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In this Morning Brief we start with a save the date from the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the CEA and other partners on three High-Level conferences all related to trending R&I topics. We also let you know of an Energy Transition Expertise Centre Stakeholder Workshop, the new European Commission strategy for universities which some are fighting against, new job opportunities and consultations, and a fascinating read on why Artificial Intelligence can’t be just data-based.

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:

Save the Date(s): French Presidency of the Council of The European Union

The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union along with CEA – French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, among other partners are hosting three high-level conferences between February and March:

– Quantum Ambitions: Strengthening Europe’s Leadership (21/02)

– AI for Industry and Society: Trust and Frugality (25/02)

– Towards a Renewal of the European Solar Photovoltaic Industry (02/03)

Find out more information on the CEA and the French Presidency.

Once the registration for these events is open, the INESC Brussels Hub will provide a link for those who are interested to register.


Stakeholders submit R&I manifesto to Conference on the Future of Europe

According to Science|Business, a group of 94 organisations have submitted an R&I manifesto for debate in the plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe. It is backed by over 600 universities, 400 research institutes, 140 business associations and 15 regional and local bodies.

“In the coming years, research and innovation will be crucial to steer Europe’s recovery, preparedness and resilience, accelerate the twin green and digital transitions, and support the EU’s aspirations of open strategic autonomy,” the manifesto says.

The full text and list of supporters are available here.


Energy Transition Expertise Centre Stakeholder Workshop

The first Energy transition expertise centre (EnTEC) stakeholder workshop is going to happen later this month, organised jointly by the European Commission and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI.

It aims to inform stakeholders about the EnTEC project and present the first two in-depth studies:

– Enabling the Energy Transition – How flexible digital options can support;

– The role of renewable H2 import & storage scale up the EU deployment of H2

Fraunhofer ISI will introduce the project. The EnTEC partners McKinsey&Company and Trinomics will present the studies. Afterwards there will be an opportunity to discuss the study results and ask questions to the project team.

Don’t forget to click here to sign up for the workshop, Monday 31 January at 10h00 (CET).


New Commission strategy for universities is hard to achieve

The European Commission has put a plan for a European degree at the center of a new strategy to boost transnational cooperation in Europe’s higher education system, but universities say the proposal is overly ambitious, and question if member states will give up their national competence to let Brussels decide how universities award diplomas.

The ideas proposed are not new, but it is the first time the EC has put them into a single document, which is now meant to serve as a starting point for negotiation with Member States.

Make sure to read this Science|Business article exposing the questions and challenges that this plan might present to universities and students. The Guild – The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, has also responded to this initiative here.


European Commission’s JRC is hiring for Quantitative Policy Analysts

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre is hiring four Quantitative Policy Analysts to work in the Competence Centre on Composite Indicators and Scoreboards.

They are looking for enthusiastic people to work on projects related to using data for constructing composite indicators and scoreboards, monitoring multidimensional phenomena and understand their drivers and policy implications.

Want to be part of the team? Find out more on how to apply and the job description here.


European Commission seeks revision of REACH, the EU’s chemicals legislation

The Commission is launching a public consultation on the revision on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals – REACH. The revision will aim to align the EU chemical rules with the Commission’s ambition for safe and sustainable chemicals and a high level of protection of health and the environment, whilst preserving the internal market.

This REACH revision is one of the actions announced in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

The public consultation will provide insight for the ongoing work on an impact assessment. The consultation will run until mid-April 2022. To find out more click here.


Calls for proposals to promote European agri-food products launched

The European Commission has launched the 2022 call for proposals for European agri-food promotion programmes, in the EU and abroad.

This year puts a special focus on the promotion of products and methods that support more directly the European Green Deal objectives.

A wide range of bodies, such as trade organisations, producer organisations and agri-food groups responsible for promotion activities are eligible to apply for funding and submit their proposals. Projects will be assessed in particular with regard to sustainability of production and consumption criteria, in line with the climate, environmental and animal welfare objectives of the CAP as well as the Farm to Fork strategy.

Proposals should be submitted by 21 April 2022 17:00 CET (Brussels) via the dedicated portal. The Commission will assess the proposals and announce the beneficiaries in the autumn.

Find out more on how to apply here.


Science Advice under Pressure 2022

The European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism warmly invites everyone working at the science-policy interface to explore the key challenges of delivery science advice under pressure through a series of panel debates, interactive sessions and networking opportunities.

It will take place between 27 and 28 April in Brussels and online. This is a conference co-organised by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission and by SAPEA.

To find out more information and how to register click here.


Artificial Intelligence searches for the human touch

For many outside the tech world, “data” means soulless numbers. Whereas for computer scientists, data means rows and rows of rich matter, there to be manipulated.

AI-driven algorithms are increasingly impinging upon our everyday lives. They assist in making decisions across a spectrum that ranges from advertising products to diagnosing medical conditions. It’s already clear that the impact of such systems cannot be understood simply by examining the underlying code or even the data used to build them. We must look to people for answers as well.

Don’t miss this fascinating Financial Times piece underlining the importance of humanity in AI here.

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