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Contact us:
Mariana Santos, INESC Brussels HUB Communications Officer

In today's Morning Brief:

Key Takeaways

– Margrethe Vestager, the Competition Commissioner, has formally declared that the European Commission is preparing to amend the regulations of Horizon Europe following Brussels’ assessment categorizing the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei as a “high risk” entity.

– In an opinion article by Morten Irgens and Emanuela Girardi for Science Business, the authors address the prevailing challenges in EU research funding and the quest for AI dominance among member states. They emphasize the necessity of transcending national interests and embracing collaborative, large-scale efforts to foster a prosperous AI sector.

– Scholars from Romania are underscoring the need for a thorough transformation of the country’s higher education system to narrow the disparity in international university rankings compared to neighbouring countries.

– Researchers in Europe are actively involved in advancing technology with the promise of potentially restoring sight for those who are blind. They are making strides by designing small electrodes to accommodate a higher quantity within the visual prosthetics for individuals with visual impairments. This research is supported by funding from the European Union.

– EFFRA, the research association focused on advancing European Future Factories, is inviting all relevant parties to participate in the public consultation for leading manufacturing organizations in Europe. The goal is to provide feedback and evaluations on the proposed focal points for the work program spanning 2025 to 2027 within the Made in Europe partnership.

Horizon Europe

Commission confirms it is planning restrictions on Huawei in Horizon Europe

According to Science Business, Margrethe Vestager, the Competition Commissioner, has officially announced that the European Commission is set to revise the rules of Horizon Europe in response to the evaluation by Brussels labeling the Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei, as a “high risk” entity.

In the previous month of June, the Commission had expressed “strong concerns” regarding Huawei and ZTE, both prominent Chinese telecommunications companies. The Commission had endorsed the actions taken by member states to limit and exclude these companies from participation on mobile networks.

Presently, ten member states have implemented measures to restrict potentially risky telecoms supplies. These actions stem from apprehensions regarding potential espionage and the risk of becoming overly reliant on Chinese technology.


EFFRA opens Made in Europe Consultation to the public

EFFRA, the research association dedicated to European Factories of the Future, extends an invitation to all pertinent stakeholders to partake in a collaborative endeavor alongside Europe’s prominent manufacturing entities. The objective is to provide feedback and evaluations on the proposed focal points for the work program spanning 2025 to 2027 within the Made in Europe partnership. For comprehensive guidance on this undertaking, pertinent instructions can be accessed on EFFRA’s official website.

To contribute your insights to this crucial process, access EFFRA’s Innovation Portal while ensuring you are logged in. If you haven’t registered yet, please reach out to portal@effra.eu to request a registration link, enabling your active participation in shaping the future endeavors of the partnership. Your input holds the potential to make a significant impact, so seize this opportunity to have your voice heard.


Israel and Switzerland: boost to joint research projects  

As reported by Science Business, a streamlined grant application process has been established for collaborative projects between scientists in Israel and Switzerland. This simplification has been achieved through mutual efforts by the research agencies of the two countries.

The Israel Science Foundation (ISF) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) are the collaborating entities, and they have devised an arrangement wherein researchers are required to submit only one grant application for joint projects. The review of these projects will be conducted on an alternating annual basis. In the current year, researchers can submit their applications to the SNSF by the 2nd of October.

Switzerland has implemented similar agreements with several other countries, including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Brazil’s State of Sao Paulo, Slovenia, South Africa, Italy’s Province of South Tyrol, Sweden, and the USA. This harmonization of procedures is aimed at fostering international collaboration and simplifying the administrative aspect of grant applications for researchers.


Poland, the US and the Baltics join forces in new call to support Ukrainian research

A new call has been introduced to bolster Ukrainian research and foster collaboration with counterparts in the United States, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Titled the IMPRESS-U call, which stands for International Multilateral Partnerships for Resilient Education and Science System in Ukraine, this endeavor is spearheaded by the American National Science Foundation.

Poland, through its National Science Centre, has earmarked PLN 10 million (equivalent to approximately €2.2 million) to facilitate this call.

The primary objective of this initiative is to provide support for high-caliber research endeavors involving Ukrainian partners. It aspires to aid Ukrainian researchers in their integration into the global scientific community and contribute to the revitalization of the nation’s research capabilities. This collaborative effort holds the promise of enhancing Ukraine’s research landscape and fostering international cooperation.

Research & Innovation

Romania kicks off debate on university mergers after falling out of Shanghai ranking

Romanian academics are emphasizing the necessity for a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s higher education sector in order to bridge the gap with neighbouring nations in international university rankings, according to Science Business.

