Welcome to today’s Morning Brief. The Morning Brief newsletter is only available to INESC staff and affiliated researchers upon subscription (weekly or daily), after creating an account in the Private Area of the HUB website. To do so, click the log-in icon on the top-right corner of this website.

Happy International Women’s Day! In this Morning Brief we present the newly released European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy, how to tackle gender equality in R&I. We also present a synergy info pack by CORDIS on restoring oceans and waters, ideas for a post-COVID-19 society, news regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 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:

Restore our ocean and waters: a synergy info pack by CORDIS

The health of Europe’s ocean and waters is vital to its economic, social and ecological well-being. The EU boasts 68 000 km of coastline – more than Russia and the United States combined – and the area of water under EU jurisdiction is greater than its land area. However, marine and freshwater ecosystems are rapidly degrading, and climate change will increase the frequency and severity of droughts, flooding and extreme weather, threatening the safety and livelihood of millions of Europeans. This Synergy Info Pack showcases 34 research projects funded through the complementary programmes of Horizon 2020 (including SME Instrument), LIFE and EMFF. The groundbreaking work of these researchers is supporting the development of the technical, social, governance innovation and business models needed to secure the restoration of aquatic ecosystems and the development of a sustainable, resilient and climate-neutral blue economy. Among them are projects that foster a digital ocean and water knowledge system that builds on existing European infrastructures and services including Copernicus, EMODnet, Destination Earth, and European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs). This will be enhanced by future research funded through the next Work Programmes to achieve the objectives of the Mission Ocean and Waters. Download it here.


Many European research councils and RTOs make public their positions on Ukraine war and on research

Portugal has received 1,670 requests for temporary protection since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) revealed to Lusa on Monday and reported by EurActiv. But what about a national and institutional positions on research and innovation specific issues? So far, to the best of our knowledge, in Portugal there is none. The HUB will promote this position from today in collaboration with the INESC Brussels HUB Management Committee. Many research councils across Europe (see for example the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research or the Swiss National Science Foundation, but also Science Europe, who represents most research councils in Europe) published specific support measures for scientists in and from Ukraine, reconsidered their relations with Russian counterparts and basically condemned violence and the war. European RTO’s did the same and a big number of RTOs, including Portugal’s INL, have made their positions clear (from VTT’s donations to UNICEF campaigns to RISE suspension of cooperation with Russia or Poland’s job offers to Ukrainians, among others – check the full list in the EARTO website). Moreover, the European University Association actually suspended yesterday the membership of 12 Russian universities following the signature by their rectors of a statement (in Russian) supporting the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.


The missing link of science in policy

In an opinion article in the Frontiers website, Ruth Morgan, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at University College London considers that If one million scientists (approximately 10% of the world’s active science population in public service) committed two hours per week to science engagement with and for society (about 5% of their working time), this would create approximately 100 million hours/year dedicated to achieving science that engages meaningfully with policy and global decision makers. Those hours could catalyse a global butterfly effect that could carry into the future. Read the full argument here.


Brazil joins CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research

According to Agência Brazil and LIP – Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental e de Partículas, Brazil may be the first nation in the Americas and the third non-European country to become an associate member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), one of the world’s biggest research laboratory for particle physics. Comprising 23 country members and ten associates, the organization operates the largest particle accelerator on the globe, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The agreement was signed Thursday (Mar. 3) by Brazil’s Minister of Science and Technology Marcos Pontes in Geneva, Switzerland, and organization Director Fabiola Gianotti, in a ceremony attended by Brazil’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Tovar da Silva Nunes. Even though the deal has been inked, the country’s admission still pends ratification by the National Congress before Brazil becomes a member.

The move comes as acknowledgment to the excellence of Brazilian science, the Science Ministry stated. Brazil’s new status will give the nation’s researchers and companies access to the accelerator and other CERN areas, including markets with bids to the tune of $500 million a year.

The partnership had been an aspiration of companies, universities, and the scientific community and should bring a large number of advantages to Brazil. In addition to research and access to the equipment in Geneva, it should make it possible for Brazilian companies to act as suppliers for the organization and join research on new technology and solutions, including the integration of CERN to Sírius, Brazil’s particle accelerator.

On September 24, 2021, the board of the European Organization for Nuclear Research announced Brazil had been accepted as an associate member. Since then, the Brazilian government joined forces with the organization to put together the admission term and formalize the country’s association.


The pandemic two years on – what consequences for international cooperation?

The European University Association (EUA) presents a series of webinars addressing some of the major trends in international cooperation, European science policy and global higher education policy. Each webinar on this three-part series will last an hour and will include an opportunity for Q&A. Next session is on the 24 March, 14.00 – 15.00 CET and is dedicated to the pandemic consequences for international cooperation.

Two years ago, the pandemic hit Europe and the world and halted most physical travel. At the same time it also meant expansion and innovation in online, non-presential learning and demonstrated how global data sharing can make science respond quickly. What were the direct effects on universities and what does the future look like – will we build back better or go back to the old normal? This webinar will look at evidence of the impact of the pandemic as a basis for a discussion about the future.


  • Giorgio Marinoni, Manager, HE and Internationalization Policy and Projects, International Association of Universities: The global impact of the pandemic
  • Ulrich Grothus, President, Academic Cooperation Association: The impact of the pandemic on mobility
  • Inge Van Nieuwerburgh, Coordinator Scholarly Communication, Ghent University: Did the pandemic help Open Science?

A recording of the webinar will be available on the EUA YouTube Channel.

Related to this webinar series, EUA orgnised another one in 2021 entitled: “A new world? Universities in changing international relations”. It consisted of three webinars, which can be seen on the EUA Youtube playlist dedicated to this webinar series.


