Welcome to today’s Morning Brief. The Morning Brief newsletter is available to INESC staff and affiliated researchers upon subscription (weekly or daily), after creating an account in the Private Area of the HUB website, or those who wish to subscribe. To do so, click the log-in icon on the top-right corner of this website or go to the Morning Brief page and click the subscribe button.

Happy Friday! In this Morning Brief, we open with the news that Spain is putting €200 million into four strategic research programmes, the exploratory talks on the association of New Zealand and Canada to Horizon Europe have concluded and formal negotiations are going to begin, the European Commission has published its second report assessing the implementation of the Nuclear Safety Directive, don’t miss the first wave of EU4Health calls and the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) kick-off and brokerage event, 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:

Spain to put €200 million in four strategic research programmes

Spain’s regions are set to invest €200 million, of which €116.5 million will be provided by the national government, in agri-food, astrophysics and high-energy physics, advanced materials and biodiversity research.

The funding is part of a new type of initiative supported by EU recovery funds that sees money flowing to strategic research areas. Last year, the first such projects saw investments in renewable energy and hydrogen, marine sciences, quantum communication and biotechnology. The total budget for the eight research areas is €444.8 million until 2025.

More than 200 research centres and universities will take part in the programme, with 1,000 new research and support staff expected to be hired to deliver the projects.

Read more here.


Conclusion of exploratory talks on the association of New Zealand and Canada to Horizon Europe: towards formal negotiations

The informal exploratory talks launched on 10 February 2022 between the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and on 15 July 2021 between DG Research and Innovation and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), have reached a conclusion.

These exploratory talks have paved the way to move towards the next stage of the process, the formal negotiation of the association agreement. They provided all parties with the opportunity to discuss the technical aspects of the envisaged association, including the prospective terms and conditions for participation in Horizon Europe actions and in the Programme’s governance.

The Commission will now prepare recommendations to the Council to launch the two negotiation processes and seek negotiating directives. Once the Council adopts such directives, the formal negotiations could commence upon readiness of New Zealand and of Canada. All parties expressed the hope that New Zealand and Canada could be associated to Horizon Europe as from 2023.

With Horizon Europe, association, which offers the closest systemic form of international cooperation within the EU’s Research and Innovation Framework Programme, is a possibility open for the first time to countries with a good capacity in science, technology and innovation, and located beyond the EU’s geographic vicinity. Exploratory talks are also progressing with the Republic of Korea.


Time to re-think the divide between academic and support staff

In recent years, we have seen ‘support’ jobs become more important at research organizations, including roles such as data stewards, research software engineers, scientific community managers and programme managers. We have seen how a diversity of roles and contributions drives progress and success in research and innovation.

We have come to see the sharp distinction between ‘academics’ and ‘support staff’ as a barrier to effective research because it discourages a culture of collaboration and appreciation of a diversity of roles and contributions.

As professionals, we make a significant contribution alongside conventional academics. Like many of our colleagues in ‘support’ roles, we are well connected with the academic community. We work in partnership with researchers, contributing unique expertise and skills. We have academic credentials. We write papers, books, grant proposals, reports and manuals. We train students and academic staff; manage projects; organize and present at conferences and workshops; and lead developments in our areas of expertise. We are knowledge brokers, able to translate generic infrastructure, tools and policies into practical solutions that make research more efficient.

Well-functioning teams rely on the sharing of responsibilities and credit. For research to advance and progress, diverse personnel must be able to contribute their talent and skills without being too restricted by conventional hierarchies.

In our experience, the structure of many academic institutions limits the way in which professional support staff can contribute to the research process. Here are some of the steps the sector can make to change that culture.


Commission publishes its second report assessing implementation of Nuclear Safety Directive

The Commission adopted today its second progress report showing the progress achieved by EU countries in implementing the Nuclear Safety Directive, as amended in 2014. In broad terms, the Commission concludes that there is a good overall level of implementation of the Directive’s obligations, and highlights the significant progress made by Member States in the 10 years since the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. However, it notes that there is still room for improvement, and recommends further reporting by EU countries on the actions taken in the highlighted areas.

Accompanied by a detailed staff working document, the report provides a comprehensive overview of the governance of the safety of nuclear installations in the EU. It is based primarily on the national reports submitted by EU countries in 2020, but also takes into account findings from the assessment of the Directive’s transposition, results of the EU Stress Tests and of the first Topical Peer Review, conclusions of international reviews and issues raised by EU citizens and other EU institutions.

The Commission will support and facilitate the process of further improvements in nuclear safety, working closely with EU countries and their regulatory authorities, with the licensees and with other stakeholders, including civil society.


Who will be the Commission’s new research chief?

