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In this Morning Brief, we let you know of the MoU signed between INESC TEC and the Atlantic Technical University in Cape Verde, the EU Green Week 2022, a series of statements by University groups decrying the war in Ukraine, more news about the DSA  negotiations as they are entering their final stage and more!  

Any comments or suggestions, hit me up with an email on teresa.carvalho@inesc.pt.

In today's Morning Brief:

In today’s Morning Brief:

INESC TEC and the Atlantic Technical University signed a Memorandum of Understanding

On February 15, INESC TEC and the Atlantic Technical University (UTA), in Cape Verde, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), aimed at investing in scientific and technological cooperation between the two institutions, in fields like the ocean sector, port management and logistics, renewable energies, precision agriculture and innovation and entrepreneurship processes.

With a duration of five years, this MoU will provide institutional support and encourage cooperation between the two institutions, promoting collaboration in terms of science management, exchange, and training of human resources.

This partnership, which materialises previous contacts between UTA, INESC TEC and Centro Ciência LP, includes a set of concrete initiatives, such as technological support in the fields of biology and marine sciences, the organisation of comprehensive training courses, workshops and seminars, and joint participation in R&D projects.

 

EU Green Week 2022

EU Green Week is the key event in the EU environment policy calendar. Organised by the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission, the conference is an annual opportunity to debate and discuss European environmental policy. It attracts policymakers, leading environmentalists, stakeholders and other interested parties from across Europe and the globe.

EU Green Week 2022 will take place in a hybrid format from 30 May 2022 until 5 June 2022.

Click here for more information.

 

Universities and researchers decry war in Ukraine

University and research groups around Europe are coming out with statements denouncing Russia’s military invasion in Ukraine and debate whether the aggressor should be isolated scientifically. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the Coimbra Group uniting 41 European universities highlighted the importance of helping students in Ukraine to continue their studies in Europe or their home country, in the case of international students that were studying in Ukraine. 

CESAER universities’ association issued a statement today underlining the role science and technology plays in building bridges across conflicts. 

In the same vein, the EuroScience association of scientists active in more than 70 countries, including Ukraine and Russia, called on policymakers to not intertwine science and military action.

“Despite the necessary institutional and governmental sanctions required in the face of such blatant and hostile aggression, we remind all of the world’s leaders of the essential role that the scientific endeavour has played in the past, including in times of war, as a vector for international diplomatic relations,” the EuroScience statement said.

 

EU actions must match words as DSA negotiations enter endgame

In this EURACTIV column, Eva Simon, senior advocacy officer at the Civil Liberties Union for Europe and Jonathan Day, head of video advocacy at the Civil Liberties Union for Europe both state “The EU is entering the homestretch of negotiations on the Digital Services Act, which promises to change how big platforms work in order to better protect the rights of European citizens. But if certain proposals by the European Parliament are not included in the final text, the DSA could fail to achieve its most fundamental aim.”.

 

Action Plan for Diamond Open Access

Science Europe, cOAlition S, OPERAS, and the French National Research Agency (ANR) present this Action Plan to further develop and expand a sustainable, community-driven Diamond OA scholarly communication ecosystem.

It proposes to align and develop common resources for the entire Diamond OA ecosystem, including journals and platforms, while respecting the cultural, multilingual, and disciplinary diversity that constitutes the strength of the sector.

Download the action plan here.

 

Soil health: contribute to call for evidence ahead of new proposal

The Commission has launched a call for evidence to gather views on the upcoming possible legal provisions mentioned in the EU Soil Strategy for 2030 and relevant alternative options. This call for evidence is open for feedback until 16 March. Your input will be taken into account as the Commission further develops and fine tunes this initiative.

Further consultation activities, including a public consultation, will take place in the second quarter of 2022. Find out more here.

 

“Spotlight on recognition” Project Conference

This conference is the final event of the Erasmus+ co-funded “Spotlight on recognition” project. Through a mix of plenary and breakout sessions, it will be an opportunity to reflect on lessons learnt from the project and be informed about ongoing developments and other projects in the field of academic recognition. The event will also offer an occasion to network with peers from across the European Higher Education Area and to share institutional approaches to recognition. It will also host the launch of the final project publication, which is a self-assessment tool for institutional staff responsible for the implementation of recognition processes and decisions.

Click here for more information.

