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In today's Morning Brief:

EIC Transition Calls are open

The first EIC Transition calls are now open. As this is a new scheme and as it was the case in the pilot, for 2021 it is restricted to applications based on results generated by EIC Pathfinder pilot projects (including projects funded under EIC pilot Pathfinder, Horizon 2020 FET-Open, FET-Proactive), FET Flagships calls (including ERANET calls under the FET work programme) and ERC Proof of Concept projects. The deadline for submission of proposals is 22 September 2021. More information and applications are available here.

EC online survey on Skills for researchers

Part of a larger study on “Knowledge ecosystems” (see endorsement letter), the EC is launching a consultation process to contribute to:

  • The design of the profile of researchers to be included in the European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO) This will include detailed information on the skills and occupations that researchers have in Europe. It will hence be a key reference to enable widespread recognition of the competences of researchers in and outside academia.
  • The development of a competence framework for researchers. This will show which competences are key for researchers and how these are expected to progress over the researchers´ careers. It will constitute a key tool for researchers, research organisations and policy makers.

The consultation will invite you to validate the list of specific skills of the profile of researchers to be included in the ESCO classification and to assess their relevance in view of their inclusion in the future competence framework. More information and the consultation are available here. The HUB will take this issue up in the Policy and Operations Board and coordinated a joint reflection and submission of answers.


Survey on the influences on research careers

The Walton Institute of Ireland are currently undertaking a study to examine the drivers and influences on researchers’ careers. To this purpose, they have elaborated a survey addressed to all active researchers in research institutions. Filling the survey takes around 15 minutes and can be done by clicking here.


European Commission webinar: The Funding & Tenders Portal for Beginners

If you want to freshen up on the workings of the participants portal check the agenda here and watch the livestream here. It will take place on the 27 May, from 10h to 12h CEST.


European Commission webinar “All you need to know on Dissemination and Exploitation under Horizon Europe”

Are you planning to apply for a Horizon Europe call? Don’t forget to prepare your Dissemination & Exploitation (D&E) section under the impact! In order to help you, the Commission is organising a webinar on D&E novelties under Horizon Europe on 9 June from 9:30 to 12:30 (CEST – Brussels time). In this session we will present the new rules on D&E, explain what you need to cover in your proposal. Still unclear about what the difference is between communication, dissemination and exploitation? Don’t worry, we will also clarify those concepts for you. We will also address the issue of Intellectual Property (IP) management in collaborative Horizon Europe projects and introduce the Horizon Results Platform and the Horizon Results Booster, two EC services to support you in your D&E activities and give more visibility to your research results. After this session you will be ready to embark for a successful D&E journey! There is no pre-registration required for this Webinar. All necessary information for participation is available at the event page.


R&I Days 2021 (reminder)

The annual EC flagship R&I event will take place on the 23-24 June and will include sessions on topics of importance for INESC and such as ERA, Open Science, Green & Digital transition, innovation ecosystems, missions, global R&I approach, or EU strategic autonomy. The programme is available on the event website.


EU Digital COVID Certificates (aka Passports) should be in use by July 1

Parliament and Council negotiators reached a deal Thursday to set up EU-wide COVID certificates — a crucial step to allowing people to travel more freely around the EU. The plan is to use the passes — in the form of a QR code in a paper or a digital format — to certify that travelers got jabbed or tested, or have antibodies from a previous infection; the certificates are supposed to be in use by July 1. A certificate will be valid with a vaccination, a PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 24 hours, or with a test proving the presence of antibodies taken within six months. See POLITICO’s report here and the EC formal communication on the issue here.


Council complements EU research legislative framework

The Council adopted a set of legal acts aimed at complementing the legal framework around Horizon Europe:

  • a decision establishing the specific programme implementing Horizon Europe, setting out the operational objectives and types of activities envisaged for implementing Horizon Europe;
  • a regulation on the Euratom programme complementing Horizon Europe, ensuring the continuation of nuclear research and training activities with an emphasis on the continuous improvement of nuclear safety, security and radiation protection;
  • a decision on the Strategic Innovation Agenda of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, setting out the priority fields and strategy of the EIT for the period 2021-2027 by defining the EIT’s objectives, key actions, mode of operation, expected results and resources needed.
  • amendments to the regulation on the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), aimed mainly at enhancing the financial sustainability and openness of Knowledge and Innovation Communities.


Weekend Read

The key 200 moments as reported by The Guardian since 1821

Those that enjoy good quality journalism know that The Guardian has been a bastion of the sector. It is now celebrating 200 years of existence. The Guardian has published more than 5m pieces of journalism since 1821. With the help of staff, readers, supporters and alumni, they picked 200 of the most powerful, and asked Guardian staff past and present to reflect on their enduring appeal.



The EU Council reading list on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area which has driven a lot of discourse lately.  Trustworthy AI can help improve our lives, solve societal challenges, increase the security of EU citizens, improve health systems and help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the technologies are evolving at an ever-increasing pace, often without adequate governance, oversight, or accountability measures. Consequently, artificial intelligence is high on the EU agenda. In October 2020, the German Presidency of the Council of the EU issued Presidency conclusions on the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the context of artificial intelligence and digital change. Designed to anchor the EU’s fundamental rights and values in the evolving era of digitalisation, the conclusions provide guidance on dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizens’ rights and justice.

On April 21 the European Commission proposed a set of actions to boost excellence in AI, and rules to ensure that the technology is trustworthy, transparent, ethical, unbiased and under human control. The Regulation on a European Approach for Artificial Intelligence and the update of the Coordinated Plan on AI aim to protect the safety and fundamental rights of citizens, whilst fostering innovation across EU countries. This is clearly an area that requires continuous evaluation. For that reason the Council Library has created a number of Library Guides to facilitate access to authoritative information in this ever-expanding area.

  • AI Library Guide: a guide to help you find authoritative information on matters relating to AI.
  • Responsible AI – ethics and regulation: Artificial intelligence can help improve lives, solve societal challenges, increase security of EU citizens, improve our health systems and help us fight the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, it can entail a number of risks which must be taken into consideration in the EU legislative process and policy making. This guide includes research publications on Artificial Intelligence and ethics.
  • Gender bias in AI: Artificial intelligence (AI) has limitless potential to offer benefits in areas as varied as language processing and medicine. But as AI uses data created by people as a starting point, it also inherits human flaws such as bias based on age, gender or race. For example, a program will often translate the English term ‘nurse’ using a female-gendered word, and render ‘doctor’ as a male noun. This bias in AI has the potential to widen the gender gap, and even endanger women’s lives.

To mark International Women’s Day, the General Secretariat of the Council has invited Malvina Nissim, Professor of Computational Linguistics at the University of Groningen, to give a presentation. Professor Nissim, whose research focuses on the interaction between human-made data and machine learning, will talk about how and to what extent human prejudices can be removed from AI.

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