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In today's Morning Brief:

ESFRI prepares roadmap for research infrastructures in the new ERA

Setting up shared European research infrastructures is the key achievement of previous attempts to establish a single European Research Area (ERA), but these large labs are now caught in the cross hairs of European Commission plans to revitalise the single market for research, cuts to the budget, changes in oversight and increased controls over international collaborations. The question of how research infrastructures fit into ERA remains to be decided by the Commission, which in the thick of setting out the policy agenda, expected to be published this autumn.

“How ESFRI sits in ERA depends on the actions that will be defined,” said Jana Kolar, executive director of Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium and chair-elect of ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures). ESFRI will launch a new roadmap for research infrastructures in December, including proposals for eleven new labs worth a total of €4.16 billion. The 2018 edition of the roadmap was far more modest, with €674 million in total planned investments. Read more on Science Business.


Council of Europe wants to harmonise artificial intelligence ethics principles

Initiatives to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) have sprung up around the world, spearheaded by the likes of the OECD and UNESCO. It‘s time to harmonise and consolidate, a conference on AI ethics held under the auspices of Slovenia’s presidency of the EU Council heard this week. Between 2015 and 2020, 117 bodies of varying standing published AI ethics principles, and the number keeps growing. In total, 91 came out of Europe and North America. This high number shows there are hopes and concerns related to AI technologies, but also an interest in building some type of mechanism of consensus on AI governance,” said Marielza Oliveira, director for partnerships at the United Nations’ agency for education, science and culture (UNESCO).

“We are clearly at a developmental point where you’ve got a lot of actors right now contributing to this movement from principles to practice, and we simply need to work together in a multistakeholder way to harmonise these approaches,” said David Leslie, of the Council of Europe’s Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI). Read more on Science Business.


€120M for 11 projects looking into COVID-19 variants

The first large scale collaborative research projects to study SARS-CoV-2 variants under Horizon Europe is set to receive €120 million. The biggest is a €21 million project bringing together 156 organisations in 32 countries, to be led by the European Research Infrastructure on Highly pathogenic Agents based in Belgium.

Three of the projects, worth €30 million, will carry out clinical trials for new treatments and vaccines. Another six will build large-scale cohorts for COVID-19 variants, with a budget of €57 million. Another €12 million project will enable data sharing to support pandemic preparedness.


US lawmakers push carbon border tariff similar to EU’s CBAM

Despite criticisms, the EU climate package demonstrates to have been a game changer of climate laws worldwide – and has its fans abroad already. Democrats in the US Senate are considering a “polluter import fee”, similar to the EU’s recently unveiled carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), to help fund President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion recovery package. A Democratic aide said the deal reached by leading Senate Democrats last week would include a proposal for a “polluter import fee” applicable to carbon-intensive goods entering the US.

The EU proposal has already stoked fears among emerging countries like China, which raised “grave concerns” about the carbon levy creating new barriers to trade. But the European Commission, which tabled the proposal last week, says the EU’s carbon border levy also aims to incite Europe’s trading partners to decarbonise. “CBAM as we call it is not a tax, it’s an environmental measure,” said Paolo Gentiloni, a former Italian Prime Minister who is now the EU’s economy commissioner. Read more on Euractiv.

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19/05/2022: REPower EU, Green Transition, Natura 2000 awards, EU Blue Economy Report, Women in the Blue Economy, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– REPower EU: A plan to rapidly reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels and fast forward the green transition;
– Research and Innovation to REPower the EU;
– ASEM Global Lifelong Learning Week;
– Scientists from the University of Coimbra test new intelligent monitoring systems for vineyards;
– Natura 2000 Awards: EU recognises excellence in nature protection across Europe;
– EU urges building insulation push in bid to end reliance on Russian gas;
– Finland, Japan open call for research cooperation;
– EU Blue Economy report: Ocean economy fuels European green transition;
– The “Women in the Blue Economy” call for proposals is now open;
– EPFL: A new law unchains fusion energy.

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18/05/2022: Climate Change, Artificial Intelligence, Russian gas supply, Partnerships for Regional Innovation, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– Renewable energy industry says EU fund for clean tech is failing its mission;
– The Guild: Diversity, sustainability and quality must be the hallmarks of academic publishing in Europe;
– Climate change: MEPs push for accelerated EU action and energy independence;
– EU and US edge closer together on AI at latest Trade and Technology Council meeting;
– Open Call: New EU TalentOn invites young, academic talent to find solutions for our most pressing challenges;
– Commission launches EPREL database to help consumers on energy efficient products;
– LEAK: EU countries urged to prepare for Russian gas ‘supply shock’;
– Forging sustainable timber construction in Europe;
– President Zelensky urges US universities to help rebuild Ukraine’s higher education system;
– Partnerships for Regional Innovation: 63 regions, seven cities and four Member States selected for Pilot Action.

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17/05/2022: Renewable Energies, Lump Sum Funding in Horizon Europe, EU Missions, Gender Equality, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– In focus: Employment in EU’s renewable energy sector;
– Webinar: Lump Sum Funding in Horizon Europe: How does it work? How to write a proposal?;
– Horizon Europe – EU Missions calls 2022: Virtual brokerage event;
– BAM and BTU team up to close Germany’s skills gap in hydrogen technologies;
– A plan for achieving gender equality in the research and innovation system;
– SymbNET PhD Summer school on host-microbe symbioses;
– Tracking agricultural-related deforestation.

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