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In this Morning Brief, we open with the news that under the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility programme, Operational Digital Platforms will be set up to boost the digitalisation of European transport and energy networks, the news of the first EU Organic Awards taking place this year, an interesting column defending why now is the time to double down on the Green Deal to foster European strategic autonomy from Russia when it comes to fuel, an online event on Science Diplomacy and Emerging Technologies, 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:

EU ministers reinforce the need for common values and principles in international research and innovation

Yesterday in Marseille, European research ministers strongly supported the need to respect fundamental values and principles in international research and innovation, as set out in the EU’s Global Approach to research and innovation (R&I) and taking into account synergies with higher education. In this context, they unequivocally condemned the Russian illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine as an attack on the elementary values of freedom, democracy, sovereignty and respect for international order, on which academic and scientific freedom and cooperation are based.

The French Presidency presented the “Marseille Declaration”, setting out its proposals for a common understanding of the values and principles for international cooperation in research, innovation and higher education. These include issues such as freedom of scientific research, ethics and integrity, gender equality, and open science.

Press release on research and innovation cooperation with Russia.

Statement by Commissioner Gabriel on Russia

International cooperation in research and innovation

Video on global approach to research and innovation


Connecting Europe Facility: Operational Digital Platforms

Under the Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility programme, Operational Digital Platforms will be set up to boost the digitalisation of European transport and energy networks. The multiannual 2021-2025 Work Programme for implementing the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility – Digital (CEF Digital) was adopted on 16 December 2021. CEF Digital will contribute, among other objectives, to the digitalisation of transport and energy by supporting the implementation of Operational Digital Platforms (ODPs).

The aim of this topic is to contribute to achieving the EU’s environmental, energy and digitalisation targets by enabling a cyber-secure Internet of Energy and an optimised transport system along major European pathways. The support will be dedicated to retrofitting existing energy and transport infrastructures with a cross-border digital infrastructure.

Operating via communication networks, ODPs are physical and virtual ICT resources that support the flow, storage, processing and analysis of transport and energy data. The ODPs are expected to build on and integrate with existing and emerging European data, cloud and edge computing and connectivity infrastructures, in particular those supported in other parts of CEF Digital, Horizon Europe and the Digital Europe Programme.

Click here to find out more.


Russia’s war in Ukraine: Why doubling down on the Green Deal is the best strategy

“As EU leaders meet in Versailles, energy is set to be a key topic. But leaders must ensure that the decisions they make to break away from Russian energy push the EU in the direction of sustainability, argue European sustainability think tanks. The world has changed drastically in a matter of days, and in Europe, these changes are set to reshape the entire nature and ethos of the European project. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to take a heavy toll, the heads of state and government gathering in Versailles today and tomorrow (10-11 March) will need to take actions that support Ukraine while also shoring up the bloc’s own strategic autonomy from Moscow. The European Green Deal will be crucial for the success of this strategy.”. Don’t miss this EURACTIV column as members of the Think Sustainable Europe Network list why the European Green Deal is crucial for strategic autonomy from Russia.


EU Organic Awards 2022

Increases in organic farming, aquaculture and food contribute greatly to reductions in the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and anti-microbials and have positive effects on our climate, the environment, biodiversity and animal welfare. That is why organic production has been identified as playing a key role in the achievement of the objectives of the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy and the Biodiversity strategy. For this reason, the Commission has defined a target of 25% of EU agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 and a significant increase in organic aquaculture.

In support of that target, the Commission has adopted the Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production in March 2021. This Action Plan takes the approach that, in order to stimulate organic production, consumer demand for organic products should grow. This requires, amongst other things, increased public awareness of the characteristics and benefits of organic production.

For this purpose, the Action Plan includes the launch of annual awards recognising excellence in the organic value chain. They aim to reward the best and most innovative organic actors, contributing to the reduction of agriculture’s impact on the environment and climate, and to the achievement of EU Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies. It will be awarded for the first time in 2022.

Click here to find out more about how to apply, the selection criteria and the timeline..


EU leaders seek escape route from Russian fossil fuels

According to EURACTIV, “European Union leaders will tackle ways to wean themselves off Russian fossil fuels on Thursday (10 March) and debate how quickly to ditch their key supplier, with countries split over whether to sanction oil and gas imports as Moscow wages war in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted Brussels to unveil plans this week to reduce reliance on Europe’s top gas supplier this year and end it within the decade. How to implement those plans, not to mention how to finance them, will be a key topic under discussion at a two-day summit in Versailles, France. A draft of the summit statement, seen by EURACTIV, would agree to phase out the EU’s dependency on imports of Russian gas, oil and coal, including by ramping up liquefied natural gas imports and speeding up deployment of renewable energy. It did not set a date for the phase-out.”.


Science Diplomacy and Emerging Technologies – Online Event

The AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy published a special issue of Science & Diplomacy in February 2022 that explores the intersection of emerging technologies and diplomacy, available here. The pieces provide a current snapshot of the landscape, reflecting individual experiences, offering an expansive definition of emerging technologies, and suggesting roles for science diplomacy. Articles and perspectives focus on topics ranging from biosecurity and quantum computing to genetic privacy.

To foster discussion about a role for science diplomacy in responding to the challenges and opportunities posed by emerging technologies, Science & Diplomacy is organizing a virtual event featuring the following authors from selected pieces included in this issue.

Click here to find out more about the speakers and to register for the Zoom webinar taking place March 16th.


505 proposals submitted for the 2022 calls on healthy food, climate action and resilient communities

Evaluations for these proposals are starting now, and the successful consortia will be informed in May 2022. In response to the five calls for proposals, applicants submitted 505 proposals by the deadline of 23 February. The available indicative budget for the five calls is €380,5 million.

Applicants were asked to explain how their research could contribute to tackling big EU challenges related with making food systems more healthy and environmentally friendly, reducing climate change impacts in land and water, and ensuring more sustainable rural, coastal and urban communities.

The funded research projects should foster among others: food waste prevention, animal welfare, plant health, forest restoration, better labour conditions, and climate-sensitive use of natural resources.

Click here to find out more about the next steps.

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