 

Scoping GovTech dynamics in the EU

This report provides background information on GovTech dynamics in the EU. It starts by giving an overview of the current state of public procurement for innovation (PPI). The report highlights the rather uniform defini-tions of PPI, its purpose, existing barriers and obstacles, and explains different types of procurement models and their processes. Based on empirical evidence from scoping interviews with start-ups, founders and GovTech programmes, the report then reflects on how the existing schemes apply to recently planned GovTech initiatives, shows the reasons why governments might be investing in GovTech, and highlights a series of recommendations for countries in the process of implementing their own GovTech initiatives.

Download the full report here.

 

In search of EU unicorns – What do we know about them?

In this global race of game-changing ventures, the JRC studied both unicorns (still in private hands) and former unicorns that had been “exited” in the meantime. The EU is catching up, as Commissioner Mariya Gabriel points out: the number of (privately held and non-exited) unicorns in the EU has risen from 44 in 2020 to 89 by the end of 2021, thus doubling in one year. Despite Europe is progressing well, some disturbing facts remain:

  • There is an exodus of EU Unicorns.

40 out of 147 (private and ‘exited’) unicorns born in the EU (in the period 2008-2021), relocated their headquarters outside the EU, often for access to finance reasons

  • A largest scaleup investments into EU Unicorns come from abroad.

In 2021 alone, US venture capital funds invested some €51 billion in European firms and US investors participated in five out of six of the largest deals in Europe

  • Unicorns remain geographically concentrated in very few hubs.

More detail in the JRC Report. Download here.

 

EU Knowledge Valorisation Week

Taking place between 29 March and 1st April, the EU Knowledge Valorisation Week will showcase excellent examples of policies and tools that promote the uptake of research results and science-based solutions for the benefit of all. Universities, business associations, research organisations, arts institutions, and other stakeholders have helped shape the programme by sharing their best practices in knowledge valorisation.

The Week will bring together stakeholders and policy makers across Europe. It will stimulate exchange of experiences and dialogue on ways to improve investments, capacities and skills for knowledge valorisation in the European Union. Meet with knowledge valorisation enthusiasts and join the discussion!

The EU Knowledge Valorisation Week is organised by the European Commission, Directorate-General Research and Innovation, EU Member States and EEA countries.

Download the full programme.

Register here.

 

Top 100 Global Innovators 2022

Since 2012, CLARIVATE publishes the list of the top 100 global innovators. It is interesting to note that there are only 3 research entities in the list. The remaining 97 are all private companies. It is also interesting to note that the list spans across the world but all the 100 institutions are concentrated in 12 countries, 4 of them are in the EU (6 in Europe, if we count Switzerland and the UK).

If we zoom in the research entities, we find that from the 3 that were identified in the report, 2 are in France, which is quite astounding at first, but then you look at which they are you understand why France organises its research system in the way it does. It is different from the way the US organises its own system but it’s equally effective if not more in certain sectors and periods. France actually has 17 entities listed among the 100. The 2 research entities are actually networks of entities, CNRS and CEA. This also says a lot about the importance of networking research and innovation across sectors and regions, not only in the same country but across.

Another interesting feature to deconstruct is the size matters issues. Yes, France is a big country for EU patterns, but only a neighbourhood of China or a State of the US. Same goes for Germany for example, with 9 companies in the list. So what to make of the Netherlands, a rather small country with 3 companies on the list? Or Switzerland? Or Sweden? Or even South Korea or Taiwan? There is a lot to say about this and the explanation about how these countries managed to be among the top innovators in the world is not simple and hides a lot of other considerations on government practices, corporate culture, education and research capacity. However, we need to once and for all open our eyes to the real possibilities of small countries in global economies and consider what kind of country we want for ourselves.

Mind you not all of the companies are very large, some of them are small companies and a considerable number of them are new entrants. The sectors with more innovative companies, including new entrants, are not surprising: by far in first place is the electronics and computer equipment, which is INESCs core sectors, followed by the automotive and semiconductors. Surprising is the absence of a stronger presence of medical biotechnology companies for example.

So, let’s look at the criteria for the study and the possible bias of the study.

First, a little bit about Clarivate. The company that publishes the study annually is a consultancy, no surprise so far. It is a NYSE listed consultancy with more than 11 thousand employees. According to its own website it began operating in 1864 with the foundation of the Zoological Record, the world’s oldest continuing database of animal biology, having expanded to many other sectors and areas of data analysis since then. As a consultancy, their focus is on supporting innovation in companies and they have started publishing this report in 2012.

