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:

Twinning calls open: deadline 18 January

REA has just launched calls for proposals for Twinning projects through Horizon Europe. €149 million of European funding are available to be allocated for Twinning projects. Twinning projects aim to prevent further disparities, maximize investment in R&D and enhance economic growth, and is part of the Widening participation and spreading excellence objective. 
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Improved excellence capacity and resources in Widening countries, enabling to close the research and innovation gap within Europe.
  • Enhanced strategic networking activities between the research institutions of the Widening countries and at least two internationally-leading counterparts at EU level.
  • Raised reputation, research profile and attractiveness of the coordinating institution from the Widening country and the research profile of its staff.
  • Strengthened research management capacities and administrative skills of the staff working in institutions from the Widening country.
  • Improved creativity supported by development of new approaches in R&I collaboration, increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.

All information on the program and on how to apply are available here and on the Funding portal.


Upcoming JRC Foresight report – EARTO webinar (23 September)

EARTO will organise a webinar open to EARTO members only (which means that researchers from INESC are able to join), where a JRC representative will present a new JRC Foresight report. The report is not published yet, which makes the webinar an excellent opportunity to get a hold of the discussions on foresight in advance. The webinar will take place on Thursday 23 September, 10.30-11.30 CEST. Registration is available here.


8th Environment Action Programme: draft framework and workshop (9 September)

The Commission is currently preparing a monitoring framework with headline indicators for the 8th Environment Action Programme. The Commission will consult Member States on the draft framework with indicators during a whole-day workshop on 9 September 2021. Later in autumn, other external stakeholders will be consulted during another whole-day workshop.
Following these consultations, the Commission aims to present the final monitoring framework with headline indicators for the 8th EAP before the end of 2021.

For more information, see the explanatory note and the draft structure with indicators.


New COST network to boost development of high-performance materials

The new COST Action EsSENce, High-performance Carbon-based composites with Smart properties for Advanced Sensing Applications, brings together experts from 48 countries to establish a business network of collaborations across borders and sectoral boundaries, to transfer and disseminate the existing knowledge and innovations on carbon nanomaterials (CNMs) and nanocomposites for sensing applications.

The initial group will attract additional European and international research groups to fully explore the potential of CNM composite materials in a wide variety of engineering and technological areas, such as medical sector, automotive, constructions, aerospace, and renewable energy. EsSENce will also contribute to fostering the development of European Strategic Cluster Partnerships (i.e. European meta-clusters) by helping research institutes, SMEs and industries find easier access to global value chains and engage in long-term cooperation with strategic partners. Learn more on the COST website.


A closer look at the Data Governance Act

As reported in yesterday’s Morning Brief, the European Parliament committee on industry, research and energy adopted the report on the Data Governance Act (DGA), the first legislative building block of the European Commission’s data strategy presented last year.

The DGA will provide for the reuse of public sector data, protected either by intellectual property rights or by commercial confidentiality obligations. Public data will need to be anonymised before it is shared. For sensitive data shared with a third country, public institutions will be responsible for ensuring an adequate level of data protection is maintained.

The new regulation also introduces the concept of ‘data altruism’, which enables individuals and organisations that collect data purely for reasons of public interest to donate their data, for instance for medical research. Such an organisation will be able to register at the EU level as a Recognised Data Altruism organisation.

The DGA also formalises the role of data intermediation service providers, a market that is still emerging in the EU, and introduces a ‘soft’ certification system for data intermediaries, based on which the relevant public authority will verify compliance in advance, ensuring legal clarity and easy access to data marketplaces.

Delve deeper on Euractiv.


Conference on the Future of Europe: space for regions and social partners

At its sixth meeting – the first under the Slovenian presidency – the Conference’s Executive Board agreed to allocate more seats in the Conference Plenary to regional and local elected representatives, as well as to social partners. The Executive Board amended the Rules of Procedure by adding to the Conference Plenary six elected representatives from regional and six from local authorities. They also agreed to increase the number of representatives from the social partners by four, to a total of 12.

The Conference on the Future of Europe combines online and offline, local, regional, national and Europe-wide events, organised by civil society organisations and citizens, the European institutions, and national, regional and local authorities. The outcomes of these events, as well as the ideas related to the future of Europe, are being published on the multilingual digital platform. They will serve as a basis for further discussions at 4 European Citizens’ Panels, comprised of the main topics of the Conference. Some 800 randomly selected citizens, reflecting the EU’s socio-economical, demographic and educational diversity, will participate at several deliberative sessions of these four European Citizens’ Panels, 200 citizens per each Panel. They will come up with ideas and recommendations that will feed into the Conference Plenaries, and ultimately into the Final Report of the Conference. In September, the first sessions of the European Citizens Panels will take place.

More information from the Parliament press release here.


Batteries: the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre and new BAM battery test centre

Electrical energy storage systems, which today are mainly based on lithium-ion technology, are a key to e-mobility and the energy transition. This is the reason why battery development and testing are crucial to ensure the sustainability of the energy transition.

In the UK, last week was launched the £130 million UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC), a pioneering 18,500 square metre state-of-the-art national facility, which has been developed to support UK industry with development of battery technologies for future electrification. The UKBIC brings to reality a vision first set out by Warwick Manufacturing Group of the University of Warwick in 2016. UKBIC is a key part of the Faraday Battery Challenge (FBC), a Government programme to fast track the development of cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe, low-weight and recyclable batteries.

For what concerns the EU, good news come from BAM, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, which is opening a battery test centre at its headquarters in Berlin to drive innovation in the field and further expand expertise in electrical energy storage systems. It provides BAM and cooperating science and industry institutions with expanded state-of-the-art testing facilities. The test facilities allow, for example, to cycle batteries using large charging currents, simulating accelerated ageing. The experimental results are among others important for second-life applications. In the near future, more and more used batteries from BEVs will be reused, for example as storage for photovoltaic systems in private households or as stationary large-scale storage units that can stabilise the power grids. Such second-life applications are an important contribution to the eco-balance of battery technologies.

More Articles