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In this Morning Brief, we open with a publication from EARTO as research and technology organisations outline ideas for new EU innovation policies, the Just Transition Platform Meeting kicked off its fifth edition today and registrations are still open, INESC-ID presents a new game developed within the Artificial Intelligence for People and Society Research Area, the EU launched an Ukrainian research aid scheme as it boosts Horizon Europe budget, an interesting piece on the European Health Data Space, 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:

Research and technology organisations outline ideas for new EU innovation policy

The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO) has published a set of recommendations for boosting EU innovation capacity, as the European Commission gathers ideas to feed into the new innovation agenda. The paper highlights the role of technology infrastructures in testing, piloting and scaling up innovations and stresses the need for an EU strategy governing them, among other measures. 

The recommendations include ideas for helping companies scale-up, improving policy frameworks to benefit innovation, strengthening innovation ecosystems, bridging innovation gaps between different regions and developing skills. EARTO expressed overall support for the new agenda, highlighting its role in ensuring EU’s strategic autonomy. “In the current geopolitical context where Europe find itself today, such a new EU Innovation Agenda has to be instrumental in ensuring EU open strategic autonomy in key advanced technologies necessary for the green and digital transitions,” the paper said.

Read it here.


Kick-off of the fifth edition of the Just Transition Platform Meeting

The fifth edition of the Just Transition Platform Meeting gets under way today, hosted by the European Commission. In an online format, the 3-day meeting will gather representatives from coal, peat and shale oil and carbon-intensive regions around the EU to discuss the impact of the green transition on the most affected communities and how they can benefit from the transition, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal. Stakeholders will discuss available EU support and will exchange good practices on how to make best use of the different instruments that form the Just Transition Mechanism.

The transition towards a climate-neutral economy shall leave no one behind. This year’s edition will focus on challenges for coal and carbon-intensive regions, on how to help workers and local communities and on the support to youth and entrepreneurship. The event will also update participants on the state of play of the Just Transition Fund programming negotiations and the Territorial Just Transition Plans.

The first day sees presentations from three Commissioners – Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, addressing the opening session; in the afternoon session, Commissioner for cohesion and reforms, Elisa Ferreira, will be joined by Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, in a debate with youth representatives that will set the tone for the closing of the conference.

The Just Transition Platform offers EU countries and regions comprehensive technical and advisory support as a single access point and helpdesk.

Registration to the meeting remains open here.


EU start-ups in limbo as Commission dithers over European Innovation Council equity fund

According to Science|Business, “The European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Accelerator funding for start-ups continues to be held up as the Commission’s directorates fight over how to manage the new equity fund. The delays are affecting companies selected to receive ‘blended finance’ – a mix of grant and equity funding – following the June cut-off date last year, the first under Horizon Europe. But the impact may soon be felt by those next in line, which were selected for funding following the October cut-off. A week ago companies that applied last year were told in an official letter seen by Science|Business that the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA), the EU agency managing the grant, “cannot provide you with a firm date for the signature of your contract.” The cause of the delay is a continuing disagreement over the management of the EIC fund, which gives out the equity portion of the blended finance, a new type of Horizon Europe funding for companies. Back in February, the Commission indicated it would switch management of the fund to the European Investment Bank, unlocking the funding. But equity money is yet to start flowing, while those companies that applied only for grant financing had signed their agreements by April. The aim of the EIC is to fund promising EU start-ups to scale up new products: leaving them in financial limbo is having the opposite effect. “The delays in the implementation of the EIC Accelerator are devastating to the start-ups involved and the Commission is gambling away its credibility in the European start-up scene,” Christian Ehler MEP, who was instrumental in shaping the new EIC programme, told Science|Business. Ehler said the Parliament could move to take away funding from the EIC’s flagship start-up programme, which is to receive around €7 billion in funding under Horizon Europe, if the problems persist.”.


INESC-ID: Geometry Friends – join the competition!

Geometry Friends is a 2-player cooperative puzzle-platformer game, developed within the Artificial Intelligence for People and Society (AIPS) Research Area at INESC-ID, where two players control two characters — a circle and a rectangle — with distinct characteristics, that try to collect some diamonds in a set of levels as fast as possible. The game promotes collaboration between the two players and presents challenging coordinated control of the characters in a simulated physics environment. If you’re curious, you can see two agents in action here.

