Welcome to today’s Morning Brief. The Morning Brief newsletter is only available to INESC staff and affiliated researchers upon subscription (weekly or daily), after creating an account in the Private Area of the HUB website. To do so, click the log-in icon on the top-right corner of this website.

In today’s Morning Brief we start by calling your attention to a fantastic source of information on how to make the most of your dissemination and exploitation plans in Horizon Europe and to the call for experts for evaluating defence-related calls. Engaging as evaluator in framework programme calls is the single best way to learn to write better projects (only second to actually writing them, but these are both complementary and important exercises, no pain no gain, as the saying goes). If you are not registered in the participants portal of the European Commission as an evaluator, I strongly urge you to do it as soon as possible. If you need any assistance, do not hesitate in contacting your institutional project manager or directly the HUB and we will guide you through the process and clarify any doubts that may arise. Then we provide you a selection of key reports and articles on themes that range from biodiversity to science advice and finish with some more summer reading suggestions.

Later today, we will launch a test episode of the new The Insider weekly podcasts. We have mentioned earlier this week this will be a digest of the weeks news and, when possible, a more indepth analytical perspective on a key issue of interest to help you keeping up to date and identifying the main issues and trends in the EU R&I funding, policy, and management, as well as breaking own complex issues into easy to follow and use in your personal and institutional context. If you are curious, visit the podcast on your favourite platform (Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc) or directly in the podcast hosting page, but only at the end of today or tomorrow morning, as I am still in testing phase.

Any comments or suggestions, hit me up with an email on ricardo.migueis@inesctec.pt

In today's Morning Brief:

Horizon Europe – Resources on dissemination and exploitation

The Research and Executive Agency of the European Commission, who will be in charge of implementation of Clusters 2, 3 and 6, Research Infrastructures, MSCA and a few other (minor) areas of the Framework Programme, has this page full of resources and tips on getting the most out of your dissemination and exploitation plans in Horizon Europe applications. Check also the detailed training videos on dissemination and exploitation made by the HUB for a specific training session in 2020 and earlier this year, which cover the same subject and a few important others. Slides and video available in the HUB Private Area:

Horizon Europe: important perspectives and practical tips

Training: From H2020 to Horizon Europe


Defence sector – call for experts

In the context of the European Defence Fund (EDF), the Commission is looking for independent experts to assist in the evaluation of proposals. To this end, the call for expression of interest for experts for the period 2021-2027 of the EDF.

Check more information here.


Seeking biodiversity winners and losers

Globally, we are experiencing a biodiversity crisis: a landmark report shows that some one million animal and plant species face extinction. But in some locations, the variety of species is increasing. In others, some types of plant and animal are thriving while others struggle. Scientists are scrambling for data that will help them to better understand the well-being of rapidly changing ecosystems and where conservation efforts can best be targeted. At the forefront is a European network, called EuropaBON (with the participation of Portuguese entities ICETA-UP and IGOT-UL), that will combine research plots, community scientists, satellite sensors, models and other methods to generate a continuous stream of biodiversity data for the continent. Read the full article in Nature Magazine.


Emissions down as Europe’s electricity comes back cleaner

At the halfway point of the year, Think Tank EMBER takes stock of the progress made in the transition from coal to clean electricity in Europe, both across the EU-27 and in key neighbours (UK, Turkey and Western Balkans). The report presents the latest data on Europe’s electricity generation in the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period both during (H1-2020) and before (H1-2019) the pandemic.

EU-27 key findings

  • Fossil fuels fail to recover as renewables grow. Electricity demand was back to pre-pandemic levels, but fossil fuels are not. Emissions were 12% lower.
  • Coal’s structural decline continues. Coal generation was 16% lower (-36TWh) in H1-2021 than in H1-2019.
  • Clean power growth resilient but insufficient. Two-thirds of EU power was clean in H1-2021, but year-on-year progress must double to meet EU climate targets.
  • Fossil power costs skyrocket. It is now twice as expensive to generate electricity from existing fossil gas & hard coal power plants than new wind & solar.