In the recent release of the Shanghai ranking, also known as the Academic Ranking of World Universities, Romania’s largest institution, Babeș-Bolyai University, failed to secure a spot within the top 1,000. This marks the first instance since 2017 that Romania is absent from the ranking entirely. Scholars are attributing this setback to insufficient research funding and a dearth of essential reforms required for the country to match the progress of its neighbouring peers. Know more here.


War in Ukraine points to the need for a resilient multilateral science system

Amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, which has highlighted broader vulnerabilities within global science systems, a recent report from European academies underscores the need for unified and comprehensive policy actions aimed at safeguarding and rejuvenating science systems following a crisis.

The contemporary landscape is marked by a series of crises – from pandemics and conflicts to extreme climatic events and economic instability – all of which have become increasingly commonplace and disruptive on a global scale. Such emergencies demand immediate responses, often leading to the compromise of long-term initiatives and investments, including those directed towards research and innovation.

In March, the International Science Council (ISC) and All European Academies (ALLEA) convened their second conference to examine the repercussions of Russia’s conflict on the realm of science. One year into the conflict, the discussions highlighted a clear imperative: the protection and preservation of Ukraine’s science system is of paramount importance to avert potential collapse. Read more in Science Business.


How the meat and dairy sector resists competition from alternative animal products

As outlined in a recent report from the Stanford Journal, the investigation delves into a comprehensive comparison of innovations and regulatory policies concerning plant-based and lab-grown alternatives to animal-based meat and dairy products.

This analysis sheds light on how lobbying efforts within the meat and dairy industry have significantly impacted governmental regulations and financial support mechanisms, potentially stifling the growth of environmentally conscious alternatives with lower climate and ecological footprints. Published on August 18 in One Earth, the study examines the landscape of advancements and regulatory measures related to plant-based meat alternatives and lab-grown meat across the United States and the European Union.


Science Business Viewpoint: how Europe can catch the US on artificial intelligence

In an opinion article by Morten Irgens and Emanuela Girardi for Science Business, the authors address the prevailing challenges in EU research funding and the quest for AI dominance among member states. They emphasize the necessity of transcending national interests and embracing collaborative, large-scale efforts to foster a prosperous AI sector.

The Commission under Von der Leyen has elevated the significance of AI within Brussels’ framework and allocated considerable funding towards its advancement. Moving ahead, the authors express their hope that this aspiration will not only be matched but surpassed. They advocate for the integration of certain principles into AI policy, placing them at the core of Europe’s approach:

1.Think EU-Wide: Recognizing the limitations of individual member states in competing with the US, the authors urge collaborative EU-wide strategies to maximize impact.

  1. Increase and Concentrate Investment: Proposing the creation of substantial, well-funded innovation centres mirroring successful American commercial AI laboratories, accessible to innovators and researchers from across European academia and industry. This would entail a significant increase in AI investment and its focused allocation in these centres of excellence.
  2. Nurture AI Graduates: Advocating for robust incentives that steer students towards education in computer science and AI. The development of acceleration programs to cultivate talent is also highlighted.
  3. Foster Innovation Ecosystems: Encouraging heightened support across the AI spectrum, spanning startups, venture capital, public sector research institutions, and existing industry and government bodies.
  4. Balanced Regulation: Stressing the importance of regulation that doesn’t overly burden small innovators and startups, enabling their smooth operation within Europe’s AI landscape.

Restoring sight to the blind with cutting-edge brain implants

Presented by Horizon Magazine, European researchers are actively engaged in enhancing the technology that holds the potential to restore sight to blind individuals in the future. Berna Gomez, a former science teacher hailing from Spain, became both a participant and subject of scientific inquiry in 2021. After living with blindness for a span of 16 years, she took part in an experimental initiative aimed at reinstating her ability to perceive light.

At the age of 57, Gomez underwent a procedure involving the insertion of an implant into the region of her brain accountable for visual processing. The implant comprised an array of 96 microelectrodes, carefully positioned to interact with her brain’s visual processing area.

By establishing a connection between the microelectrodes and a camera mounted on a pair of glasses, Gomez was able to visually interpret the signals transmitted to her brain. She achieved the remarkable feat of distinguishing object outlines, recognizing gestures of the left and right hand, and even engaging in maze-like video games.

While her experience stands as a notable advancement, researchers are pushing the boundaries further by creating smaller electrodes, allowing for a greater number to be incorporated into the visual prostheses of blind individuals. Empowered by funding from the European Union, these scientists are diligently refining visual prosthetic technologies, driving the potential for transformative outcomes.


