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In this Morning Brief, we open with results of the 2021 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) call for Doctoral Networks in which the European Commission will fund a total of 144 doctoral programmes, a fascinating piece on global AI harmonisation just in time for the voting of the AI Act, feedback from the INESC MN Co-Director Virginia Chu on two events advertised in last week’s Morning Brief, news on the Stick to Science initiative, the EIT Health Fund, 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:

MSCA awards €405 million for doctoral programmes

The European Commission has announced the results of the 2021 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) call for Doctoral Networks. The European Research Executive Agency (REA) received 1076 applications for this call, the first under the Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation.

The European Commission will fund a total of 144 doctoral programmes with €405 million with the prospect of training over 1500 doctoral candidates in and outside academia. €53 million will be awarded to 18 Industrial Doctoral programmes to train PhD candidates and develop their skills outside academia, including industry and business. Doctoral candidates will also benefit from joint industry-academia supervision. €36 million will be dedicated to 10 Joint Doctoral programmes, which promote joint selection, training and supervision leading to joint or multiple doctoral degrees.

Read more here.


Is global AI harmonization actually achievable?

According to Science|Business, “Amid rising geopolitical tensions and intensifying polarisation, building a global consensus around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to be tough. Yet experts at a recent Science|Business Data Rules workshop were cautiously optimistic that the necessary political will exists. If they fail to achieve some form of coordination, all of the world’s major powers will suffer, according to MEP Brando Benifei, one of the European Parliament’s rapporteurs for the EU’s AI Act, which could arrive on the statute books next year. “I think it would be a problem, not just for Europe, but for all the players involved because artificial intelligence will be a very pervasive technology,” he said. “Having two different contexts of application, standards and regulation will make it complicated to deal with all the activities that now interconnect the world. So I think we need really to put an effort into avoiding this situation.” While contending that Europe is now leading the world in developing horizontal legislation for AI, Benifei said: “It’s striking that China as in the last year, partly caught up in the race to regulate… In fact, China has recently had privacy and cyber-security legislation in place and is now also regulating the use of algorithms. The United States, on the other hand, is apparently more reluctant to regulate artificial intelligence seeing in Europe’s choices, the intention to penalise American companies.” He described such maneuverings “as a power struggle” with an uncertain outcome. The EU still needs to achieve an internal consensus about the best way to regulate AI. Benifei said that the current draft of the AI Act may need to be amended following “reflections” on the distribution of responsibilities across the AI value chain, the governance structure and the criteria that determines whether an AI system is deemed high risk or low risk. He also expects Parliament to seek to strengthen the protection of democracy and democratic processes, as well as extending the list of banned activities to encompass so-called social scoring by private companies.”.


Info session on the European Chip Act

Last week, after it being featured in the Morning Brief, INESC MN Co-Director Virginia Chu attended the event, taking the time to write some words about it: “The European Chip Act is aimed at rebuilding a competitive Semiconductor manufacturing sector in Europe to secure critical industries. With the enormous capital needed for a state-of-the art semiconductor manufacturing facility, I am not at all sure how this will play out and if it is not “too little, too late”.  For RTO’s, there will be opportunities, in particular with training as qualified technical personnel was identified as a critical objective.”.

Check the programme here.

Check the presentation here.    


KDT Consultation Workshop on Silicon Photonics

Last week, after it being featured in the Morning Brief, INESC MN co-Director Virginia Chu attended the event, taking the time to write some words about it: “The Silicon Photonics session was a public consultation on a focused KDT Call on Silicon Photonics in 2022. This will be an Innovation Action (IA) and so will be high TRLs.  They want to bring the integration of CMOS with CMOS “uncommon” technologies (ie III-Vs) into high volume manufacturing. Pilot lines for front and back-end processing, packaging and testing at wafer, chip and device levels will be needed.”.

Check the programme here.

The presentations that took place during the workshop can be downloaded by clicking the title of the talk on the programme.


