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 disseminate a concept note that has been distributed to ERA stakeholders on the reform of the research assessment system. This is crucial for institutes such as INESC and universities. A key difficulty of many is indeed the balance between research and other academic activities, namely teaching workload. This created severe underappreciation of management and outreach activities, among others. It is also well known that the research assessment generally used so far has triggered an imbalance across disciplines and skewed research towards high impact publications. The HUB is looking into this through the POB and in articulation with EARTO. On a related note, check also the study on Open Access just published by the EC.

Portugal was represented in a global meeting about Quantum technologies by INESC researcher, Luís Barbosa (INESC TEC), a participation promoted by the AICEP Belgium office.

Then, a few newsbytes, with a particular emphasis on collaboration between Higher Education institutions, which, in my point of view, is clearly related and applicable to collaboration between all research performing institutions. 

In today's Morning Brief:

In today’s Morning Brief:

Reform of the Research Assessment System

EC DG RTD is working on a Concept Note on “Reforming the Research Assessment System”, which has now been circulated for comments to stakeholders. The main motives underlying a reform of research assessment vary depending on the level at which it is applied. Research assessment for recruitment or career evaluation should acknowledge the full range of research outputs and careers should be evaluated not only on the basis of research performance, but also other activities such as teaching, leadership and outreach to society. A reformed assessment system for assessing individual researchers is expected to be based on qualitative judgement for which peer-review is central, supported by responsibly used quantitative indicators. The document is now available in the HUB Private Area and is being circulated for comments by each institution through POB representatives. Deadline is, as always, very short.


Monitoring the open access policy of Horizon 2020

A new report by DG RTD examines, monitors and quantifies compliance with the open access requirements of Horizon 2020, for both publications and research data. With a steadily increase over the years and an average success rate of 83% open access to scientific publications, key findings indicate that the European Commission’s leadership in the Open Science policy has paid off. The study concludes with specific recommendations to improve the monitoring of compliance with the policy under Horizon Europe – which has a more stringent and comprehensive set of rights and obligations for Open Science. The data management plan and the datasets of the study are also available on data.europa.eu, the official portal for European data. Download the full report here.


Switzerland will temporarily fund ERC proposals with own funds

As things stand, researchers in Switzerland can no longer submit proposals to the ERC advanced grants scheme or MSCA postdoctoral fellowships. SERI and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) scheme will bridge the funding gap. Proposals submitted from Switzerland before the June ban to calls for ERC starting and consolidator grants are being evaluated by the Commission and will be funded by SERI if successful. Researchers with an ERC grant in 2021 who are moving to Switzerland to do the work will also get funding from the SNSF to continue their projects. Full article here.


INESC participation global discussion on quantum technologies

This week, Luis Barbosa, researcher at INESC TEC, participated in a discussion promoted by the Government of Quebec, on quantum technologies. The discussion brought together research and business entities from the EU and across the world, namely Canada and the US, and we are now in the phase of further exploration of those contacts for future joint activities and projects. The Portuguese participation was promoted by AICEP Belgium, who contacted the HUB to represent Portugal in this event. You can find out more about the EU-Quebec collaboration platform in this link.


UK starts construction of new £93 million quantum computing centre

Based within the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, the new research institution represents a £93 million investment through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It is being delivered jointly by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). More information on the site of UKRI.


New ERC President, Maria Leptin, to take over on 1st November

Official engagements this October have delayed Maria Leptin’s move to become president of the European Research Council, by one month. Leptin will now step into the post on 1 November, leaving ERC without a president for two months. Until then, ERC’s vice presidents will cover for her. Leptin’s move from the post of director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) to replace French mathematician Jean-Pierre Bourguignon as the head of ERC, was announced in June, following a year-long search. Bourguignon bowed out at the end of July, after stepping in as interim president when previous incumbent Mauro Ferrari left at short notice. Leptin confirmed previous professional commitments prevented her from taking office sooner and her four-year contract is currently being prepared for 1 November. Check this ScienceBusiness article for more details.


U-Multirank creates new ‘Higher Education Cooperation Index’

In its eighth annual publication, U-Multirank showcases how universities that collaborate with their local ecosystem and across borders perform better than those that do not. The findings show that European universities cooperate more intensively in comparison to other regions, especially in the performance areas of teaching & learning, research, knowledge exchange and internationalisation. By comparing data on almost 2,000 universities across a six-year span, U-Multirank shows that despite the global effects of COVID-19, external cooperation is still a major part of higher education. More information on the U-Multirank website.


2022: Year of Youth and ERASMUS as a tool to promote European Education Area

The European Commission announced a significant upgrade to the app for students studying abroad on an EU-funded scheme, a week after EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced she would push to make 2022 the ’Year of European Youth‘. The new app will allow students to select their study destination abroad on their phone, sign the necessary documents and get useful tips about the place where they are going, including from their peers. The full details on the new European Student Card, also provided by the new app, can be found here. The drive to connect higher education institutions hosting students is part of a wider Commission push for more integration between EU countries, supposed “to create a genuine European space of learning” by 2025. Check this link to know more about the European Education Area (EEA) and this link for a full EurActiv article on the announcement by the EC President on ERASMUS.

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