Now, the criteria underlying their choices and final list. In the report, they begin by mentioning that the criteria used in the previous 10 years has changed this year and I quote the phrase I think explains best the way the company is developing its own thought process and making it count in the products it publishes such as this study:

No longer is an idea an island. Technology advancement is a complex choreography of talent, of competition and of need. New ideas emanate from everywhere scientists, engineers and developers reside.

Nothing very new here, one could argue, except that updating assessment processes is not always easy, in fact, if we look at how the academic and scientific fields have dealt with assessment, one can say that it is at least as conservative as any other field, if not more. The issue here is that usually an argument for focusing on process versus results is very difficult to make and that is exactly what this shift in assessment or ranking criteria seems to illustrate.

However… the methodology used to reach the final list of 100 entities is highly quantitative and has as first criteria one that is, in my opinion, extremely doubtful and excludes, certainly, many if not most of the actually biggest innovators in the world: critical mass. The methodology begins by identifying innovating organizations that pass qualification criteria based on volume of inventive activity and this is, in concrete numbers: 500 published inventions since 2000, and 100 granted inventions in the 2022 5-year evaluation window. It then evaluates all inventions in the Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI), and scores them on four factors: influence, success, globalisation and technical distinctiveness. I am not going to get into the analysis of the merits of this index and methodology, but would like to emphasise two things: 1) that the evolution of any ranking, even if it tries to consider a wider set of key aspects for what makes an organisation innovative, is always going to have to mainly address results and have a quantitative approach, even if a highly evolved one and 2) that one cannot rely on only one ranking to acknowledge success and, especially, to guide public policy and institutional or corporate decision-making.

Download the report here.

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31/05/2022: BioData.PT Session 3, EU AI Law, European Sustainable Energy Week, LIFE Awards 2022 Winners, EU Green Deal, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– BioData.PT Talks Session 3: Recent Artificial Intelligence Tools and Architectures for Structural Biology;
– EUA Policy Input: Considerations for a “European Degree”;
– Putting Science into Standards;
– The EU AI law will not be future-proof unless it regulates general purpose AI systems;
– European Sustainable Energy Week: Going green and digital for Europe’s energy transition;
– European Commission reveals winners of LIFE Awards 2022;
– Interact with statistics for the European Green Deal;
– EU countries urged to prepare for Russian gas cut: Summit draft.

Read More »

30/05/2022: INESC TEC Workshop, EU Cancer Plan, Eurostat, Defunct Satellites, Hydrogen, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– INESC TEC coordinated a workshop on Machine Learning;
– Access to financial products for persons with a history of cancer in EU Member States;
– Eurostat regional yearbook: From traditional printed publication to modern interactive tool;
– ‘World-first’ project for capturing defunct satellites ramps up;
– Hydrogen: BAM sets up digitally networked research filling station to increase safety of technology;
– EFCA coordinates EU efforts to monitor the bluefin tuna fishing season;
– Zero Pollution Monitoring and Outlook Workshop – Report;
– Commission outlines defence R&D priorities in new €924M work programme.

Read More »

26/05/2022: INESC-ID research grants, new MSCA platform, Horizon Europe UK backup, REPowerEU, Fit for 55, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– INESC-ID: Nuno Lopes receives research grants from Google and Woven Alpha;
– EU ramping up efforts for strategic autonomy in raw materials;
– Laurence Moreau appointed head of the ERC executive agency;
– Event: The UK’s Position in Global Science and Innovation;
– New MSCA networking platform for future applicants;
– Application system opens for UK Horizon backup grants;
– Fraunhofer elects three new executive vice-presidents;
– FaST Navigator study identifies models necessary to provide accurate advice on the use of fertilisers to EU farmers;
– Germany’s pacifist universities pose obstacle to militarisation of EU R&D;
– Webinar: The European Standardisation Booster;
– MSCA Cluster event on Mission Ocean and Waters;
– REPowerEU: Commission establishes the EU Energy Platform Task Force to secure alternative supplies;
– Horizon Europe mission on carbon-neutral cities kicks into gear;
– Fit for 55: New EU carbon sink goal will increase 2030 reduction target;
– A new Blue Economy Observatory to monitor and promote the sustainability of our ocean related activities;
– Zero Pollution Monitoring and Outlook Workshop – Report.

Read More »