According to Science|Business, “The departure of Jean-Eric Paquet, the head of the European Commission’s directorate general for research and innovation (DG-RTD), has not been officially confirmed as yet, but the Brussels rumour mill is already churning out potential replacements. Paquet has been working for the Commission since 1993 and after four years at the helm of the research directorate, he hopes to take up a new job as EU ambassador to Japan later this year. The Commission has yet to start the official process of recruiting a replacement, but Brussels insiders are speculating that Paquet’s successor could be a woman from eastern Europe. Such a move would improve the gender balance among the Commission’s top jobs, but perhaps more importantly, it would give a strong political signal to advocates of a more equitable geographical distribution of EU research funds. Under Horizon 2020 less than 6% of the budget went to member states that joined the bloc after 2004, with the bulk of the grant money going to Germany, France, UK and other rich countries. Since the beginning of her mandate in 2019, research and innovation commissioner Mariya Gabriel, a Bulgarian national, has been pushing for a revamp of the European Research Area (ERA), a long-standing goal of creating a single market for research in the EU, to reform national R&D systems and to boost public and private investment in R&D in all member states, thereby improving participation across the EU in the Horizon Europe programme. The ERA plan has been set in motion and the EU recently set up the ERA Forum, a new body to oversee the implementation of 20 policy goals by 2024. The forum is being coordinated by the Commission and member states. It’s unclear whether appointing an eastern European at the top of the research directorate could have an immediate impact on ERA policies.”.


First wave of EU4Health calls 2022

EU4Health, with a budget of €5.3 billion, is the fourth and largest of the EU health programmes. The EU4Health programme goes beyond an ambitious response to the COVID-19 crisis to address the resilience of European healthcare systems. The programme provides funding to national authorities, health organisations and other bodies through grants and public procurement, contributing to a healthier Europe.

HaDEA implements the EU4Health programme by managing calls for proposals and tenders from 2021 to 2027.

HaDEA published eight calls for proposals under the EU4Health 2022 Annual Work Programme. The topics focus among others on innovative approaches to cancer screening, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental health, health technology and workforce.

The total budget amounts to €107.3 million and the deadline for applications is 24 May 2022, 17:00 (CET).

Click here for more information.


The Guild’s universities lead the change towards sustainable behaviour

Besides providing excellent research and teaching to tackle climate change, universities are responding to the increasing thread of global warming by reducing their own carbon footprint. By making practical changes to reduce energy consumption and encouraging sustainable mobility, the universities can lead by example and act as catalysts for lasting change among their students and staff.

What links these actions is the commitment by universities to lead by example, to address climate change not just through teaching, research and innovation – but also through the commitment of its own communities. For students and staff, addressing climate change is critical not because of the priorities of policy-makers. The science and our shared sense of ethics and responsibility unite us across Europe’s universities that addressing climate change through our own practice is the right thing to do.

Enabling sustainability in communities at home and abroad.

Addressing sustainability through new technologies.


Europe outlines 9-step plan to save energy, Ukraine and the planet

According to EURACTIV, “Together with the European Commission, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has presented a 9-step plan to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, save households’ money, and protect the climate. As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its third month, energy prices are higher than ever and households are buckling under the strain. To alleviate the impact on the poorest, policymakers are turning towards a tested concept: energy conservation. “Energy saving actions by EU citizens could save enough oil to fill 120 supertankers and enough gas to heat 20 million homes – and save a typical EU household an average of nearly €500 a year,” the IEA’s Fatih Birol said on Thursday (21 April). Together with the EU executive, his agency has come up with nine actions that citizens can take in order to “save money, reduce reliance on Russian energy, support Ukraine and help the planet.” EU citizens are shocked by the “human tragedy and humanitarian disaster” in Ukraine, said Ditte Juul Jørgensen, EU-Commission Director-General for Energy. “The one thing that each of us can do individually, at home and at work, is to save energy,” she told a webinar presenting nine steps that citizens can take to save energy.”.


European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Policy Event

On 3 May, EOSC Future is organising, in collaboration with the EOSC Association, the EOSC Steering Board, the European Commission and University of Strasbourg, an EOSC Policy event in Strasbourg, France.

The one-day event will centre on the European policy context surrounding and supporting the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative. The agenda’s panel discussions and presentations will tackle a host of trending topics, using concrete implementation examples, including the status and progress of open science, EOSC more generally, FAIR data and policies.

Find out more and how to register here.


European State of the Climate (ESOTC) 2021 Report

The European State of the Climate (ESOTC) 2021 is the fifth in a series of annual ESOTC reports, typically released in April each year. It is one of the products in the C3S portfolio of climate monitoring services, alongside the monthly Climate Bulletins and the C3S Climate Indicators, which all cover the globe, Europe and the polar regions, but with varying emphasis.

The ESOTC 2021 report includes a short overview of the global context during the year, a more comprehensive overview of conditions in Europe, and a focus on the Arctic. It provides a detailed analysis, with descriptions of climate conditions and events, and explores the associated variations in key climate variables from across all parts of the Earth system. The key findings for each section can be found in the ESOTC Summary. In addition to summarising the ESOTC sections, the Summary also outlines the latest updates of the C3S Climate Indicators.

The ESOTC 2021 relies largely on datasets provided operationally and in near real-time by the Copernicus Services, to give an overview of 2021 in the long-term context. Data and reports from other monitoring activities are also included, when this has been considered informative and complementary. The operational data are freely accessible via data catalogues, mainly via the C3S Climate Data Store (CDS), but also via other repositories, such as the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) Atmosphere Data Store (ADS). These operational data services build on extensive research and development undertaken by institutions across Europe and the rest of the world.