European Institute of Innovation and Technology Digital and angel investors network announce tie-up

EIT Digital and the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) have joined forces in a partnership aimed at facilitating increased access to early-stage capital for digital technology startups across Europe.

The collaboration envisions that angel investors, who traditionally offer modest funding to companies, will be empowered to identify potential firms to support by leveraging insights and information provided by EIT Digital.

In an official statement released this week, EIT Digital conveyed, “With a vibrant startup ecosystem and an array of supportive programs, EIT Digital can now emerge as a fresh avenue of investment opportunities for EBAN members.”


BlueInvest supports 13 Mari innovation for fuel efficiency

According to the European Commission, the Bulgarian startup 13 Mari is at the forefront of developing innovative solutions for drag reduction, aimed at enhancing fuel efficiency and promoting cleaner waters. With the guidance provided by the EU BlueInvest Readiness Assistance Programme, the company successfully secured funding exceeding USD 500,000.

Within the European Union, maritime transport holds significant economic importance; however, it is also a notable contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. At the EU level, this sector is accountable for roughly 3 to 4% of the total CO2 emissions. Specifically, in 2019, the emissions surpassed 144 million tonnes of CO2.

Given this context, it’s imperative for the commercial shipping industry to prioritize sustainability, contribute to cleaner marine environments, and curtail fuel expenditures. Remarkably, fuel costs dominate the financial landscape of the international shipping sector, constituting a staggering 50-75% of the overall operational expenses. Know more here.

News from INESC institutes

Calling European Social Entrepreneurs: Join SoTecIn Factory for Circular Industry Innovation

The European project SoTecIn Factory – Social and Technological Innovation Factory for low carbon and circular industrial value chains, led by INESC TEC, is seeking European social entrepreneurs with technology experience to develop solutions that contribute to a more circular, sustainable, and resilient industry. A total of €3.3 million is available, and the competition is open until September 28th.

The main objective of the project is to support social innovations that enhance the circularity of value chains and reduce the carbon footprint of the industry. In this context, the competition aims to support 25 European social entrepreneurs (including researchers, SMEs, and startups) who present innovative technology-oriented ideas as responses to circular challenges aligned with the project’s mission. This pertains specifically to value chains in textiles, plastics, packaging, food, water, and nutrients. 

Innovative Bactometer Revolutionizes Bacterial Detection to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance in Hospitals

Researchers from INESC have introduced a groundbreaking solution in the ongoing battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This development marks a significant stride in the campaign to counter antimicrobial resistance within hospital environments. Dubbed the “Bactometer,” this cutting-edge technology emerges as a game-changer in the field.

Years of dedicated research by teams from INESC Microssistemas e Nanotecnologias and INESC-ID have culminated in the creation of the Bactometer. This innovation presents a rapid, accurate, and user-friendly alternative to established methods like Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The Bactometer utilizes magnetic technology and harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning. It ingeniously combines two essential techniques—cell detection and nucleic acid analysis (DNA, RNA)—all while mitigating potential interference from background substances found in biological samples.

One of the most remarkable features of this device is its ability to deliver results within a mere hour. Similar to the widely known COVID-19 test, the Bactometer can be operated without specialized prior knowledge, making it an accessible tool for healthcare professionals. With its potential to revolutionize bacterial detection and contribute to the ongoing fight against antimicrobial resistance, the Bactometer stands out as a beacon of hope for more effective hospital practices. Know more here.

Job Opportunities

– INESC TEC has 60 vacancies in different work areas, such as Mobile Robotics, Computer Science, and more. Find more at INESCTEC website and via LinkedIn

– INESC MN is hiring a Clean Room Process Engineer. More info

– INOV is hiring a Analyst/Programmer and a Facilities Manager. More info

Events & Training workshops


– 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 September 2023. More info.

– 2023 European Researchers Night, 29 September 2023. The event will take place in 26 countries and will be online.


– EU Industry Days 2023, 4-6 October 2023, Málaga, Spain. Register here.

– Horizon Implementation Day: Finding opportunities and submitting a proposal in Horizon Europe. 5 October 2023, 8:30 CET. Register here.

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

– 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

– 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 2023. 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

– Enterprise Europe Network Annual Conference 2023, 15 November 2023, 09:00 CET – 17 November 2023, 18:00 CET, Barakaldo, Spain. 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


– 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

– 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 crises. More info.

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