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In today's Morning Brief:

Deep Tech and Forestry events yesterday

Yesterday afternoon, it took place the high-level roundtable on deep tech, the second event of the INESC Brussels HUB Spring Meeting. We cannot but thank you Inês Lynce, president of INESC ID, who accepted to participate in the round table representing her institute and INESC as a whole. A thank you to all the participants of the event, too.

For those who could not be to the deep tech roundtable or to the workshop on forestry that took place yesterday morning, a recording of the event will be made available on the HUB website soon.


Tech sovereignty as a priority of the K4I’s innovation manifesto

An innovation manifesto outlining eight areas on which the EU should focus in the creation of the proposed single European innovation area, puts tech sovereignty at the top of the list of priorities.  “Strengthening technology autonomy is essential” to Europe’s “security, defence and economic stability”, according to the manifesto, presented to research commissioner Mariya Gabriel yesterday. The manifesto was presented by Knowledge4Innovation (K4I), a think tank bringing together MEPs, universities, and industry that has been collecting ideas on how to boost innovation in the EU for 12 long years. The intention of the manifesto is to provide a framework for further debate on the form EU innovation policy should take. Over the next three months K4I intends to draw up a list of actions based on the eight focus areas. It will then hand over a draft action plan to Gabriel in September.

In terms of tech sovereignty, Europe needs to draw on the strength of its broad research institutions and nurture its growing digital infrastructure, while ensuring that core democratic values still apply in the new green and digital age. The development of a cohesive ecosystem that “fosters innovative excellence” is the way to achieve this, the K4I manifesto says. Read more on the manifesto here.


Report: EU must boost AI and blockchain funding to avoid market failures

In 2020, the European Commission launched its own €100 million AI/Blockchain investment fund and a support programme for investors. In the new seven-year EU budget, the ambition will be scaled-up. Yet, European equity funding for artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies currently make only 7% of total global spending. The EU must act quick to avoid lagging behind the US and China in the global technology race, a new study from the European Investment Bank finds. To catch up, the EU must boost investments in AI and blockchain development and scale-up, improve their market take-up and develop an integrated European innovation ecosystem, the report recommends.


EU processor project designs European-grown test chip

The European Processor Initiative, an EU-funded project aiming to produce low-power processors for extreme scale computing and supercomputing, has designed its first test chip, EPAC1.0. “It is a fully European design, driven by a vision of throughput-oriented computing and featuring characteristic that will result in high programmer productivity and achieve very high performance at low power and cost. Although just an initial Test Chip, it can be a significant step forward in HPC but also for edge and embedded applications,” said Jesus Labarta, coordinator of EPAC. The test chip has now been successfully released to manufacturing. Read more about this initiative here.


Germany to invest €8 bn in large-scale hydrogen projects

Germany said on Friday (28 May) it would invest €8 billion in 62 large-scale hydrogen projects, including electrolysers and pipeline infrastructure, as part of the country’s bid to decarbonise its industry and become a world leader in the pioneering fuel technology. The economy and transport ministries selected 62 of 230 large-scale projects to receive state funding, which is expected to be matched with €33 billion of additional private investments.

The infrastructure are classified as Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), meaning they will be able to receive government funding without having to observe the EU’s usually strict state aid rules. The lion’s share of the funding will be directed towards building electrolysers and hydrogen pipelines. Germany’s major steel manufacturers will receive €2 billion between them in funding for hydrogen related decarbonisation projects. Read more on this on Euractiv.


Planned revision of EU renewables law opens door to geothermal

A draft of the planned revision for Europe’s key renewable energy legislation leaked to Euractiv bodes well for geothermal energy, but it still does not go far enough to support a full rollout of the technology, according to the industry. Many renewables, like solar power and wind energy, focus on electricity production, but geothermal, which utilises underground heat for energy, is also a key player in renewable heating and cooling. However, the technology is expensive to install because of exploration and drilling costs. Two parts of the draft renewable energy directive could hold the answer to at least partially overcoming these barriers. It emphasises the role of derisking measures and heat purchase agreements, both of which help tackle high costs. Read more on Eureactiv.


Evaluation of CAP’s impact on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions

EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture fell by more than 20% since 1990, but have stagnated since 2010. Still, as agricultural production has continued to grow, the climate footprint per unit of output continued to improve. Nevertheless, a further reduction of emissions is needed to achieve the EU’s ambitious climate targets for 2030 (reaching at least a reduction of 55% of emissions by 2030 in the EU).

The CAP has helped reduce GHG emissions. Mitigation is mainly achieved by protecting existing carbon stocks, notably thanks to the maintenance of permanent grasslands supported by extensive livestock grazing systems. There is potential to further increase carbon storage in EU soils. In terms of climate adaptation, it is mainly achieved through support towards diversity of crops and farming systems, investment support for adaptation to new climate conditions, limiting soil erosion and improving resilience to floods. However, better targeting of CAP support would lead to an increase in efficiency.

These are among the main findings of the evaluation of the impact of the CAP on climate change and GHG emissions. Read more about its findings on the Commission website here.


Commission seeks public opinion on ecodesign and energy efficiency for mobile phones and tablets

The European Commission has launched a public consultation related to potential new Ecodesign and energy labelling measures for mobile phones and tablets.

The objective of this consultation is to collect feedback from all stakeholders on potential new measures, and information about users’ habits, preferences and choices related to their purchase, usage, repair and disposal of mobile phones and tablets. The feedback from the consultation will help the Commission to assess the relevance of new regulatory measures in order to ensure that these products become more energy efficient and durable as well as more easy to repair, upgrade, reuse and recycle. The public consultation will remain open until 23 August 2021.


3rd ICC City Lab open sessions

The Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) City Lab is the chance to meet with European Commission officials, ICC-city representatives, global thinkers, urban development experts, and city leaders from across the globe to showcase how intelligent cities will lead the way to a sustainable, productive, zero-pollution future. It is still possible to register for two public sessions that will take place on 3 June 2021, here.

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