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In today's Morning Brief:

€134 million euros for cybersecurity in 2021 and 2022

According to a Science Business analysis of a report by an EC expert group, the European Commission is to allocate a total of €134.8 million for research to improve cybersecurity in 2021 and 2022, as it seeks to build a more cohesive cross-border cyber defence strategy. The Horizon Europe draft work programme outlines four topics for this year to achieve the EU’s cybersecurity objectives: recovery and business continuity after an attack; improved security in open-source hardware for connected devices; artificial intelligence; and preserving privacy for cross-border computation. The Commission is planning to fund 16 projects this year, with a budget of €67.5 million. In 2022, another €67.3 million will go to projects aimed at monitoring and responding to digital threats, developing methodologies and tools to test the security of hardware and software, transitioning to quantum-resistant cryptography, and creating tools used for certification of ICT products, services and processes.


Manifesto for a Rural European Innovation Area backed by Commissioner Gabryel

The European Commission has given political backing to a grassroots manifesto for a Rural European Innovation Area, as it prepares for the launch of a long-term strategy for the countryside in June.

“We need to empower innovation stakeholders in rural areas, so that local players can unlock the innovation and connectedness potential,” Mariya Gabriel, EU research commissioner told the launch of the manifesto. “I’m happy to endorse the new platform,” she said.

The manifesto calls on entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and other public and private stakeholders in Europe to put rural innovation on the EU policy agenda. The Rural European Innovation Area brings together 70 partners from 17 countries and is being coordinated by the University of Salamanca.  They call for the establishment of accelerators and incubators in partnership with universities to forge rural innovation networks across Europe.


Ageing and Common Agricultural Policies

The Commission has released the report “Evaluation of the impact of the CAP on generational renewal, local development and jobs in rural areas”. According to the report, ageing of Europe’s farmers remains a major challenge in rural areas, with farm managers over 65 outnumbering  3 to 1 the farm managers under 40. The CAP on its own has revealed to be insufficient to address main entry barriers into farming, such as access to land and access to capital, and although the measures included in the CAP are supporting the economic sustainability of young farmers, the full potential of such measures is not exploited. The need to improve the impact of CAP generational renewal measures will be reflected in the future CAP Strategic Plan.


Data protections rules ‘harming EU leadership’ in health research

Europe’s status as a health research leader “is at risk” because of barriers to sharing data introduced by the bloc’s data protection rules, a joint report by three academy networks says. It estimates that more than 5,000 international health projects were affected by GDPR requirements in 2019 alone. The joint study comes from three academy networks, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council and the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM).


Webinar on patent pools

The DG GROW of the European Commission will host a webinar on how to make patent pools work for both standard essential patent (SEP) holders  and licensees. The focus of the webinar will be on the advantages and challenges of patent pools especially in the sectors of the Internet of Things. This initiative is part of the 2020 IP Action Plan, as it aims at exploring ways to improve transparency and predictability in the licensing of SEPs for the digital transformation of Europe’s industry. The webinar will take place on April 20th from 14.30 to 17.30 CEST: registrations for participants are open here until April 16th.


Data 4 Healthy Recovery Hackathon

The deadline to apply to participate in the Data 4 Healthy Recovery Hackathon is April 15th, 4 pm GMT. The event, that will take place from June 18th to 20th, will focus on hacking smart health solutions to help Europe recover from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger and faster and to contribute to a more resilient and innovative European industry. The challenges that the hackathon participants are invited to address include personalised predictive medicine, telemedicine, health monitoring and remote care, improved diagnostics, data-driven health, safety of medical data. The hackathon will be preceded by a number of matchmaking sessions to match challenge partners and brainstorm innovative solutions to the challenges. All the information on the event and how to register can be found here.


Global taxes and economic growth

As IMF revised this year’s growth forecast for the eurozone up to 4.4 percent of economic output, the Biden administration wants the world’s largest 100 companies — those with revenues of at least $20 billion — to pay into countries’ coffers wherever they sell their goods or services, according to proposals sent to more than 130 governments involved in ongoing tax talks.


Deep-dive: Future of green hydrogen in Europe

“2021 will be the year in which the EU and its member states take important decisions that will largely determine further deployment of hydrogen in our continent,” said Bas van ‘t Wout, Dutch minister of economic affairs and climate policy, speaking at conference on hydrogen organised by the Portuguese Council Presidency, and reported by Science Business. Hydrogen is seen as a critical component of greening Europe’s energy market and delivering on the aim of becoming the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. While renewable electricity will lead the way, hydrogen is expected to replace natural gas in industries that cannot be easily electrified, such as steel production and aviation. In 2050, the gas could make up as much as 23% of the EU energy mix. This week, the Hydrogen Europe association, representative of industry and research entities involved in hydrogen and fuel cells field, launched the Hydrogen Act proposal, encompassing he Hydrogen Infrastructure Act and the Hydrogen Market Act (see table below).

The report sets a concrete timescale that is best visible in the following figure:

You can download the full report here.

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