An Open Science (OS) Index to complement the H Index

In a recent presentation, Jean-Claude Burgelman (European Commission) delivered a presentation calling for stakeholders, mostly universities, to mobilise and not wait for the EU to be overcome in setting the stage for what will be the inevitable: in the future all research will be data driven and increasingly open, so we need to update our metrics and create OS metrics that complement the traditional H Index, in may ways already outdated and an obstacle to teaching vs research complementarity, etc. His PPT is available in the HUB Private Area.


Digitalisation in Europe 2020-2021

In late July, the EIB (European Investment Bank) published a report on the state of digitalisation in the EU in 2020-2021. There are specific country chapters and general conclusions, among which that:

  • The adoption of digital technologies by firms in the European Union is improving, but it has not yet closed the gap with the United States;
  • While some EU countries are at the global forefront of digital transformation, others risk being left behind.
  • Digitalisation provides a unique opportunity to improve European firms’ global competitiveness.
  • To close the digital divide, Europe needs to increase investment and to create ecosystems that support innovation.

Download the full report here.


I confess I’ve got things to hide – an opinion article on the importance of encryption

In recent years there has been a backlash against encryption by governments and policy makers across the world. However, encryption is critical for our digital society’s safety, writes David Frautschy in Euractiv, the director for European government and regulatory affairs at the Internet Society. In this article you will also find references to the European Council published resolution “Security through encryption and security despite encryption”, which states that law enforcement “must be able to access data in a lawful and targeted manner,” and calls on stakeholders to find “technical solutions” to provide law enforcement access to end-to-end encrypted communications, as well as the “Breaking Encryption Myths” report published last year by the Global Encryption Coalition. This is an important process for those working in this domain as well as an interesting read overall.


The IPCC report

All of us heard of it but how many actually downloaded the report where it is shown clearly that if we do not really accelerate a transition towards green tech and practices we will collectively suffer the consequences sooner rather than later?

Here it is, with links for policy and technical summaries, the full report, FAQs, regional factsheets and data access.


New Horizon, new ERA, new international rules for R&D: A vacation reader

For those of you that are still on holidays and continuing with our summer reading list suggestions, find below the link to the Science Business news service favourite reads of the year on EU R&D policy. As they say in the introduction to their reading suggestions, much has happened in the first half of 2021 already: “Horizon Europe, the EU’s biggest R&D programme, was finally launched despite delays and conflicts along the way, and researchers now have (almost) all the information they need to submit pertinent funding applications.

The European Commission has launched its pact for research and innovation, the first policy action in its revamped European Research Area (ERA) – a decades-long effort to create a real single, EU-wide market for research, innovations and the people who do them. It has been joined by MEPs and research lobbies in asking member states to raise public and private R&D investments to 3% of GDP by 2030. The target is not new, but some politicians hope to be able to convince their counterparts in lagging countries to invest more.

The Commission is also rewriting the rules for international R&D cooperation. This roughly translates to: The EU wants to have its cake and eat it too. While the Commission acknowledges the merits of international R&D cooperation, it also wants limitations to be applied to countries that it thinks could use open access to EU programmes to spy on sensitive technologies for economic and military gains. This concern targets China and Russia, in particular. But relations with long-term allies, such as Israel, Switzerland and the UK, also got tangled temporarily in the EU’s worries about “technological sovereignty.”.”

Read it here.


International conference on science advice for governments 2021

The INGSA2021 conference will be a 4-day interactive hybrid conference, hosted by the Chief Scientist of Quebec, in collaboration with the Chief Science Advisor of Canada. We expect that most delegates will have to join digitally and that only Canadian participants will be able to join the conference in person, due to ongoing travel restrictions.

The conference will be an opportunity to examine the direct and indirect lessons from the pandemic, while looking to the future for the global community as we build back wiser.

Alongside a full conference program, INGSA2021 will also feature: Academic ‘Digital Posters’, Innovations in Science Advice sessions, Keynote Interviews, and more.

A suite of Satellite Workshops will take place from the 7th-9th August, on a wealth of topics including: Academic publishing in a crisis, protecting independence in science advice, Open Science, and an interactive online case study of science advice in action!

See the complete programme and register free here.

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