their strategies for utilizing academic resources, moving beyond patenting. While patents remain important, there’s a growing focus on exploring alternative ways to benefit from academic knowledge. This includes embracing social sciences, arts, and humanities, as well as streamlining the licensing of lower-value assets like software and designs.
Funded by Horizon Europe, the IMPAC3T-IP project aims to facilitate knowledge transfer, especially in crisis situations and collaborative efforts with civil society. Led by Andrea Di Anselmo of META Group, the project emphasizes extracting value from intellectual assets amidst evolving circumstances. This shift towards broader intellectual asset utilization has elevated the importance of copyright, traditionally significant for software protection but now extending to various other domains. Know more here.

Russia’s growing partnership with China amidst western isolation

As reported by Science Business, China has emerged as Russia’s primary scientific partner following a significant decline in ties with the West, particularly after the war-induced academic isolation exacerbated by the invasion of Ukraine. While collaboration between Russia and Western countries like Germany and the US had been declining even before the conflict, the invasion has accelerated this trend.
In contrast, Ukraine has witnessed increased collaboration with Western nations, notably Poland. The proportion of Russian scientific publications co-authored with China has steadily risen, surpassing collaboration with Western counterparts. However, the absolute number of joint papers with China seems to have plateaued despite this increase in proportion. Know more here.

Advancing the twin transition: integrating digital and green strategies for sustainable progress

In an opinion piece for Science Business, the head of the University of Oslo’s Centre for Computational and Data Science highlights the intertwined nature of the digital and green transitions. Rather than occurring independently, these transformations deeply influence each other. The ongoing digital transition of society can and should contribute to the green transition, while simultaneously becoming more environmentally sustainable.
To advance these dual transitions effectively, the author provides policy recommendations:
1. Energy-efficient digital infrastructure: The digital sector should prioritize transitioning to low-energy models, aiming to minimize energy consumption while maintaining service quality.
2. Data sharing and minimization: Initiatives promoting data-sharing, such as the European Open Science Cloud, can significantly reduce the energy and resource demands of data centers and networks. Additionally, efforts to minimize the amount of data stored and transported are essential.
3. Inclusive digital governance: Research into digital governance is necessary to ensure fairness, inclusivity, and accessibility throughout the digital transition. Bridging the digital divide by making digital technologies accessible to all segments of society is crucial for equitable progress.
Know more here.

Replay: What’s on the Horizon? Framing the next 40 years of European R&I

Watch all the sessions of the Science Business Network annual conference that took place on 13 February and counted with the presence of INESC representatives: Ricardo Miguéis (HUB), José Carlos Caldeira (INESC TEC) and Miguel Correia (INESC ID).

DIGITALEUROPE urges EU and member states to revamp single market

Industry association DIGITALEUROPE has published a set of proposals to modernise Europe’s single market for the digital age.
Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, praises efforts to create common data spaces, improve cybersecurity and promote responsible AI development. However, she stresses the need for coherence in digital legislation, highlighting the complexity created by divergent laws and fragmented regulations. These inconsistencies, it argues, discourage investment and stifle innovation. The report identifies ten challenges, such as connectivity issues, diverging data rules and inconsistent procurement policies, and makes recommendations to address them. Check the full report here.

European industries call for a bold biotechnology and biomanufacturing initiative

Representatives from the biotech industry and beyond have come together to call on the European Commission to be ambitious in its forthcoming Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative.
Europe has been slow to translate biotech R&D into industrial application and manufacturing on a large scale, says a position paper signed by organisations including EuropaBio, the Good Food Institute Europe and the European Confederation of Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs (EUCOPE).
The initiative, which will be presented in the coming months, is “a unique opportunity for the EU to build on its strong research and innovation base towards clear industrial, societal and market objectives”, it says. The organisations offer five key principles that they believe should underpin Europe’s approach to biotechnology and biomanufacturing. These include ensuring competitive market access for products in Europe, unlocking the full potential of the single market and creating an attractive investment environment. Read the full position paper here.

Europe must double climate investments to reach 2030 targets, report says

According to a recent report by the Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE), investment in climate-related initiatives in the EU economy increased by 9% in 2022. However, the report emphasises that this investment needs to double if Europe is to meet its 2030 climate targets.
The study looked at both public and private investment in 22 sectors critical to transforming energy, buildings and transport systems. These investments total €407 billion in 2022, equivalent to 2.56% of GDP. However, the report suggests that at least €813 billion of annual investment, or 5.1% of EU GDP, is needed in these sectors to meet climate goals.
Given the significant shortfall in current investment and the expected decline in EU climate funding in the future, the authors suggest that additional EU public funding may be needed to bridge the climate investment gap. Read the report here.

Research ministers endorse statement on ‘ethical compass’ for international cooperation

Research ministers last Friday endorsed a declaration on principles and values for international cooperation in research and innovation.
The statement calls for a roadmap of common principles and values for international cooperation in coordination with UNESCO, UNCSTD, OECD, International Science Council, G7, G20, Council of Europe and other international fora.
“Scientists and innovators, wherever they live and work in the world, must be able to reach out to each other and work together across borders and cultural traditions, on a basis of mutual trust and understanding,” said Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Research and Innovation.
“This is what we are working towards: a global ethical compass for research and innovation that puts people and values at its heart,” she said.

Commission launches R&I foresight platform

The European Commission has launched futures4europe, a foresight platform designed to facilitate collaboration between research and innovation experts and policy makers across the EU.
In line with its objective to support the planning of the next Framework Programme, the platform has produced 8 foresight policy briefs, which have been officially published by the Commission and you can check here.

