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 keep up with the momentum brought by the summer-time Morning Briefs with the opening of opportunities to work as experts for the European Commission, this time in the Defence area. We have also made an easy to read, short summary of the key takeaways for R&I on the State of the Union address by the President of the EC and then further develop two key issues mentioned in that speech: technology sovereignty, namely the announcement of a new European Chips Act and Strategic Autonomy, a concept that was further analysed by a JRC report for the EC and EU policy makers in general. We finish today’s brief with a couple of gems: a Meat Atlas that brings together important facts and figures about the animals we eat and some articles on the upcoming German elections (and also the French ones, further along the road) as well as their impact on R&I, with a focus on how elections season across Europe also means dancing chairs for EU representatives in the are of R&I. 

In today's Morning Brief:

In today’s Morning Brief:

Work as an expert – European Defence Fund

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 programming period 2021-2027 of the EDF is now open. The Commission is therefore establishing a list of independent experts who can be called on in connection with the European Defence Fund (EDF) for the following tasks:

  • Evaluation
  • Ethics assessment
  • Budget estimate assessment

The Commission is looking for experts with a high level of expertise and professional experience in a military context regarding the research and development of defence products and technologies or management of defence capabilities development projects/programmes in a national, European and/or NATO context in one or more of the following categories of actions:

  1. EDF thematic categories of actions
    1. Defence medical support, Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear, (CBRN), biotech and human factors,
    2. Information superiority,
    3. Advanced passive and active sensors,
    4. Cyber,
    5. Space,
    6. Digital transformation,
    7. Energy resilience and environmental transition,
    8. Materials and components,
    9. Air combat,
    10. Air and missile defence,
    11. Ground combat,
    12. Force protection and mobility,
    13. Naval combat,
    14. Underwater warfare,
    15. Simulation and training,
  2. EDF non-thematic categories of actions
    1. Disruptive technologies,
    2. Open calls for innovative and future-oriented defence solutions,
  3. Ethics and financial assessment

This information has also been sent to the POB and TFF members for further action. Check the official link here.

 

State of the Union address by the President of the EC: key takeaways for R&I

Last week, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, delivered the yearly State of the Union speech. An overall strong speech, rich in announcements. Below are the key takeaways for research and innovation, from the point of view of the HUB and based on direct quotes from her speech. Most of these issues have specific developments on their own that we will keep reporting back to you in the Morning Brief:

– Funding: We have the innovation and scientific capacity, the private sector knowledge, we have competent national authorities. And now we need to bring all of that together, including massive funding.

– 5G, fibre and Digital skills: In an unprecedented manner, we will invest in 5G and fibre. But equally important is the investment in digital skills. This task needs leaders’ attention and a structured dialogue at top-level.

. Digital spending: Digital is the make-or-break issue. And Member States share that view. Digital spending in NextGenerationEU will even overshoot the 20% target.

– A new European Chips Act: The aim is to jointly create a state-of-the-art European chip ecosystem, including production. That ensures our security of supply and will develop new markets for ground-breaking European tech.

– Europe’s role in the world: Today’s new EU – Indo-Pacific strategy is a milestone. It reflects the growing importance of the region to our prosperity and security. But also the fact that autocratic regimes use it to try to expand their influence. Europe needs to be more present and more active in the region. So we will work together to deepen trade links, strengthen global supply chains and develop new investment projects on green and digital technologies. This is a template for how Europe can redesign its model to connect the world.

 

Technology sovereignty in practice: EC pushes chip building and cyberdefence

The European Commission is to put forward a European Chips Act, along with dedicated funds from a centrally managed programme to boost research, development and manufacturing of microprocessors, EU president Ursula von der Leyen announced in the annual State of the Union speech on Wednesday. According to the plan, by 2030, the EU should account for at least a fifth of the world market by value for cutting-edge and sustainable semiconductors. In addition, the Commission wants the EU to have its first quantum computer by 2025.