Find out more here.


Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) kick-off and brokerage event

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) is launching its first calls for proposal in late June and it is time to start thinking about building partnerships at our kick-off and brokerage event. This one-day hybrid event will take place on 14 June 2022 at Hotel Le Plaza Brussels, where creating project proposals and building strong, effective consortia are at the core of the day. We aim to provide pertinent information; allow open and honest discussion as well as network building through face-to-face and virtual meetings.

Whether you are in the room or in a virtual environment, you will be able to book meetings through an online platform with representatives who have an interest in the same topics. This is a great opportunity to have face-to-face or virtual project idea discussions and to find partners to build a strong consortium.

Find out more here.

More Articles

26/05/2023: New Horizon Europe calls, a global drive for open science, European Commission DG RTD recent reorganisation, EU-China & much more

In today’s Morning Brief:
Horizon Europe
– Twinning call for proposals is open – Read all about it
– Horizon Europe ERA Fellowships call is now open
– EUR 20 million available for Pathways to synergies – Call for proposals
– New Horizon Europe funding opportunity: Dissemination & Exploitation Support Facility call
– Commission Open Call: Expert Group on the Interim Evaluation of Horizon Europe
– Industry 5.0 Award contest opens: apply by 1 September 2023
– Horizon Europe: The EU and the Republic of Korea launch formal negotiations on association to the programme
– European Space Agency chief seeks ‘forward-looking decisions’
Research & Innovation:
– EU research ministers make fresh call for a full transition to free open access publishing
– Open Science: stakeholders welcome European efforts towards publicly owned and not-for-profit scholarly communication
– Global drive for more open, rigorous research is growing
– European Commission sets up new European Innovation Council unit in the research directorate
– Spain wants EU presidency to be ‘bridge’ with Latin American R&D
– Green industry law haunted by old conflicts over nuclear, financing
– The five EU research projects involving China’s military-linked universities
– Critical Raw Materials: EU ministers want to move fast but dilemmas abound
– G7 ministers call for rules to improve research security
– Territorial Economic Data viewer supports policy monitoring
News from INESC institutes:
– INESC Brussels HUB is signing an Open Letter regarding changes to Who is Who in EC Directorate
– ECI Cruelty-free cosmetics – Consultation to adhere to joint final statement
– Structuring the ecosystem: RTOs collaboration with higher education institutions
– INESC TEC develops pioneering research in the application of variational quantum circuits to reinforcement learning
– INOV: MULTICAM prototypes, an online presentation on Blockchain and 5000 followers
– Job Opportunities
Events & Training workshops

Read More »

19/05/2023: HUB Summer Meeting, Digital Europe Programme, Regional Innovation Valleys, European R&I funding and policy, and much more

In today’s Morning Brief:
Horizon Europe
– Commission Expert Group on the Interim Evaluation of Horizon Europe
– Commission launches first €122M call to create regional innovation ecosystems
– New calls for proposals of the Digital Europe Programme
Research & Innovation:
– EU research commissioner Mariya Gabriel resigns
– France to boost funding for health research infrastructures and UK to invest £100M in improving RIs
– Commission takes European Innovation Council management under its wing
– Industry 5.0 Award: The contest is open for applications
– AI Act moves ahead in EU Parliament with key committee vote
– Defence industry renews call for R&D spending boost
News from INESC institutes:
– Technology and Law: building a virtuous relationship, by Graça Barbosa
– The 2022 INESC-ID AnnualReport is out
– Exciting news from H2020-RESCUER
– Launch of the New Horizon Europe Project SYCLOPS
– INESC TEC supports the implementation of robotic technologies to reduce the ecological footprint
– INESC TEC develops virtual reality app to support youngster looking for jobs
– Job Opportunities
Events & Training workshops

Read More »

05/05/2023: HE calls update, cohesion policy, open access, open science, cohesion policy and coordination of national and EU R&D policy.

In today’s Morning Brief:
Horizon Europe
– Horizon Europe – easy call and topic search
– From KOWI: MSCA: Model Working Contract for Doctoral Networks published
Research & Innovation:
– Report on the outcome of 2021-2027 cohesion policy programming
– Spain adopts national open access strategy
– Commission attempts to strengthen coordination between national R&D policies and EU research programs
– Commission Plans to launch a European Standardisation Panel survey
– Research funders draw attention to uneven implementation of open science
– EIT Climate to become financially sustainable by end of 2024
– Preparing for Belgium’s Thirteenth Presidency of the Council of the European Union
– African Union-European Union High Level Policy Dialogue – Science, Technology and Innovation. Senior official meet to endorse the AU-EU Innovation Agenda
News from INESC institutes:
– INESC MN has a new publication in Advanced Materials Journal
– INOV projects on Youtube
– Diogo Vaz published an article in Público
– Job Opportunities
Events & Training workshops

Read More »