Geometry Friends raises interesting problems for Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents. For example, to successfully solve a Geometry Friends level, players need to: deal with coordination at different layers, from motion control (e.g. achieving perfect timing) to level resolution (e.g. devising shared plans); deal with limited actuation situated in a simulated physics environment (with gravity and friction); solve platform (skill) based puzzles, which involves discovering the proper order to collect the diamonds and identifying the points where collaboration is needed; do all the above in real-time!

The competition is held at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI/ECAI’2022) and the IEEE Conference on Games (CoG’2022).

Find out more here


Research Fund for Coal and Steel: Applicants request more than €90 million in EU funding from new ‘Big Ticket’ calls

The EU’s Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) has received 15 project proposals in response to the first “Big Tickets” calls for proposals. These will be held annually in addition to the traditional, annual RFCS calls.

The RFCS provides EU funding for high quality research, pilot, and demonstration projects, which support the competitiveness, and sustainability of future low-emission industries in line with the European Green Deal.

The “Big Tickets” calls for proposals target large-scale projects, at high technology readiness levels, to support the necessary technology-to-market transitions and transformation. This will drive clean steelmaking and help with a sustainable transition of the coal regions during the phase out of coal industry, in line with the Just Transition.

Calls for proposals closed on 3 May 2022 and the proposals will be evaluated by independent external experts in May and June 2022. The selection results will be announced in September-October 2022.

Read more here.


EU launches Ukrainian research aid scheme as it boosts Horizon Europe budget

According to Science|Business, “The European Commission officially launched a €25 million direct aid package of Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) grants for researchers from Ukraine, as it announced a €562 million increase for the Horizon Europe budget in 2022. The Commission expects the demand for research grants from Ukrainian scholars to increase in the coming months. As the Russian invasion continues, researchers who are displaced will be able to use EU funds to continue their research in member states or countries associated to Horizon Europe. Researchers will also be allowed to use the money to re-establish themselves in Ukraine and help strengthen the country’s research and innovation sectors. In addition, they will be able to apply for family allowances. The €25 million for the MSCA4Ukraine fellowships will be awarded to a consortium of 10 organisations, including Scholars at Risk Europe, Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, European University Association, Jagellonian University, University of Oslo, University of Gothenburg, French national PAUSE programme, the Dutch foundation for refugee students UAF, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Scholz CTC GmbH. The grant was allocated directly, without the institutions in the consortium having to compete for the money.”.


Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking: Publication of the Work Programme and Info day

Significant investments have been made in the field of poverty-related and emerging infectious diseases over the last years, thanks to global efforts, including by the EU. However, the burden remains high, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the global and devastating impact that infectious diseases can have. The Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking (GH EDCTP3 JU) will deliver new solutions for reducing the burden of infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, and strengthen research capacities to prepare and respond to re-emerging infectious diseases in this region and across the world.

The event will provide potential applicants with specific information on the new Global Health EDCTP3 Work Programme calls, funding opportunities and timelines. The Commission invites researchers and innovators as well as citizens and all interested stakeholders to take part in the Info Day.

Read more here.

Global health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking info day.


One Year of Open Research Europe: Contributor experiences and next steps

In this webinar, the expert panel Kelly Woods (Senior Associate Publisher at Open Research Europe), Katalin Solymosi (Community Gateway Advisor, Cellular Biology), Toma Susi (Scientific Advisory Board member), Emma Norris (Community Gateway Advisor, Psychology), Paul Cairney (Author & Community Gateway Advisor, Political Science), Johann-Mattis List (Reviewer) discuss the key milestones of Open Research Europe from the past 12 months, their experiences, and future expectations for the Platform.

Register now to book your place at the webinar, where you will:

– Get to know Open Research Europe;

– Hear first-hand experience from a selected panel of contributors;

– Learn about the opportunities for you and the benefits of publishing with Open Research Europe;

– Find out about upcoming plans for the Platform;

– Ask your questions, share your feedback and make suggestions for improving Open Research Europe.

This webinar is perfect for researchers from any field or career stage who wish to learn more about the Open Research Europe Platform.

