Preparing INESC for ERC

Preparing an institution for ERC is something that takes time, effort and investment. The most successful institutions in Europe, year after year, are those that developed internal institutional capacity, dedicate human resources to support applicants to know hot to better prepare themselves for future calls and help from the idea generation process up to the interview phase. This is what the HUB ERC Excellence Programme will be all about. More details about this in the coming days. Until then, check these short ERC Classes, made available by ERC itself:

1.       Step by step to the ERC application process

2.       How to get started with your ERC proposal

3.       How to write part 1 of your ERC proposal

4.       How to write part 2 of your ERC proposal

5.       How do we evaluate your ERC proposal

6.       How to prepare for your ERC interview

This is a good starting point and all information about this programme is crucial to start shaping up our capacity to change the 0% success rate so far across all INESCs.


EARTO Annual Conference

As foreseeable, the EARTO Annual Conference has been a celebration of RTOs role in Europe, not only as spearheads of the research and innovation agenda of the EU, but also as key instruments of the quick response to the pandemic and as future protagonists of the economic recovery. RTO representatives were made able to participate through pre-recorded videos: among them, the CEO of INESC TEC, Joao Claro, intervened in the panel on technological infrastructures. The discussion throughout the event touched on crucial topics of the future of RTOs: the digital and green transition, the development of technological infrastructures, the technological sovereignty, and above all the necessity of international and interorganisational collaboration to achieve those goals.


Agreement on Connecting Europe Facility

The European Parliament and the Council have reached an agreement on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for € 33.7 billion. The funding, although less conspicuous than what had been proposed by the Commission in 2018, will support the goals set up by the Green Deal and the Digital Decade, by financing the transition to a smart and sustainable mobility system. The CEF promises to facilitate the deployment of innovative, secure, and sustainable cross-border digital infrastructures, and to enhance the interoperability of networks across borders and cross-border energy cooperation. Here is a good media article with further details on this too.


Evidence and science in policy

In the early hours of Friday, we participated in the Euractiv debate “Knowledge, science, democracy: what is the role of evidence in policy and society?”. Some of the considerations brought up by EC representatives are relevant to understand the direction that the Commission is setting for RTOs and all R&I institutions. Despina Spanou, from the cabinet Schinas, for instance, called for “more collaboration in science”, and encouraged the establishment of interdisciplinary R&I hubs. From DG RTD, Anna Panagopoulou highlighted the need to connect research and society, by reinforcing the trust of citizens towards science, which must be accomplished through increasing scientific literacy and understanding in society, and a goal that should be reflected in the projects benefitting from the Horizon Europe funding.


Views on GEP developing from GEECCO and TARGET

Last Thursday, we watched the conference co-organised by GEECCO (Gender Equality in Engineering through Communication and Commitment) and TARGET (Gender Target). The speakers brought their experience with creating and implementing Gender Equality Plans with RPOs and RFOs, and conveyed some key messages regarding gender criteria in STEM that will be useful to INESCs, too. Firstly, that a Gender plan is not only about numbers and “fixing” them: it is also about changing the institutional culture and changing the way knowledge is transmitted within and by the institution. This structural change needs several factors: the resources – both financial and human –, the time for the transformations to take place, the support of the management, and the commitment of the internal “community of practice”. The process can have a great impact on the organisation, both in terms of networking with other foreign RTOs involved in similar activities, and in terms of increasing the institution’s public image as a modern employer that values mutual respect and diversity.

The HUB will continue to support the INESC institutes with planning all necessary actions to reach their gender equality goals.


Germany to create two new health research centres

According to Science Business, Germany is set to establish two new research centres for mental health and children’s health, with the ministry for education and research investing 500,000 euros in each centre. The new centres, which act as research networks for specific health issues, will aim to improve diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health illnesses and diseases affecting children and adolescents. For the next six months, the selected centres, both of which bring together six to seven research institutions, will work on developing a common strategy and goals to advance basic, clinical, prevention and health services research in the two fields. The country already has six health centres for diabetes, cancer, infectious, neurogenerative, cardiovascular, and lung diseases.


Is Morocco becoming an associated country to Horizon Europe?

On 10 March 2021 the first informal exploratory talks meeting on the association of Morocco to Horizon Europe took place following the formally expressed interest of Morocco in becoming associated to the Horizon Europe Framework Programme.


Hidden Gems

This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyber-Weapons Arms Race | Nicole Perlroth

In Episode 182 of Hidden Forces, one of the most interesting podcasts out there (where you can find many interesting episodes about blockchain and crypto, cybersecurity, economics and entrepreneurship, among others), Demetri Kofinas speaks with Nicole Perlroth, award-winning cybersecurity journalist for The New York Times and author of a recently published book on the cyber-weapons arms race titled “This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends.” 

This is the latest episode in a series that we’ve devoted to the subject of information security and the threat posed to our infrastructure and to our lives by the cyber-weapons industry. 

Cyberattacks against individuals, companies, and infrastructure have increased steadily year after year. Attacks like the recent one targeting a water treatment facility in Florida or the Solarwinds hack, discovered last December and which compromised thousands of private and government users — including Homeland Security, the Pentagon, and the NSA — are only the tip of the iceberg. These types of attacks are happening 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, and the costs that they impose on individuals and organizations are measured in the trillions of dollars every single year. 


The purpose of this conversation is to highlight both the nature and the urgency of the threat posed by the cyber-weapons industry. You will learn details about the market for exploits and vulnerabilities and what measures we can take to protect ourselves individually and as a society.

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