Stick to Science builds second wave

According to Science|Business, “The research community in Europe has rallied behind the Stick to Science campaign, set up in February to push for a rapid resolution to the exclusion of Switzerland and the United Kingdom from EU research and innovation programmes. Association of both countries to Horizon Europe is currently blocked because of political differences in other areas. The war in Ukraine has understandably taken attention away from political differences between the EU and its neighbours, but supporters of Stick to Science argue that it should also focus minds on finding a solution. “If we look at the current situation in the world, as dramatic and as shocking as it is, it becomes clear that free and open societies have to join forces from a political perspective in order to make progress in scholarship and science possible,” says Georg Schütte, chief executive of the Volkswagen Foundation and a former state secretary for research in Germany. “And the scientific communities in the UK, in Switzerland, and within the EU member states need each other.” The campaign has collected more than 5,000 signatures from 72 countries, including endorsements from more than 250 leading organisations from the world of science. These range from research funders and academies, to university alliances and international research centres. The call for action has also been heard in the media, with more than 80 articles published across Europe. But the situation is far from being resolved, so the campaign is holding a week of action calling for further support to keep up the pressure.”. 


EIT Health fund for tech talent in healthcare seeks industry sponsors

The WorkInHealth Foundation is looking to raise €2 million for campaigns seeking to attract and upskill tech workers in the healthcare sector.

EIT Health, the EU-supported network of health innovators, launched the foundation in November in response to an increasing demand for tech talent in healthcare. It hopes to create an AI platform that matches workers with employers across Europe.

The network will look for sponsors among its partners, which includes French healthcare company Sanofi and tech giant Atos, as well as big US-based tech companies Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft.

“It’s clear that there is an urgent need for the industry to attract and retain different forms of talent as well as accelerating, upskilling, and reskilling,” said Celine Carrera, chairwoman of the WorkInHealth Foundation. “It’s going to take a collective effort to develop flexible and exciting career paths and find the best talent to fill them.”.


Commission activates crisis measures to financially support fishery and aquaculture sectors

Today, the Commission has decided to activate new crisis measures to support the fishery and aquaculture sectors in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The crisis mechanism of the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) will bring immediate relief to operators of the fishery, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors through financial compensation for their economic losses and additional costs. It will enable Member States to grant financial compensation to operators for income foregone due to the current market disruption, as well as ‘storage aid’ to producer organisations. This step comes in addition to the Temporary Crisis Framework, which enables Member States to provide support through State aid.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said: “The war in Ukraine is a war against all of us. Our fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors are hit hard due to high energy, oxygen and raw material prices. This is the second time in the past years after the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are again taking quick action to support them in this turmoil. These emergency crisis measures should not in any way impede our long-term efforts towards structural energy transition of the fishery and aquaculture sectors to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal.”

Read more here.


Event: Spotlight on EU Missions

The implementation of Missions is in full swing and the mission call 2022 will be published soon. Thus, in close cooperation with the European Commission a 2nd Mission Info Event for NCPs will be organized, providing you with:

  • An update on latest Mission developments;
  • Detailed information on the Mission Call 2022 & the Social Catalyst Fund;
  • The opportunity to meet representatives of the European Commission & get questions answered;
  • Insights into the EU funded initiative “TRAMI” – Transnational cooperation on the Missions approach;
  • Exchange and inspiration regarding mission activities.

Make sure to click here to register and find more information.


The role of tech in EU sustainability

According to EURACTIV, “Technology and sustainability are becoming increasingly intertwined in both policy and practice, but negotiating the relationship between the two is complex. While the potential for emerging technologies to help tackle the climate crisis and achieve green targets is increasingly recognised, so are the possible negative environmental effects of digital transformation. At the EU level, sustainability and tech come together under the “twin transition” label, with goals for both the digital and green transformations. Attention is increasingly turning towards how to ensure that developments in each not only help, but avoid hindering each other. As a result, those working in tech are emphasising the importance of integrating sustainability into all stages of development, so that the full potential of digital innovation, in furthering climate and other goals, can be realised.”.

More Articles

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 »