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In today's Morning Brief:

First calls of the European Innovation Ecosystems Work Programme

A novelty under Horizon Europe, the European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) Work Programme aims to create the ground for a sustainable, robust and integrated European innovation ecosystem. Its main objective is to support the scaling of companies and spurring innovation to address important challenges.

The EIE calls are now open for submission and are grouped under three main destinations: CONNECT, SCALEUP and INNOVSMES.

  • The actions of the SCALEUP destination reinforce network connectivity within and between innovation ecosystems, accelerate sustainable business growth and promote female leadership in deep tech. Three EIE SCALEUP calls with a total budget of € 13.75 million are open for submission until 10 November 2021.
  • The CONNECT destination offers a holistic package of actions that foster the implementation of co-funded multi-annual programmes of activities among Member States, Horizon Europe Associated Countries and EU regions; it encourages the inclusion of more stakeholders from across the quadruple helix and stimulates innovation procurement to help the market uptake of innovative solutions. Two EIE CONNECT calls with a total budget of € 8 million are open for submission until 26 October 2021.
  • The INNOVSMES destination supports the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs. The INNOVSMES call with a total budget of € 72.8 million is open until 1 September 2021.

More information on the calls of the EIE Work Programme can be found here.

 

First EIC summit announced for 24-25 November

The new European Innovation Council, launched in March 2021, celebrates its first Summit on 24-25 November 2021. This is announced to be a hybrid event, taking place in Brussels and being streamed online. The Summit will attract high-growth European start-ups and innovators, in particular SMEs, researchers, corporates as well as potential investors and venture capitalists. It will provide a unique platform for all the participants to network and make business contacts.  The core programme of the event will focus on the EIC (Startup to Scaleup), ecosystem policy and emerging technologies. Finally, startups, innovative researchers and others can find out about future funding opportunities from the EIC.

 

EuroGEO workshop 2021 (20-23 September)

The annual EuroGEO workshop brings together European players interested in and actively contributing to the Global Earth Observations System of Systems (GEOSS). This year the workshop is organised by the European Commission (EC) and the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation with the support of MINES ParisTech. The event will take place from 21 to 23 September and will be fully online.

This edition will focus on the Earth-Observation-based solutions to support the European Green Deal while bringing the European community actively contributing to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). Read the full agenda of the event here. Registrations are already open and available here.

 

ERC president asks more attention to fundamental research

The outgoing president of the European Research Council Jean-Pierre Bourguignon called for an end to the current “boom and bust” approach to basic research funding, at a meeting of EU science ministers in Slovenia on Monday.

As things stand, the budget for curiosity-driven research in Horizon Europe has fallen by 7% compared to the predecessor programme, Horizon 2020, Bourguignon told science ministers and the EU research commissioner Maryia Gabriel. The EU recently made it clear that it wants to focus more on developing technologies needed to adapt to climate change, and to be able to compete against Asia in quantum computing and artificial intelligence. Read more on Science Business.

 

New alliances to foster microchips and cloud technologies

The European Commission launched two alliances bringing together industry, member states and other organisations to co-invest in semiconductor and cloud and edge computing, in a move designed to reduce reliance on foreign technologies.

The two initiatives are part of the EU’s revamped industrial strategy, inspired after shortages of imported drugs and protective equipment experienced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic brought home the extent to which the EU is reliant on other countries for the manufacturing of essential goods and technologies. The semiconductor initiative aims to boost local production and bring back design and manufacturing from Asia, reversing the trend offshoring to countries with a lower cost base that began in the late 1990s, signalling the end of Europe’s position as a major semiconductor producer. Asia now accounts for 75% of global production of microchips. Read more on Science Business.

 

EU’s green hydrogen plans welcomed by industry

As part of its ‘Fit for 55’ package of climate legislation, the European Commission put forward several ways of boosting the use of renewable hydrogen. As part of the plans, the European Commission proposed a 50% target for “renewable fuels of non-biological origins” – essentially green hydrogen – in the share of hydrogen fuels used in European industry by 2030, whether as a feedstock or in final energy consumption.

That is “a true game-changer,” according to the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition, an industry group bringing together electricity companies such as Enel, Iberdrola and Orsted as well as wind industry giants like Vestas and Siemens Gamesa. However, reaching the EU’s 2030 climate goal will require a significant build-up in the production of renewable electricity, which is needed to feed the electrolysers generating green hydrogen. The package contained other objectives, like a 2.6% target for “renewable fuels of non-biological origin” used in transport, and more refuelling stations for hydrogen vehicles. Those were welcomed by industry body Hydrogen Europe, which said the new objectives will give a significant boost to the EU’s nascent hydrogen economy. Read more on Euractiv.

 

Digital euro: experts air their scepticism

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) decided last week to move to the investigation phase for its digital euro, a 24-month-long phase intended to “address key issues regarding design and distribution.” The digital euro would essentially be an electronic version of euro notes and coins, which will be safely stored directly on an ECB account rather than at a commercial bank. For the ECB, it is meant to become an additional payment solution and will not aim at replacing cash. The digital euro is expected to be safer compared to the private sector banking system, as there is always the remote possibility banks might become insolvent.

“The outcome of this process is not clear yet and might not be for a long time,” Hugo Coelho, former chief of staff to Eurogroup President Mario Centeno and partner at Forefront. “For the moment the digital euro remains flagrantly ill-defined,” he added, explaining that “it might well be the case that the first version of the digital euro will feel like a prepaid card of sorts and make little difference to our day-to-day lives, but it could change gradually.” Read more of this on Euractiv.

More Articles

30/7/2021: New INESC e-magazine just published, input wanted on the Future of Europe, lump-sum in HE, new HE associations, synergies amendment to State Aid exemptions, EU quantum infrastructure, health data, and the shortage of semiconductors

In today’s Morning Brief:
– New INESC publication: first issue of H magazine “Visions of the future”
– Conference on the Future of Europe: input wanted
– Lump-sum in Horizon Europe – New EC Decision
– New round of Horizon Europe associations: Armenia, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Western Balkans, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine
– Commission adopted the «Synergies amendment» to the State Aid General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)
– EU members commit to build EU quantum communication infrastructure
– EuropaBio welcomes the Health Data Space initiative
– Solutions needed for to the shortage of semiconductors in Europe

Read More »

28/7/2021: Pre-draft of Model Grant Agreement, Consultation on Low-Carbon Technologies, funding for low carbon technologies, Science Europe on the new ERA, and costs for regulating AI

In today’s Morning Brief:
– Commission releases pre-draft of the Horizon Europe Model Grant Agreement
– Consultation on Low-Carbon Industrial Technologies Prospect
– EU announces €122 million for 32 projects developing low carbon technologies
– Research funding agencies want a greater say in shaping new ERA
– Study warns of compliance costs for regulating Artificial Intelligence

Read More »

27/7/2021: State aid exemptions, working group on offshore renewable energies, report on food systems, new steel&coal projects, EARTO on partnerships, and Spain funds more science missions

In today’s Morning Brief:
– State Aid exemptions: more money for research
– Commission launches call for expression of interest for working group on offshore renewable energies
– Report “Co-creating knowledge for food systems transformation”
– Approved 25 new steel and coal projects supporting the European Green Deal
– EARTO recommendations on European Partnerships
– Spain announces €141M for science missions in 2022

Read More »