Exploring transformative policy imaginaries for a sustainable Post-COVID society

In a futures analysis perspective, a new paper has been published at Elsevier’s Journal for Cleaner Production that emphasises de-growth. This is a concept that I started hearing about in the early 2000s and, to be honest, thought it was utopic. Not anymore, and if you want to understand it, read the paper, which address the following issues:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has reinvigorated public imaginaries of a more sustainable post-pandemic future;
  • The imaginary of green growth still prevails in the three analyzed policy packages, particularly in the European Green Deal despite the COVID-19 shock;
  • Two groups of imaginaries in response to the pandemic, sustainability and climate change could be identified: “business as usual” and “moderated degrowth”;
  • Alternative imaginaries need to be considered that are more conductive towards a degrowth blueprint;

And listen to the latest podcast Ecosofia X in Expresso.


INOV’s Communication and Cybersecurity Director Interview on Cyberattacks

Nelson Escravana, director of Communications and Cybersecurity at INOV was interviewed by VISÃO, a Portuguese weekly publication, on the wave of cyberattacks in the last few days and how to minimise the risk of damage when using technology.

Click here to read the interview (PT only).


Tackling gender equality in R&I

Understanding how gender plays a vital role in research and innovation allows us to address the diverse needs of citizens of the European Union. It enhances the societal relevance of the knowledge, technologies and innovations produced and contributes to the production of greater goods and services.

In light of International Women’s Day, celebrated today, the European Executive Research Agency (REA), is highlighting how the EU tackles gender inequalities, clarifies common misconceptions around gender related terminology and helps prospective applicants for Horizon Europe funding.

Don’t miss it!


European University Association suspends Russian members over pro-war statement

According to Science|Business, “The European University Association (EUA) has suspended 12 Russian universities whose rectors signed a statement supporting president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and parroting the Kremlin’s justification for the assault. Such a forceful pro-war statement from dozens of Russian rectors, released at the end of last week, has shocked even dovish voices in Europe who want to maintain some scientific ties with Russia. In their statement, the Russian rectors say it is “very important” to support the country’s army and president, and state that it is their “fundamental duty” to “teach our students to be patriotic and to strive to help their motherland.” In response, the EUA today suspended 12 Russian members, saying the statement is “diametrically opposed” to the European values they committed to when joining the association.”


European Regions for Smart Communities Summit 2022

The European Regions for Smart Communities Summit will be the celebration of the success and achievements from cooperation across Smart Communities and an opportunity for mutually commit to share challenges and smart solutions. It will gather local and regional leaders from across Europe to discuss how to involve the citizens and stakeholders in co-promoting smarter small cities, towns, villages and regions for a better tomorrow, as well as key-speakers from European Institutions.

The summit features sessions, forum, dialogs, workshops, labs, cultural moments and activities aimed at enhancing the role of regional and urban hubs of Smart Communities in achieving the green, blue and bright digital transformation.

Taking place between May 9th and May 14th in Évora and online, click here to find out more about the agenda and how you can register!


How Europe can reduce its dependence on fossil gas

In this column for EURACTIV authored by Marta Lovisolo, policy advisor at Bellona Europa, she states “The need for renewables is now widely recognised and more pressing than ever. The current geopolitical situation, with an outright war at the gates of the European Union, makes Europe once again face reality: we are dependent on fossil fuels and this is a threat. A short-term threat to energy security and a long-term threat to our climate. The need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels is now clear to most, and the solution is on everyone’s lips: renewables. The European Union is at this very moment debating the policies that will shape the energy future of Europe. The right decisions need to be taken now, like ensuring additional renewables are generated to meet the needs of hydrogen production. This will be a litmus test for the sincerity of our policymakers’ announced intentions.”


European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy

Although inequalities still exist, the EU has made significant progress in gender equality over the last decades. This is the result of:

  • Equal treatment legislation;
  • Gender mainstreaming, integration of the gender perspective into all other policies;
  • Specific measures for the advancement of women.

Encouraging trends are the higher number of women in the labour market and their progress in securing better education and training.

However, gender gaps remain and in the labour market women are still over-represented in lower paid sectors and under-represented in decision-making positions.

Click here to read the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2024 delivering on the von der Leyen Commission’s commitment to achieve a Union of Equality.


Ukraine war could further disrupt semiconductor production

“Russia’s war against Ukraine, which began with a military attack on 24 February, is likely to have many side effects in the medium to long term for the semiconductor industry, a top priority for Brussels’ digital sovereignty. The production of neon, palladium, and C4F6, three materials crucial for microchips, could be impacted by the situation, the consultancy firm Techcet has said. “These materials are vital to semiconductor processing and irreplaceable,” Technet’s analysts told EURACTIV. Neon, for example, is a gas that is essential to the operation of lasers for engraving chips and is used almost exclusively for this purpose. It is present in tiny quantities in the air and needs to be processed in huge volumes. Russia produces a lot of neon because it has a large steel industry which requires a lot of oxygen. The country then sends it to Ukraine, where the neon is extracted and purified for export. At least, that was the case before the invasion. “If the current situation escalates, US chipmakers may suffer material supply interruptions,” Techcet president Lita Shon-Roy warned at the start of February when tensions were already high. The US depend almost exclusively on the Ukraine-Russia duo for its neon needs.”  


Reading suggestion: The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine – Serhii Plokhy

As to understand we need to be well informed, not only of current news but of the history and context, MEP Isabel Estrada Carvalhais has published in social networks a reading suggestion we are keen to accompany, you can check it here for example. It is the book The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy. You can also read a short review in Foreign Affairs magazine or, especially for those who use the Goodreads app, check the readers reviews here.

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