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In this Morning Brief, we open with the European Biotech Week 2022, celebrating biotechnology, an innovative and vibrant sector, there is also another event taking place next Monday at Técnico Lisbon and online, on 5P Medicine, the Commission has released a technical support instrument to help seventeen member states curb their reliance on Russian fossil fuels, childhood cancer experts urge the inclusion of UK and Swiss researchers in EU projects, 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:

European Biotech Week 2022

The European Biotech Week celebrates biotechnology, an innovative and vibrant sector launched by the discovery of the DNA molecule back in 1953. The first European Biotech Week that took place in 2013 marked the 60th anniversary of this pivotal moment in history.

Join the 10th edition of the European Biotech Week and become an official partner of EBW 2022! A week-long series of events (at local, regional, national and European level) will take place all over Europe, to celebrate biotechnology and its applications.

Find out more here.


DBE Lunch Seminar: An Engineering perspective on 5P Medicine – Current research and a roadmap proposal

Don’t’miss this upcoming DBE Lunch Seminar taking place on April 11th at Técnico Lisbon from 14h00 to 15h00, with Dr. Nuno M. Garcia.

Click here for the zoom link to attend the seminar.


Commission’s Technical Support Instrument to help 17 Member States curb their reliance on Russian fossil fuels

The Commission will offer technical support to help 17 Member States phase out their reliance on Russian fossil fuels, in line with the REPowerEU plan for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy.

The technical expertise will help Member States to identify and implement the best policy reforms and investments in areas such as diversifying energy supplies, accelerating the transition to renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency, in order to reach these joint European ambitions. Member States that requested and will receive this support over the coming months are Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.

On 21 March 2022, in the aftermath of Russia’s aggression to Ukraine, the Commission launched a dedicated call inviting Member States to express their interest in receiving technical support. All the requests submitted by the Member States have been assessed and approved by the Commission. The expertise is provided under the Technical Support Instrument (TSI), managed by the Commission. It will support phasing out Member States’ reliance on Russian fossil fuels and help in mitigating price shocks in the medium term, including by accelerating the EU’s green transition, whilst taking the interregional and cross-border dimensions into account.

Click here to read more.

Technical Support Instrument (TSI).

Reform Support Website.


Ensuring radiation protection: Commission takes Portugal to Court to guarantee citizens’ protection from ionizing radiation-exposure risks

The Commission is taking legal steps to ensure the protection of citizens, workers and patients against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation. Today, the Commission decided to refer Portugal to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully transpose the EU’s revised Basic Safety Standards Directive (Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom) into national legislation.

Member States were required to transpose the Directive by 6 February 2018. The Commission has been providing continuous support to the Member States to properly transpose the rules. In November 2019, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Portugal requesting it to notify to the Commission all of its transposition measures for the Directive. Since then, Portugal has notified additional transposition measures, but has not yet established a national action plan addressing long-term risks from exposures to radon, as required by the Directive. Therefore, the Commission is referring Portugal to the Court of Justice today.

Read more here.


Childhood cancer experts urge inclusion of UK and Swiss researchers in EU projects

According to Science|Business, “Science has made great progress in cancer research in recent years – but to keep that momentum going, researchers say it’s important that Swiss and British colleagues not be excluded from key European Union research projects on childhood cancer.  “All paediatric cancers are rare, and therefore in research you need to collaborate across borders to get a large enough sample size,” said Olga Kozhaeva, director of policy affairs at the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe). “If [the UK and Switzerland] don’t participate, this is a problem not only for the advancement of scientific knowledge but also in terms of poorer outcomes [for patients], both in the EU and the UK.” At issue is Swiss and British participation in Horizon Europe, the EU’s flagship R&D programme, which funds much cancer research. Due to political disagreements – with the UK over Brexit terms, and with the Swiss over broader bilateral negotiations over market access – researchers from both countries are at least temporarily cut off from new research projects under the programme. That has had knock-on effects in many fields, but in cancer research it has become especially delicate, researchers say.”.    


Commission presents a new strategy to become climate-neutral by 2030

Yesterday, the Commission adopted a new Human Resources Strategy to enable it to perform at the highest level in the interest of all Europeans by offering a modern workplace and rewarding careers that attract top talents from all Member States.

As part of the Strategy, today’s Communication on Greening lays out how the Commission will become climate-neutral by 2030. It thereby sets a good example of corporate climate action, in line with the spirit of the policy proposals to deliver the European Green Deal. The Commission will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030 compared to 2005 and compensate remaining emissions with carbon removals.

Find out more here.

Questions and Answers on the new Human Resources Strategy and Greening the Commission.


Green Deal: Modernising EU industrial emissions rules to steer large industry in long-term green transition

Yesterday, the Commission presented proposals to update and modernise the Industrial Emissions Directive, key legislation to help prevent and control pollution. Updated rules will help guide industrial investments necessary for Europe’s transformation towards a zero-pollution, competitive, climate-neutral economy by 2050. They aim to spur innovation, reward frontrunners, and help level the playing field on the EU market. The revision will help provide long-term investment certainty, with first new obligations on industry expected in the second half of the decade.

The revision builds on the overall approach of the existing Industrial Emissions Directive, which currently covers some 50,000 large industrial installations and intensive livestock farms in Europe. These installations need to comply to emissions conditions by applying activity-specific ‘Best Available Techniques’. These techniques are determined together by industry, national and Commission experts, and civil society. The new rules will cover more relevant sources of emissions, make permitting more effective, reduce administrative costs, increase transparency, and give more support to breakthrough technologies and other innovative approaches. 

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said: “By 2050, economic activity in the European Union should no longer pollute our air, water and the wider environment. Today’s proposals will enable important reductions of harmful emissions coming from industrial installations and Europe’s largest livestock farms. By modernising Europe’s industrial emissions framework now there is certainty about future rules to guide long-term investments, increase Europe’s energy and resource independence, and encourage innovation.”

The new rules will increase transparency and public participation in the permitting process. In addition, the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register will be transformed into an EU Industrial Emissions Portal where citizens will be able to access data on permits issued anywhere in Europe and gaining insight into polluting activities in their immediate surroundings in a simple way.

Find more here


NASA plays down Russia’s threat to halt International Space Station cooperation

According to Science|Business, “Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, spent Saturday morning threatening US, Canada and the EU that he will pull his country out of the International Space Station (ISS) if the west does not lift its sanctions on Russia. “I believe that the restoration of normal relations between partners in the International Space Station and other joint projects is possible only with the complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions,” Rogozin said on Twitter. The remarks were made despite him receiving letters from US, Canada and European space chiefs assuring him the sanctions will have no impact on the ISS. Rogozin said his proposals on the “on the timing of the completion of cooperation within the ISS” would be submitted to the Russian government “in the near future.” Despite the harsh comments, the US, which together with Russia holds the biggest stake in the ISS, seems to not take the threats to heart, and cooperation continues. Bill Nelson, head of NASA, downplayed Rogozin’s threat saying, “NASA is aware of recent comments regarding the ISS. US sanctions and export control measures continue to allow US-Russia civil space cooperation on the space station. The professional relationship between our international partners, astronauts and cosmonauts continues for the safety and mission of all on board the ISS.” Politicians in the US are also taking a cautious approach. The office of Don Beyer, chair of the space and aeronautics subcommittee in the House of Representatives, did not want to comment on Rogozin’s threats, saying they are not substantiated by any actions.”.

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 »