Von der Leyen also vowed the Commission will increase investment in cybersecurity and called on member states to agree to the establishment of a common cyber defence policy. “If everything is connected, everything can be hacked,” she said. A potential cyber defence policy would be one component of a broader EU defence system, designed to compensate for the diminishing role of the US in European security. The Commission has kicked off a €7.9 billion defence research fund to develop new military technologies, from aircraft fighters to military cloud and artificial intelligence. Semiconductor projects will also be funded. Check the full article here.

 

Shaping and securing the EU’s Open Strategic Autonomy by 2040 and beyond

Still in the domain of strategic autonomy (from which, tech sovereignty is only one, albeit significant, dimension), the JRC published its report on on the current state and future possibilities in 2040 and beyond, foresight scenarios on the global standing of the EU in 2040, in relation to Open Strategic Autonomy. You can download it here.

 

European Health Union and the new HERA (European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority)

Presented as “the next step towards completing the European Health Union”, the European Commission is launching the European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to health emergencies. HERA will anticipate threats and potential health crises, through intelligence gathering and building the necessary response capacities. HERA will also support research and innovation for the development for new medical countermeasures, including through Union-wide clinical trial networks and platforms for the rapid sharing of data. In addition, HERA will address market challenges and boost industrial capacity. Building on the work done by the Task Force for Industrial Scale up of COVID-19 vaccines, HERA will establish a close dialogue with industry, a long-term strategy for manufacturing capacity and targeted investment, and address supply chain bottlenecks for medical countermeasures.

 

€85M investment in 2022 for New European Bauhaus project

A year after announcing it, the European Commission outlined how it hopes to deliver the New European Bauhaus, a culture and innovation initiative that will serve as the face of the EU’s Green Deal, starting with a €85 million investment for the next year. To get the project fully off the ground, this month, the Commission will launch a call for five demonstrator projects for social, affordable and sustainable housing districts. These first projects will be funded through the EU’s research programme Horizon Europe. Alongside the demonstrators, it will run “a think and do tank to co-create, prototype and test new tools, solutions and policy recommendations”, according to the newly released plans.

The call set to go live this month is only the first step in the Commission’s grand plans for the New European Bauhaus. The new plan promises to integrate the initiative “as an element of context or priority” across many EU-funded programmes. For one, it foresees Bauhaus-themed calls for proposals from the EU’s innovation agencies, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the European Innovation Council.

Funding will come from different EU programmes including the Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation (notably the Horizon Europe missions), the LIFE programme for the environment and climate action and the European Regional Development Fund. In addition, the Commission will invite the Member States to use the New European Bauhaus core values in their strategies for territorial and socio-economic development, and mobilise the relevant parts of their recovery and resilience plans, as well as the programmes under cohesion policy to build a better future for everyone.

 

Meat Atlas: facts and figures about the animals we eat

The EU association Friends of Earth, in partnership with a couple of German research and environmental associations developed this interesting work that ranges from consumption to waste, pesticides, water, antibiotics and other key issues. It also includes a chapter on EU strategies. Worth checking it out.

 

The elections that will define the future of Europe and the EU PermReps dancing chairs

We are coming into election time all across Europe and that starts being felt across many sectors. For example, at least 7 of the Permanent Representatives for Research and Innovation are being substituted until the end of the year, including the Portuguese Counsellor, Luísa Henriques (in her case, though, the reason being that she completed 2 consecutive terms, the maximum allowed by law). But while Portuguese municipal elections are (should be) an important moment for our local life, the elections that typically define the future of Europe are the French and, of course, the German. Euractiv published a nice overview of the “The four Franco-German duos of the Merkel era”, ranging from Chirac to Macron. Deutsche Bank published an interesting report on the role of Germany in the world in the next decade, emphasising that “Germany is falling behind as a research and innovation power house”. We will keep an eye out for the trends in this election and what it may mean for the overall dynamics that shape the future.

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