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.

In this Morning Brief, we bring you an exciting opportunity with a webinar powered by INESC TEC on the integration of offshore renewable energy technologies, news on a new digital tool by the EU that helps nations monitor their resilience, the EU is going to also increase cooperation on rare diseases under the French Presidency, 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:

Webinar: Integration of offshore renewable energy technologies

The eleventh “Power and Energy Webinar Series”, powered by INESC TEC, will be organised Thursday December 16, at 11 am (WEST), under the motto “Integration of offshore renewable energy technologies”.

Those interested in participating in the session should register here. After completing the form available on the website (“participate” section) the participants will receive, closer to the session, an email from the organisation with the access credentials.

Call for additional €4B investment in European research infrastructures

Europe needs to build eleven new international research labs at a cost of €4.16 billion, according to the latest roadmap from the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), published today, as the European Commission called for a review of funding sources for the shared facilities.

The 11 research infrastructures listed in the roadmap would cost €380 million on average, a steep increase from previous plans. The average cost of a new lab in the 2018 roadmap was €112 million, while in 2016 it was €148 million.

As the representative of Europe’s large research labs, ESFRI periodically publishes a roadmap setting out what new, shared facilities are required to stay at the leading edge of science. Over the past 20 years, the EU has invested €20 billion in research infrastructures pitched in these roadmaps. If the 11 labs proposed in the latest document were to be built, that will rise to €24 billion.

In addition to cash, most projects on the new roadmap also require increased political commitment. On average, seven governments and institutions from 14 countries are backing each proposed lab.

Read more here.

New digital tool helps EU countries monitor their resilience

The European Commission is launching an interactive website to navigate the resilience dashboards, a set of indicators and information on resilience in Member States and non-EU countries. This will further help EU countries identify their strengths and vulnerabilities when it comes to navigating the green and digital transitions, facing challenges and coping with potential shocks.

With a wide-ranging set of indicators, the dashboards give policymakers the information they need to help build stronger and more resilient economies and societies. The dashboards provide a holistic picture that spans four dimensions: social and economic, green, digital, and geopolitical.

By focusing on multiple dimensions and their interlinkages, the dashboards expand on existing tools that tend to be sectoral or focus on single policy fields.

Find out more here.

EU set to increase cooperation on rare diseases

The EU is to up its ambition in tackling rare diseases, with France – as a long term champion of EU cooperation in this area of unmet medical need – due to put the topic on the agenda of its upcoming presidency of the Council.

With 30 million patients in the bloc and treatments available for only 6% of the diseases, the issue has been on the EU agenda for years. In 2009, the member states adopted policy recommendations initiating new efforts, while the European Commission has invested €1.8 billion in research in the last 14 years. Yet, patients and their families continue to have difficulties getting a diagnosis and accessing appropriate health services.

Experts and the European Parliament say it’s high time for the EU to come up with a new action plan for jointly tackling the burden of rare diseases. “These diseases can only be effectively tackled at the European level. It is therefore necessary to make the European plan for rare diseases a priority to be included in the context of the European Health Union,” said Alessandra Moretti MEP in a recent debate at the European Parliament.

Read more here.

US to push ‘democracy-affirming technology’ with prizes and research projects

The US is set to fund prizes, challenges and research projects to create so-called “democracy affirming technologies” that allow open societies to reap the benefits of innovation without sacrificing privacy or accountability. The initiative will be launched this week at the virtual Summit for Democracy, a meeting of 111 invited countries convened by president Joe Biden in an attempt to “renew” democracy.

Examples of democracy affirming technologies include methods of machine learning that respect the privacy of individuals, or alternatives to what the US sees as the compulsory genomic surveillance of populations.

“We’re really interested in ways we could spur innovation and pioneer a new class of technologies,” Tarun Chhabra, senior director for technology and national security of the US National Security Council told the virtual conference, ‘Technology in and for Society’, hosted by the OECD. These technologies should “advance the values of privacy, transparency, accountability and access to information” he said, setting out the objectives of the programme on Monday, in advance of the Summit on 9 and 10 December. The US wants to set up prizes, challenges and pilot projects “with likeminded countries” in order to “build a future where we can really accelerate the development of technologies,” Chhabra said.

Read more here.

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