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In today's Morning Brief:

Reminder: Horizon Europe Information Days start next week (28 June – 9 July)

Following the publication of Horizon Europe 2021-2022 work programmes, the EC will now organise the Horizon Europe Information Days, taking place from Monday 28 June to Friday 9 July. The sessions will address the 6 Horizon Europe Clusters, as well as the Research Infrastructures, MSCA and ERA/Widening parts of the framework programme.

Here is an overview of the programme:

Participation is open without registration (except for the Cluster 3).


EIC initiative for women founders of deep-tech start-ups

The European Innovation Council will launch on July 13th a call for applications for deep-tech start-ups led by women. Funded under the European Innovation Ecosystems work programme of Horizon Europe, Women TechEU is a brand new initiative of the European Union, offering first-class coaching and mentoring to female founders, as well as targeted funding to help take their business to the next level. It offers:

  • Financial support to the company as an individual grant of EUR 75 000 to support the initial steps in the innovation process, and the growth of the company,
  • Mentoring and coaching provided by the EIC Business Acceleration Services (BAS), under the new “Women Leadership Programme”, which include dedicated networking and pitching events,
  • The possibility to participate in dedicated activities organised by InvestEU and Enterprise Europe Network.

More information on the initiative can be found here.


Elsevier report: Portugal approaches gender equality in research

According to the latest Elsevier’s report on gender in research, titled “Gender in the Portugal Research Arena: A Case Study in European Leadership”, women represent nearly 50% of active scientific authors in Portugal. This result was achieved through a dramatic increase over the past two decades in women’s representation in research –nine percentage points – putting Portugal at the leading edge of closing the gender gap in research. Portugal’s leadership is the result of a coordinated approach, with key drivers being: changes coming from the top, attention of policymakers to gender research, targeted scholarships and awards for girls and women in science since the 1980s, etc. At the same time, though, the report points to persisting gender gaps in research that require stronger transformative efforts, and it reveals how these gaps tend to mimic and perpetuate structural inequalities between women and men.


Horizon Europe calls for research Infrastructures

The Horizon Europe calls for research infrastructures are now open. The new framework programme will endow Europe with world-class sustainable research infrastructures which are open and accessible to the best researchers from Europe and beyond. It will also encourage the use of existing research infrastructures, including those financed from funds under the EU’s Cohesion Policy.  The open calls can be accessed here. The deadline for applications is September 27, 2021.


EC signs 11 Horizon Europe partnerships

The first 11 Horizon Europe partnerships are officially up and running after the European Commission and industry associations signed a pact for cooperation at the Research & Innovation Days. The partnerships will pool €22 billion over the next seven years from industry and Horizon Europe, in a bid to accelerate innovation in sectors and technologies such as waterborne transport, batteries, photonics, artificial intelligence and greener steelmaking. Each partnership sets out their own goals, ranging from creating an open cloud for science data, developing a European ecosystem for batteries, to giving the manufacturing sector a green makeover.

One of the biggest partnerships, Processes4Planet, has a brief to put a green twist on energy intensive process industries such as manufacturing petroleum, chemicals, and paper and pulp products. There were meant to be 12 partnerships in this first Horizon Europe batch of industrial projects, but the space partnership has been grounded by the member states, with talks about its final shape expected to go on until October. Read more on the partnerships on Science|Business.


Horizon Europe associations: agreement to be reached by end of the year

As the publication of the Horizon Europe work programmes took longer than expected, the internal negotiations about HE associations were significantly delayed, too. Nonetheless, the agreements giving third countries access to the research programme should be ratified by the end of 2021, said Signe Ratso, European Commission chief negotiator for international association, at the Research & Innovation Days.

In a document dated 17 June the Commission encourages countries “with which association negotiations are being processed or where association is imminent” to join funding calls as a provisional workaround “until association agreements start producing legal effects.” Israel, the UK and 16 other countries are on the list, but Switzerland is excluded, since negotiations over Swiss contributions to the EU budget have reached an impasse. Read more on Science|Business.


University stakeholders call for a European Knowledge Act

To remove barriers to the circulation of knowledge between member states, the European Commission needs to set up a binding framework for knowledge sharing, says Karen Maex, rector of the University of Amsterdam. “We would need what some call a European Knowledge Act, so that we have a legally binding framework to share our knowledge,” Maex said in a panel discussion on the transformation agenda for universities at the Commission’s Research & Innovations Days event, earlier this week. Universities have been talking about binding frameworks for years, but the discussion is becoming topical again as the Commission works on the development of a pan-European strategy for Europe’s universities. Some level of convergence will be pivotal to the transformation, and this cannot be achieved without an easy way to share data, experience and knowledge. Read more on Science|Business.


Critical Chain Workshop (28 June)

REA is hosting next Monday June 28th, from 10 to 12 CEST, a workshop regarding the innovation introduced by Critical Chain Horizon 2020 projects. The workshop focuses on all banking innovations, from blockchain-based banking to payable smart contracts and mobile money. The workshop is titled “Blueprinting (Brown/Green) field Technology Adoption for the Open Banking Eco-System” and is targeted to a vast audience, including first adopters of emerging innovation from Critical-Chain, members of financial sector, and all other interested parties in banking innovations. The full agenda and registration can be accessed at this link.


EU Digital COVID Certificate is active in 16 EU countries

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is active in 16 EU countries. By 1 July all EU countries should be ready to facilitate safe and free movement across Europe. EU countries shall refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate, unless necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health. At the moment Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain are linked to the gateway. Would you like to know more? Read the FAQ on the EU Digital COVID Certificate here.

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