EIT launches solar industry skills academy

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has launched the European Solar Academy, which aims to strengthen solar technologies and support SMEs by providing training and skills to employees.
With an initial budget of €4 million, the Academy is the latest in a series of skills initiatives being launched across the EIT campus. It joins existing programmes such as the European Battery Academy and the Deep Tech Talent Initiative.
Underlining the importance of the new Solar Academy, Nektarios Tavernarakis, Chairman of the EIT Governing Board, underlined the agility and effectiveness of the EIT ecosystem in addressing key policy priorities. The announcement took place during the EIT Summit in Brussels on Tuesday 20 February. Know more here.

Horizon IP scan: empowering European SMEs in R&I projects

The Horizon Intellectual Property Scan, an IP advisory service tailored for European SMEs participating in collaborative research and innovation projects, has been successfully completed, with key findings and insights detailed in a comprehensive study report. The service, which ran as a pilot project from November 2020 to November 2023, was instrumental in helping European start-ups and SMEs involved in EU-funded collaborative research initiatives to effectively strategise and capitalise on intellectual assets arising from collaborative R&I efforts. More than 350 SMEs involved in Horizon 2020/Europe and Eureka collaborative projects benefited from the expertise of an extensive team of international IP specialists.
In line with the strategic objectives of the EU IP Action Plan, in particular its focus on improving the use of IP, especially by SMEs, the service was also in line with the Guiding Principles for Knowledge Valorisation. These principles aim to increase the socio-economic impact of R&D activities by facilitating the effective management and exploitation of intellectual property. Know more here.



CoARA National Chapters exchange forum organised by INESC TEC, with presentation of the new Portuguese National Chapter

The “CoARA National Chapters Exchange Forum” is taking place on 22-23 February at the Alfândega do Porto and is organised by FCT, INESC TEC, CoARA and Science Europe. During this two-day conference, all CoARA National Chapters will come together to explore synergies, share experiences and discuss opportunities.
CoARA – the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment – is an international initiative that was founded in December 2002 and already has more than 600 members from 46 countries, including funding agencies, universities, research institutions, scientific societies and national/regional authorities. Its aim is to implement systemic reform of research assessment, researchers and research organisations. The proposed changes cover a range of areas, from recruitment and career development to the funding and evaluation of researchers, projects and institutions, and the publication of scientific articles.
Recognising the different contexts in each country, CoARA involves the creation of national chapters to support the implementation of the agreement’s commitments at national and regional levels, and to promote coordination and cooperation between institutions in their respective countries.
Currently, 11 National Chapters have been established, with a big novelty: the Portuguese Chapter is the more recent addition. Its proposal to establish a national chapter was accepted by the CoARA Steering Committee, in a process coordinated by FCT. The proposal will now be published on the CoARA website and there will be news on further developments in the near future. Know more here.

INESC MN develops innovative wearable prototype to help firefighters safety

The INESC MN SafeFire project, which focuses on health, well-being and performance, has developed an innovative wearable prototype in the form of a T-shirt. It incorporates flexible electrodes seamlessly woven into the fabric, allowing real-time monitoring of the electrical activity of the heart muscle (electrocardiogram) in a non-invasive manner. This continuous monitoring system is particularly beneficial for firefighters and emergency responders, improving health and safety protocols during firefighting and rescue operations.
After testing at the Medical Faculty of the Universidade de Coimbra, this groundbreaking prototype will be unveiled at the upcoming ‘Exponor’ exhibition (Matosinhos – Porto, 21-22 February 2024), hosted by industrial partner LATINO GROUP. This advancement represents a significant step forward in the integration of technology into firefighting practice, ultimately improving occupational health and emergency response capabilities. Know more here.

INESC TEC detects long-distance seismic activity on Madeira island

Researchers from INESC TEC have identified long-distance seismic activity on the island of Madeira. Led by INESC TEC researcher Orlando Frazão, the team detected, for the first time, long-distance seismic activity on the island using Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) technology.
The team, which includes Susana Silva, Catarina Monteiro, and Cristina Cunha, installed a HiFi Distributed Acoustic Sensor (HDAS) at the EMACOM Submarine Cable Station in Amparo, Madeira, to monitor seismic activity. INESC TEC’s team collected data, which was subsequently processed and analyzed in collaboration with Hugo Martins from IO-CSIC in Madrid, Spain. The analysis took place between January 31 and February 10, 2023, revealing various events, including a telesismic event with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale that occurred in Turkey on February 6, 2023, as depicted in Figure 1. Know more here.

Job Opportunities

– INESC TEC has 41 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 has 7 open positions. More info
– INOV is hiring a infrastructure manager and a processing 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 

– 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.
– Horizon Europe: Collaborative Research in a Nutshell – Weekly Webinar Series. Online webinar organized by KoWi. Proposal Template and Evaluation: Thursday, 29 Feb. 2024, 13.30-14.15 CET. Know more here.

– Horizon Europe: Collaborative Research in a Nutshell – Weekly Webinar Series. Online webinar organized by KoWi. Impact in Horizon Europe: Thursday, 7 March 2024, 13.30-14.15 CET. Know more here.
– Horizon Europe: Collaborative Research in a Nutshell – Weekly Webinar Series. Online webinar organized by KoWi. Budget planning: Tuesday, 12 March 2024, 13.30-14.15 CET. Know more 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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