Register here!


The Ecosystem: Can start-ups thrive in the European Health Data Space

According to Science|Business, “Proposals to build a European Health Data Space (EHDS https://ec.europa.eu/health/ehealth-digital-health-and-care/european-health-data-space_en) have received a warm welcome from digital health start-ups, which are frustrated by obstacles to scaling-up within Europe. If the plan succeeds in harmonising electronic health data between EU member states, it will already have done these entrepreneurs a huge favour. “Harmonising Europe-wide processes for sharing and accessing health data is the cornerstone for digital health start-up innovation,” said Benedikt Blomeyer, EU policy director at Allied for Startups, a Brussels lobby group that has taken a close interest in the proposals. “The EHDS has the opportunity to become the runway for start-ups to scale-up in the EU once, not 27 times.” But gaps and uncertainties in the proposals may yet put a dent in the innovation gains foreseen by the Commission. For example, who will make reluctant healthcare providers release their data? And who will pay the costs of setting the data free? The headline aim of the EHDS is to make electronic health data more accessible across the EU. This will give patients full control over their health records, so that they can get better healthcare at home and abroad. It will also create a framework for the secondary use of electronic health data, under strict security and privacy conditions.”.


The Atlantic Testing Platform for Maritime Robotics (ATLANTIS) – Open Call

The ATLANTIS project aims to establish a pioneer pilot infrastructure capable of demonstrating key enabling robotic technologies for inspection and maintenance of offshore wind farms. This large-scale pilot “ATLANTIS Test Centre” will be deployed in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, to capture the weather and sea state conditions of the Atlantic Ocean.

The ATLANTIS project exposes the urgency in guarantee an early access by medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), R&D institutions or energy operators to a pilot infrastructure for validating innovative and technological solutions with high potential to leverage key market sectors and the blue growth.

An Open Call is organized for robotic technology developers to use the Coastal Testbed of the ATLANTIS Test Centre.

Check the info below for more details and submit your application via email or this page.


Conference on Industrial Technologies IndTech 2022

European Industry is currently facing a growing number of challenges and today’s practices will not provide a sustainable solution. The two main trends of Green and Digital transformation require a strategic call for action for all individual companies, but more and more also between industries.

Europe needs to react and provide sufficient guidance on the European scale to maintain the competitivity of European industry and to highlight and promote a successful transformation, which could be further replicated across all industries and company sizes. Therefore, innovation at multiple levels is no longer voluntary; it is an obligation for us all.

IndTech2022 is an impetus towards improving visibility of industrial technologies, identifying policy options and priorities, sharing of information and comparison of points of views, as well as a space for networking and finding common goals among industry stakeholders.

Click here to register and for more information!


LEAK: EU Commission considering higher renewable energy target for 2030

According to EURACTIV, “The European Commission is looking to increase the EU’s renewable energy target for 2030 as part of plans due next week, which also include faster permitting rules for new projects and a solar strategy that could make rooftop solar mandatory for all new buildings, according to leaked proposals seen by EURACTIV. The proposals are expected to be published on 18 May as part of EU plans to reduce dependence on Russian energy following the invasion of Ukraine. Speeding up the transition to renewable energy will reduce emissions and Europe’s dependency on energy imports as well as provide affordable energy prices to EU citizens and businesses, according to the draft obtained by EURACTIV. Given the pressing need to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, the EU renewable energy target should be increased, it continues. The new target is not decided yet, with the new percentage showing as “XX” between squared brackets in the proposal, which would amend the EU’s renewable energy directive. The European Commission last year already proposed raising the EU’s renewable energy target to 40% by 2030, up from 32% currently. The proposal was part of a package of climate legislation tabled in July, which aims to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% before the end of the decade. But with the war in Ukraine, the Commission is considering ways to accelerate those plans. In March, it called on the European Parliament and EU countries to consider “higher or earlier targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency” as they debate the July package of proposals, dubbed ‘Fit for 55’. In the European Parliament, there is already strong support for increasing the renewables target to 45% by 2030. And there are also moves among some EU governments to support increased ambition on renewables, although it is less clear whether there is a majority among them to back this.”.

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