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In today's Morning Brief:

Covid gives fresh momentum to EU clock-change idea

Top EU officials are revisiting the idea of scrapping the biannual changing of the clocks. In an idea inspired by former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the new plan is to turn the clocks back just one more time, but all the way to 2015.

An EU official said: “Changing clocks back to 2015 doesn’t just take us back to before covid, it has the added bonus of taking EU citizens to a pre-Brexit era, to a time when European politics was altogether a bit less deathy and grim, and EU leadership a tad more competent and characterful.”

EU officials are also emboldened to drive the move through by the fact that the UK has already decided to wind back its own clocks to 1945.


European Commission launches survey to evaluate European Research Area policy framework

An online survey to support the European Commission’s ongoing Study to evaluate the ERA policy framework/ERA monitoring mechanism has been launched. The study objectives are:

  • Evaluate the European Research Area (ERA) policy framework’s efficiency and effectiveness between 2015-2020, including the monitoring system and its role in promoting ERA implementation at national level and in stimulating policy reforms in EU Member States.
  • Contribute to the political process by assisting the European Commission, Member States and stakeholders to design and co-create a future ERA policy framework;
  • Deliver evidence-based proposals and recommendations as regards the new ERA monitoring and indicator system/ an ERA Scoreboard.

To reach these objectives, broad participation of relevant stakeholders is needed, including from:

  • national and regional R&I policy makers;
  • national, sectoral and EU associations focused on science, research and innovation and higher education (including universities)

The HUB will promote and coordinate INESC participation in this online survey through its Policy and Operations Board.


ITRE Public Hearing on Decarbonisation of the energy system

ITRE Committee (European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy) is holding a public hearing on 13 April on “Decarbonisation of the energy system” to discuss the main challenges that the Union energy sector is facing in the context of reaching climate neutrality by 2050, with input from a varied range of experts (private companies, academia, public bodies and EU association representing consumers).


Germany to put €15 million towards international green hydrogen research

According to Science Business, Germany has launched a €15 million funding programme for cross-border research projects into green hydrogen in hopes to boost the country‘s strategic cooperation with international partners in the sector. The first call for proposals opened yesterday for joint projects between Germany and New Zealand. The applicants can request up to €400,000 until 4 June for projects investigating the production of green hydrogen; its integration in the heating systems and gas networks; supply and transport challenges; and material innovations for increasing the efficiency of production. The call is the latest move in Germany‘s recent push for a creating a leading hydrogen economy. Having participated in the evaluation of the Green Deal call in the energy area, the HUB can confirm there has been a high number of proposals addressing hydrogen and aiming to set up, network and build upon existing hydrogen«-related research infrastructures. This is a trend that is here to stay, also at the level of EU calls.


Public consultation launched on revising the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The Commission has launched today an open public consultation on revising the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) in the context of the European Green Deal ambition to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The feedback from this consultation will feed into the Commission’s preparation of legislative proposals for revising the directive, which is intended for publication before the end of the year.


Appointment of STOA’s International Advisory Board (2020-2024 mandate)

STOA (Panel for the Future of Science and Technology of the European Parliament) decided to appoint an International Advisory Board (INAB) for the remainder of the 9th parliamentary term (2020-2024). Among the newly appointed members it the President of the INESC Holding and researcher of INESC ID, Arlindo Oliveira.


The need for better EU policies for health (online event)

A two part event: Aim of the Part I of the workshop is to inform policymakers about the new In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation (IVDR) and its consequences for the EU health system. The application date for the new IVDR is set for May 2022. This regulation contains new provisions to enhance the safety of diagnostics in the EU, and will affect health professionals, academics, labs, industry, and patients.

Part II of the workshop will debate the importance of evidence-based health policies, looking at three case studies; the EU cooperation on health technology assessment (HTA); the use of clinical real-world data to guide healthcare policies; and the need for better evaluation and regulation of artificial intelligence in medicine. Register here.


Overview of 2020 agri-food trade in the EU

Over the course of 2020, the value of EU agri-food exports increased to €184.3 billion (a growth of 1.4% compared to 2019), while the value of imports rose to €122.2 billion (a growth of 0.5%). The resulting balance of trade for 2020 stood at a surplus of €62 billion, an increase of 3% compared to 2019. These are amongst the main findings published yesterday by the European Commission in the monthly trade report for January-December 2020.


Clean energy transition support for islands

The Clean energy for EU islands secretariat offers technical support to help EU islands in the clean energy transition. It consists in a call for application, in which applicants will be invited to use a self-assessment tool to refine the type of support they need, then apply by filling in an online form, in which they describe the requested support services, the expected impact of the project and the stakeholder team that takes responsibility. The call is accompanied by an explanatory webinar on April 20th, at 11 CEST. The call is part of the Clean Energy for EU Islands initiative.


Hidden gem: A board game to beat climate crisis – from the creator of Pandemic

As the pandemic started to hit harder and harder and the lockdown forced millions to find new ways to employ their time at home beyond netflix-and-chill, the board game Pandemic, designed by Matt Leacock in 2008, quickly went out of stock. One of the key to success of that game is its collaborative nature: contrarily to many popular but friendship-breaker board games, like Risk, the players do not compete against each other, but are allied and need to communicate and reason together to beat the game. This is not only a useful characteristic if your fellow players are also the people you spend 24 hours a day with, but it came to be a timely teaching about the nature of the pandemic we were living: only international collaboration and a concerted effort of politics, scientific research and health industry could stop the spread of COVID-19.  Now, the creator of Pandemic and the UK-based game designer Matteo Menapace are putting together a new collaborative game on a cogent and timely topic: Climate Crisis. But how do you represent climate change on a board game? Who are the enemies? And most importantly – how do you win? As we wait for the game to be finalised, you can read about its creation process and even help with its development.

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