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Happy Monday! In this Morning Brief, we show you the JRC and FAO’s Guidance Note on Monitoring Sustainability of Bioeconomy, the latest on what Germany’s new government means for R&I, the European CoR calls for a European eco-label for aquaculture products 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:

JRC and FAO publish Guidance Note on Monitoring the Sustainability of Bioeconomy

The FAO and the JRC were given a joint mandate to develop a Guidance Note on monitoring the sustainability of the bioeconomy under the auspices of the International Bioeconomy Forum (IBF). It was published on the occasion of the IBF plenary meeting on 29-30 November. The document outlines ten steps that countries and macro-regions can take to monitor the sustainability of the bioeconomy.

The exact composition of the bioeconomy depends on each country or macro-region. It consists of complex social, economic, and environmental systems. The direct and indirect impacts of the bioeconomy are not always foreseeable and trade-offs may exist. A reliable, holistic, and timely monitoring system is essential to adapt the governance bioeconomies. Monitoring systems allow decision makers to assess the performance and progress towards specific strategic objectives that reflect an overall vision.

Make sure to read more here.

European Comittee of the Regions calls for a European eco-label for aquaculture products and a one-stop-shop for licenses

Sustainable aquaculture, eco-friendly fishing, decarbonising highly polluting maritime transport and restoring fish populations are crucial to building a blue economy that is climate-neutral and contributes to sustainable food systems.

Aquaculture accounts for 20% of fish farming and shellfish supply in the EU. As part of the blue economy, fisheries and aquaculture are key to boosing the COVID-19 economic recovery, creating jobs and offering sustainable development opportunities to coastal and rural populations. Yet red tape and insufficient investments continue to hinder the full development of a European aquaculture sector.

A European eco-label for aquaculture products and a one-stop-shop for licenses are key proposals put forward by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) in its opinion on ‘Sustainable blue economy and aquaculture’, adopted at its plenary session on 1-2 December. The opinion contributes to the new communication on sustainable blue economy and the strategic guidelines for sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture published by the European Commission (EC) in May 2021.

The growth of the aquaculture sector in Europe is hampered by excessively lengthy and complicated authorisation procedures and limited access to waters. The Committee therefore proposed a one-stop-shop for aquaculture licenses, as well as training modules for local authorities on EU permit granting in order to speed up business development and compliance with EU rules. The CoR reiterated its previous call to develop a European eco-label for aquaculture products.

Read more here.

What Germany’s new government means for R&I

Germany’s new government unveiled its research and higher education plans, including a new national technology transfer agency, better living support for students, and more job security for early career academics.

Research leaders have welcomed the raft of promises, but are uncertain if economist Bettina Stark-Watzinger, the surprise pick for education and research minister, and a former research manager herself, will have the time or money to implement what is promised.

“Many of our expectations and demands have been picked up,” said Peter-André Alt, president of the German Rectors’ Conference. The plans show the country is going, “in the right direction in science and innovation.”

According to the 178 page coalition agreement, Mehr Fortschritt Wagen (‘Dare to make more progress’) released last week by the three parties making up the new government – the centre left Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens, and centre right Free Democratic Party (FDP) – DATI will primarily work with universities of applied sciences and smaller universities.

Alt welcomed the new agency, but said it must also work with Germany’s larger technical universities too.

DATI will both unite and expand different funding schemes from different government departments. Researchers could then collaborate with regional start-ups and SMEs to get funding to bring new ideas to the market. This regional funding is based on the UK model of attempting to create regional innovation clusters, by focusing R&D investments on areas of strength.

Read more here.

Europe must support nuclear energy

In this column by Marco Visscher and Myrto Tripathi, both authors defend nuclear power must be given a fair chance to be part of the climate change solution.

The authors take the cases of Sweden and France, where nuclear power helps the electricity be extremely low carbon. This is what will be needed by 2050, when countries such as India will be using much more energy.

Europe is divided on the issue. On the one hand, the Germans and Austrians are putting pressure on other member states to close their nuclear power plants and not build new ones. On the other, the French are seeking understanding for the preservation and expansion of nuclear power, the only energy source that is currently capable of entirely replacing fossil power plants from the power grid.

The International Energy Agency states that keeping existing nuclear power plants open is the best, fastest and cheapest way to provide clean electricity. The Joint Research Centre, the scientific service of the European Commission, exhaustively judges that nuclear power contributes “significantly” to the fight against climate change and belongs in the taxonomy.

To rapidly reduce emissions, we cannot use political preferences or opinions to decide what is clean and good, we have to follow the best available science and evidence, claim the authors.

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