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In today's Morning Brief:

New INESC Brussels HUB podcast on personalised medicine available

A new podcast of The Insider, the podcast series of INESC Brussels HUB, has been published and is now available on the HUB website, as well as on all the most popular podcast platforms, such as Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, and others. This episode is focused on personalised medicine, and features experts from INESC institutes and foreign institutions: Verónica Romão (INESC MN and Chair of the HUB Health Technologies WG), Ana Teresa Freitas (INESC ID and HeartGenetics), Gabriel Pestana (INOV INESC), and Zlatko Trobonjača (University of Rijeka).

We encourage you to disseminate the podcast in your networks, and maybe share it on social media channels – if you do, don’t forget to tag the HUB (Twitter: @HubInesc, Instagram: inesc_hub)!


European Parliament adopted the ERASMUS package worth €28 billion

The European Parliament on Tuesday adopted the new €28 billion Erasmus+, taking the final step in the two-and-a-half-year political process of bringing the seven-year education and exchange programme to life. EU policymakers agreed on the budget and the final details of the programme in December. Since then they have been rushing to finalise the legislative process. To limit delays between the previous and the new programme, the European Commission launched the first calls in March. With the legislation now finalised, the money can soon start flowing, as reported by Science Business.


EIC and ERC in search of adequate instruments for up-to-market solutions

In a statement on Tuesday (18 May), the ERC and EIC mention that they intend to “promote strong collaboration between the institutions” and they give as an example “the new EIC Transition funding has been designed to help results from ERC Proof of Concept projects get closer to the market. Another important area of collaboration is the identification of research trends emerging among ERC-funded projects, which can inform the development of revolutionary technologies that the EIC can fund. Joint thematic workshops on cell and gene therapy as well as on energy storage, have been planned in 2021 to bring the worlds of research and innovation together, to exchange ideas, build networks, and expand the realm of the possible.”


EIC Pathfinder call deadline extended ‘due to technical problems’

A twit from the EIC office and then an announcement at Science Business confirm the European Innovation Council has extended the call deadline for the Pathfinder programme, which funds high-risk breakthrough innovation projects in any field, to 25 May ‘due to technical problems’. The Twitter announcement comes in the morning of 19 May, the day of the original deadline. It does not specify what the technical issues are. The call was launched earlier this year with a funding pot of €168 million to be awarded in grants of up to €3 million. Earlier this month, the EIC also unexpectedly closed its €1 billion Accelerator programme for start-ups to first-stage applicants, causing frustration among potential applicants.


Impacts of trade on biodiversity

Yesterday, the European Commission has published a new methodology for assessing the impacts of trade liberalisation on biodiversity and ecosystems. The new methodology will contribute to further improve the sustainability impact assessments and ex-post evaluations of EU trade agreements, in support of the objectives of the European Green Deal. The methodology also supports the Commission’s ambition to secure a global agreement on how to halt and reverse biodiversity loss in the next decade and beyond at the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CoP 15) later this year.


EC consultation on EU Algae initiative

The European Commission has launched an open Public consultation on the EU Algae initiative, which aims to increase sustainable production of algae and algae-based products, ensure their safe consumption and boost their innovative use in the European Union. The consultation runs until 11 August, and is targeted at EU citizens as well as all relevant stakeholder groups, including industry, NGOs, public authorities, civil society, research and academia. It can be accessed from this page.


EC adopted strategy for international cooperation

The Commission adopted a Communication on its Global Approach to Research and Innovation, Europe’s strategy for international cooperation in a changing world. In 2012, a Commission Communication set out a strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation. It guided the EU scientific and technological relations with third countries and underpinned the international reach of Horizon 2020. During the last three years of Horizon 2020 international cooperation got a significant boost through the ‘international cooperation flagships’, including more than thirty ambitious cooperation initiatives with several third countries and regions such as Africa, Canada, Japan, South Korea, China, India and others. Almost a decade later, the new Global Approach to Research and Innovation supersedes the previous strategy in order to respond to today’s significantly different global context and to align the EU’s international cooperation with its current priorities.

The new strategy reinforces the policy dimension as cornerstone to define partnerships and goals of the research and innovation investment at EU level. Science Business sums it up nicely, below are some of the key points but the strategy also includes a vision for the relation with the US, China, Russia and others:

  • A shift to cooperation around new strategic goals, such as the dual green and digital transition. The EU will adapt cooperation with particular countries and regions in light of this approach, giving priority to cooperation with countries in the wider European neighbourhood, to Africa, and to “like-minded” industrialised and emerging economies.
  • To weigh openness against the EU’s evolving pursuit of strategic autonomy, which could mean revising and limiting cooperation with certain foreign actors.
  • “An international dialogue” to agree fair and open global principles for cooperation on research with relatively closed countries like China. The EU “should use its convening power to lead a broad, multilateral discussion on the framework conditions necessary for greater openness to principled and values-based R&I cooperation,” the draft says.
  • To boost the involvement of member states in setting the EU’s global science path.

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