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In today's Morning Brief:

LIFE awards for projects supporting nature, environment and climate action

During the EU Green Week earlier this week, the winners of the 2021 LIFE Awards were announced by the EU’s LIFE programme. The LIFE Awards recognise the most innovative, inspirational and effective LIFE projects in three categories: nature protection, environment and climate action. The jury rewards projects who demonstrated an outstanding contribution to environmental, economic and social developments and showed excellence in impact, replicability, policy relevance, cross-border cooperation and cost-effectiveness.

The three awards were: LIFE ENERGY (Award for Nature), whose team put a stop to many birds colliding with power lines by installing 8 600 bird flight diverters along 77 km of the most dangerous areas; LIFE REUSING POSIDONIA (Award for Environment), that used dried seagrass as effective and inexpensive thermal insulation in 14 social housing units for poor and disadvantaged people on the Balearic island of Formentera, Spain; the LIFE FORECCAsT (Award for Climate Action), which helped forest managers in France’s Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park put in place climate change adaptation strategies by building a mobile application to help foresters assess and manage the risks to their land. More information on the winners and finalists of the awards can be found here.


Green City Accord – Online Workshop: A closer look at indicators for monitoring & reporting

On June 16th, from 13 to 16 CEST, the EC DG Environment will host a workshop on the Green City Accord. This workshop will introduce the Green City Accord monitoring and reporting framework including the mandatory set of indicators providing ample time to ask questions and exchange with experts and other participants. Registrations will open today and be available here.


Academics are overworked and underpaid, says OECD report

According to the new report by the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), one in five corresponding authors of scientific papers are working more than 55 hours a week, while a third make less than $30,000 a year. A majority of researchers say they have to compete for resources within their organisation, while 71% need to compete for and secure funding from external organisations. Based on OECD’s International Survey of Scientific Authors, the report sheds light on differences between employment in the public sector and the private sector, including salaries and contractual status.

According to the report, these working conditions point to the pressure and competition in academic research. OECD will use the report to improve job security of academic researchers.


EU-Bill Gates set up a €820M fund to bring down the price of clean energy

The European Commission is teaming up with the Bill Gates-led green energy financing programme, Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, to raise €820 million for clean energy demonstration projects. The money will be invested in technologies that are currently too expensive to scale-up, starting with green hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels, direct air capture and long term energy storage. The involvement of Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will hopefully send a signal to private investors that clean energy is a safe bet – and will bring returns in the next few years, according to the industry. Read more on the topic here.


Research infrastructures: DG RTD calls for global coordination

The sophistication, size and costs of research infrastructures are hard for any one country to manage. Regardless of the desire of the EU for technological sovereignty, international cooperation is needed to finance and operate them. This was the message that Jean-Eric Paquet, European Commission’s director general for research and innovation, sent to global science leaders this week. Paquet was speaking in advance of addressing the International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI), on a panel focusing on the possibility for multilateral cooperation in financing, designing and operating these facilities.

Policymakers argue that international research infrastructures could help the world respond better to climate change and foster sustainable development. But, as these facilities are getting bigger and more partners are involved, they need international governance structures. The EU has a strategic forum for research infrastructures (ESFRI), but that model might not be replicable at a global level. Read more on this on Science Business.

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