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Happy Monday! In this Morning Brief, we begin by calling your attention to an EIC working paper published last week where it attempts to identify emerging technologies and breakthrough innovations, a workshop by DG Defence, Industry and Space on the link between Copernicus and the Green Deal and how to keep momentum going for Europe to achieve its goal of becoming the first climate-neutral continent in the world, a Foresight exercise by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, among others. We also let you know of the launch of the first EU Organic Awards, a platform to promote the production and use of algae in Europe and EU’s challenge of China’s defiance of intellectual property rules, and more!  

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:

EIC working paper – Identification of Emerging Technologies and Breakthrough Innovations

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has been established to identify, develop and scale up emerging technologies and breakthrough innovations. This report presents a number of emerging technologies and breakthrough innovations that have been identified during a first identification process conducted in 2021 and assessed to be of high interest to the EIC given their potential for future technological, economic and social impacts. It relies on a range of inputs and the views and insights of EIC Programme Managers.

The identification exercise was the first to be conducted following the launch of the EIC in March 2021 and was used as an input and evidence base for the EIC Challenge areas included for funding support under the EIC Work Programme 2022.

In this and future years, this approach will be strengthened and updated for ever-evolving developments in the fields of technology and innovation. We will also continue to strengthen our methodological approach and range of data sets and analytical tools used. In this context we would welcome comments and inputs to continually improve our identification of areas, anticipate their potential, future-proof their relevance and reflect on their multiple value propositions.

Download the full document here.


Copernicus and the Green Deal – a DG Defence, Industry and Space Workshop

Rapid and unprecedented transformation of the climate is underway and prompt concerted action is needed. The EU is tackling these environmental challenges through the implementation of the Green Deal, striving to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent.

As the world’s largest satellite Earth observation system, Copernicus services have proved to be a key asset in addressing climate change, monitoring of biodiversity, forest health and deforestation, and marine environment, providing information on soils, plants and water quality and availability, thus supporting sustainable agriculture.

This workshop will present how Copernicus services can contribute to the achievement of the EU Green Deal policy objectives and support in the monitoring of progress. It aims to address the policy areas indicated in the Green Deal, how Copernicus can support implementing and monitoring these key aspects and facilitate interactions and discussions between different stakeholders. The workshop will take place between 22 and 23 March. Click here for more information and how to register.


Horizon Impact Award 2022 contest open

The European Commission is launching a brand new edition of the Horizon Impact Award, a prizededicated to EU-funded projects whose results have created societal impact across Europe and beyond. The prize acknowledges and rewards the most influential and impactful project results under Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), the EU research and innovation programme, and its predecessor, the 7th Framework Programme (FP7, 2007-2013).

After the success of the pilot editions in 2019 and 2020, Horizon Impact Award 2022 returns with an increased monetary prize and more winners. The 2022 edition will now have six champions that will each receive €25 000.

See all details here.


2030 Foresight Portugal

How will Portugal be like in 2030? Will we be better able to grow and prosper? Will we be able to respond to the challenges of climate change and social cohesion and mobility?

This decade is expected to be turbulent. We will not be able to count on the same growth factors or follow the public policy guidelines that, so far, have failed to take Portugal out of a long period of near stagnation.

This decade is also expected to be a transition period, marked by the shock between the past and the future. On one hand, we will experience limitations to the growth of existing solutions and activities. On the other hand, we will pass through difficulties arising from a new wave of growth, based on a new technical-economic system and new geoeconomics and geopolitics that should only stabilise by 2050.

The Foresight Portugal 2030 project is a foresight exercise that crossed economic and financial, demographic, social, technological, environmental, geoeconomics and geopolitical issues to elaborate 3 possible scenarios for the positioning of Portugal in the future:

  • Scenario 1: Confidence in continuity
  • Scenario 2: With talent, in search of a new space in Europe
  • Scenario 3: Portugal “4D” – Digitalization, diversification, dynamism and distinction

See detailed info here.

Download summary of foresight Portugal 2030 summary (PT only).


Italian Centre for Research on Risk Reduction CI3R – Call for Experts

The Italian Centre for Research on Risk Reduction CI3R is launching a call for two experts in risk and crisis communication to compile the third thematic paper of ROADMAP, titled “Good practices in Building Back Better and Leaving no one Behind”.

The ROADMAP project has the main objective to establish a European “Doctrine on disaster risk and crisis management”, funded on the mutual cooperation between scientific communities and DRM authorities. The doctrine, that is intended as “a shared understanding of disaster management between decision-makers and scientific actors”, will be based on selected experiences, good practices and implemented solutions in EU Member States.

Click here for more information on ROADMAP and the call.


Launch of the first EU Organic Awards

As a true pan-European collaborative venture, the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe are together launching the first ever EU Organic Awards. These awards will recognize excellence along the organic value chain, rewarding the best and most innovative actors in organic production in the EU. Applications will be open from 25 March until 8 June 2022.

These awards are the first example of EU-wide organic awards and are conceived as a follow-up to the Action Plan for the development of organic production, adopted by the Commission last year, which announced the launch of such awards to raise awareness of organic production and increase demand for organic products.

Read more about it here.


