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In this Morning Brief we let you know of €162 million available to fund Research Infrastructure projects, the opening of applications for the New European Bauhaus 2022 prize, the toolkit published by the European Commission to mitigate foreign interference in R&I and a call of expression towards an agreement on reforming research, amongst other relevant news.

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:

€162 million available to fund Research Infrastructures projects

A new call for proposals to fund Research Infrastructures projects under Horizon Europe is open until 20 April 2022.

The call makes available up to €162 million to finance Research Infrastructures projects under three destinations and seven topics.

The applications will be evaluated by independent experts selected by the European Research Executive Agency, on behalf of the European Commission. Potential applicants are invited to watch the recordings of the 2021 Research Infrastructures Info Day to get familiar with the different call topics.

Find more information here.


New European Bauhaus 2022 – applications open

The European Commission is opening applications for the 2022 New European Bauhaus prizes. The 2022 edition will celebrate new inspiring examples of the transformations the initiative wants to bring about in our daily lives, living spaces and experiences. As in the first edition, this initiative will award young talents’ ideas as well as existing projects for sustainability, inclusiveness and aesthetics, bringing the European Green Deal to people and local communities.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “Now more than ever we need sustainable and innovative ideas to transform the way we live and work, while leaving no one behind. The New European Bauhaus rewards the best, boldest and brightest concepts for improving our regions and cities in a manner that is both people and planet friendly. Cohesion policy will continue to help transform these new ideas into reality across European regions, for the benefit of all our communities.”

Prizes will be awarded to projects and ideas that contribute to these categories:

– reconnecting with nature;

– regaining a sense of belonging;

– prioritising the places and people that need it most;

– fostering a long-term, lifecycle and integrated thinking in the industrial ecosystem.

Applications are open until 28 February 2022 at 19h00 CET. Find out more information here.


Call of expression towards an agreement on reforming research

The European Commission has called for organisations to express their interest in being part of a coalition on reforming research assessment.

The coalition will bring together research funding organisations, research performing organisations, national/regional assessment authorities or agencies, associations of research funders, of research performers, of researchers, as well as, learned societies and other relevant organisations, all willing and committed to implement reforms to the current research assessment system.

To access the call for expression of interest, make sure to click here.


Eureka R&D network due to announce first grant winners in new €1B Eurostars 3 programme

As reported by Science|Business, the Eureka R&D network’s new programme Eurostars 3, bringing together 37 partner countries, is all set to invest €1 billion in cross-border innovation projects over the next six years.

The Commission is yet to formally approve its expected €250 million contribution from Horizon Europe to the new programme, although all signs point to an imminent endorsement.

Peter Chisnall, CFO at Eureka claimed that it was too important not to launch as it is necessary to have other fora outside of Horizon programmes that can engage in R&I collaboration.


European Commission publishes a toolkit to help mitigate foreign interference in R&I

The Commission has published a toolkit on how to mitigate foreign interference in research and innovation. The publication outlines best practices to support EU Higher Education Institutions and Research Performing Organisations in safeguarding their fundamental values, including academic freedom, integrity and institutional autonomy, as well as to protect their staff, students, research findings and assets.

International networks of academic and technological cooperation play an essential role in finding solutions to our global challenges. At the same time, the expansion of activities involves a number of risks and challenges that research and innovation actors must take into account.

Make sure to read the publication, co-created with Member States and R&I stakeholders, contributing to the European Research Area Policy Agenda action on academic freedom here.


Digital Services Act cramped with amendments ahead of key vote in the European Parliament

As reported by EURACTIV, over a hundred alternative amendments were tabled on the DSA ahead of the plenary vote, with some critical comebacks and reformulations of existing proposals.

The amendments are a mixed bag of new bids, bring-backs of measures discarded in the consumer protection committee, and more moderate versions of proposals that have failed to secure a majority so far.

According to a Parliament official, there were no particular surprises, “but agreeing on a voting list will be a nightmare”.

If you want to read more about the proposed changes and reformulations make sure to click on the article.


Germany commissions world leading computer as it eyes quantum leadership

Germany’s Jülich Supercomputing Centre has added a quantum computer to its existing high performance computing infrastructure, enabling the centre to get involved in practical applications of quantum computing at a very early stage, as the technology moves out the lab and into commercial use.

Quantum computing and quantum annealing have a variety of potential applications, however, it is expected to take many years until these methods are technically mature.

To get involved in commercial applications of quantum computing at an early stage, Forschungszentrum  Jülich has set up the Jülich Unified Infrastructure for Quantum computing (JUNIQ), offering user friendly access to quantum computing systems for various user groups across Europe.

Ensuring technological sovereignty in quantum computing is one of the new German government’s promises. The race is just starting but Europe needs to get to work quickly if it wants to stay ahead.

Make sure to read this Science|Business piece here.


European Commission launches public consultation on renewables

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on how to improve permit-granting procedures for renewables projects and facilitating Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). The input will serve as preparation for a Commission guidance document, due for publication this summer, aimed at facilitating an acceleration in the deployment of renewables in the EU in the context of the ambition to achieve at least 40% share of renewables in the energy mix by 2030.

Administrative barriers, in particular in the granting of permits, have long been identified as a common bottleneck for the deployment of renewable energy projects which discourage potential investors.

The Commission has therefore decided to provide guidance on ways of reducing the duration and complexity of these procedures, and through this consultation is seeking to clarify the different aspects at play under current practices.

The consultation will run until 12 April 2022. More information is available here.


European Commission launches public consultation to feed into new EU strategy on solar energy

As part of the preparation of a new strategy on solar energy, the European Commission has launched a public consultation  on solar energy in the EU.

In the context of the Commission’s proposal to double the share of renewables to 40% by 2030, the consultation looks at how best to achieve the required increase in solar energy capacity. It underlines that the cost-efficient development of this technology, within a more integrated energy system, cannot be sufficiently achieved by EU countries alone and seeks to clarify what measures are needed.

In a series of 26 questions, the consultation is seeking to input on the main bottlenecks and barriers to investment under existing rules.

To find more information on this, click here.


European Commission launches public consultation on plastics

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics. The consultation will provide insight for preparing a new policy framework on these groups of plastics. The aim of the new framework is to address emerging sustainability challenges related to the use of the biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics and by driving innovation, enhancing investment certainty within the internal market and increasing environment protection, all under the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan.

The consultation follows the publication of the roadmap that outlines the objective of the framework – to address the emerging sustainability challenges related to the use of these plastics.

The consultation is published on the DG ENV website and is open for feedback for 8 weeks until 15 March 2022. Click here to access more information.


H2020 Research & Innovation workshop on waterborne transport

Together with the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) and the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG R&I), the Horizon 2020 project STEERER – “Structuring towards zero emission waterborne transport” – is organising the workshop “Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation delivering smart, green, safe and competitive waterborne transport”, on 7 February 2022 in Brussels, and online.

This workshop will present the results of seven years of investments in R&I towards smart, green and integrated waterborne transport, in the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme. It will also provide an outlook to the future in the light of the new Horizon Europe programme.

Three panels will be dedicated to:

– transformation towards zero-emission waterborne transport;

– competitive, connected and automated waterborne transport;

– safe and secure waterborne transport.

Click here to scan the QR code to access the event page.

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