European Commission launches platform to promote production and use of algae in Europe

The European Commission, the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) and a consortium of sustainability consultants and algae organisations are launching a European algae stakeholder platform, called EU4Algae. The aim of the platform is to accelerate the development of a European algae industry and promote algae for nutrition and other uses among consumers and businesses in the EU.

The platform will be a unique space for collaboration among European algae stakeholders including algae farmers, producers, sellers, consumers, technology developers as well as business-support organisations, investors, public authorities, academia, researchers and NGOs. It will also act as a single information hub on algae funding calls, projects, business-related information, intelligence and best practices. The collaboration platform will be online by the summer 2022.

Read about it here.


Commission supports the creation of a partnership for skills in the agri-food ecosystem

Supported by the Commission, the agriculture and food industry presents a skills partnership under the EU Pact for Skills today.

The goal of the partnership is to upskill and reskill people in the agri-food sector, the largest producing and manufacturing sector in Europe. This will make the agri-food ecosystem more attractive to young people, while offering a lifelong learning perspective for both employers and employees.

Following partnerships in eight other industrial ecosystems, this new partnership is a concrete implementation of the Pact for Skills, one of the flagship initiatives under the European Skills Agenda. The main objective of the Pact is to mobilize resources and incentivize all relevant partners to take concrete action to upskill and reskill the workforce in key industrial ecosystems. Since its launch, over 500 organizations have pledged to reskill close to 6 million people in Europe. This initiative also contributes to the EU-level headline target that by 2030, at least 60% of all adults should participate in training every year.


New Research Fund for Coal and Steel Calls

Friday, two additional calls, with a total budget of EUR 142 million have been added to the traditional annual Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) call published every year. This corresponds with the 20th anniversary of the RFCS programme. The total budget combines the 2022 budget and the non-spent budget available from 2021. It is allocated among the two “Big Ticket” calls, on Steel and Coal:

  • The “Big Tickets” call on Steel has a budget of EUR 104 million. It covers pilot and demonstrators for breakthrough clean steel making technologies such as Carbon Capture Use and Storage, Process Intensification, and CO2 neutral iron ore reduction.
  • The “Big Tickets” call on Coal has a budget of EUR 38 million. It covers pilot and demonstrators supporting the repurposing of closed coalmines such as mine, water or land monitoring as well as treatment and restoration, waste and spoil treatments, energy recovery and monitoring of methane emissions and materials recycling, including recovery of critical raw materials.

To find out more and apply for the calls please visit the funding & tenders portal. The deadline for application is 3 May at 17h00 CET.


Hazardous substances in the workplace: EP approves deal for stricter EU rules

On Thursday, Parliament gave the final green light for an update to EU rules on limiting workers’ exposure to carcinogens, mutagens or reprotoxic substances.

An informal agreement with EU governments, reached in December 2021, was adopted by MEPs, with 686 votes in favour, 4 against and 4 abstentions. The updated EU law aims at strengthening workers’ protection against carcinogenic and other hazardous substances, by setting EU-wide occupational exposure limits. MEPs succeeded in including reprotoxic substances within the scope of the Directive for the first time. Reprotoxic substances are harmful to reproduction and can cause impaired fertility or infertility.

Parliament’s negotiators also secured an agreement that healthcare workers who deal with hazardous medicinal products (HMPs), half of which are reprotoxic, must receive sufficient and appropriate training on how to handle them safely. The agreed text asks the Commission to develop a definition for, and establish an indicative list of, HMPs, to and prepare guidelines for handling these substances, particularly in hospitals, by the end of 2022.

Read more here.


New EU-AU Innovation Agenda to drive sustainable growth and jobs

Last week, the European and African State Leaders jointly acknowledged the development of an EU-AU Innovation Agenda, strategically designed to support sustainable growth and jobs, in particular for the youth.

As part of the Global Gateway Investment Package, the Innovation Agenda has four main objectives: translate innovative capacities and results into tangible outputs; strengthen innovation ecosystems; develop sustainable and mutually beneficial higher education and R&I partnerships; scale-up instruments and programmes that can take forward existing successful initiatives.

To reinforce public participation, transparency, and inclusion, the European and African Union Commissions launched a large consultation on this agenda, at the recent EU-Africa Business Forum.

In addition, a report published by the Advisory Group on the future of EU-Africa Research and Innovation cooperation set out their recommendations on how best to mainstream and boost R&I cooperation in four specific areas: health systems; R&I capacities; innovation and technology and green transition. The EU-AU Innovation Agenda includes evidence from this group of independent experts, working in Europe and in Africa.

Click here to read more.


EU challenges China’s defiance of intellectual property rules

According to Science|Business, “the EU today filed a case against China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for restricting EU companies from going to foreign court to protect and use their patents. 

China is infamous for disrespecting IP rights, enabling illegal use of EU companies’ technologies by Chinese industry. If patent holders do go to court over malpractice outside the country, China often retaliates by fining them. All this puts patent holders under pressure to settle for sub-par licensing fees. The EU argues such policy damages innovation and growth in Europe. 

The first step in the dispute is settlement consultations. If they do not lead to a solution within 60 days, the EU can then request the WTO to set up a panel to rule on the matter.”

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