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In today's Morning Brief:

State Aid exemptions: more money for research

The European Commission has finally adopted long-awaited state aid exemption rules for research, allowing member states to make targeted investments in R&D without prior scrutiny and approval from Brussels.

According to the new rules under General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), member states can now combine funding sources that are centrally managed in Brussels, such as Horizon Europe, with national and cohesion funds. Member states will be able to spend EU structural funds to co-finance Horizon Europe partnerships and research projects that receive the European Commission’s seal of excellence.

Member states are exempted from the obligation to carry out an evaluation of the research projects already assessed under Horizon Europe and its predecessor, Horizon 2020. The exemption applies to:

  • Financial aid for small and medium sized enterprises running R&D projects;
  • Aid for Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions and European Research Council Proof of Concept projects awarded a seal of excellence.
  • Aid provided to a co-funded research and development project or a feasibility study implemented by at least three member states, or two member States and at least one associated country, if the project was evaluated by independent experts in transnational calls, according to Horizon rules
  • Aid provided to co-funded teaming actions involving at least two member states, if evaluated under Horizon rules.

More details are available here.



Commission launches call for expression of interest for working group on offshore renewable energies

The European Commission is launching today a call for expression of interest open to all relevant stakeholder organisations to become a member of a new working group on offshore renewable energy under the framework of the clean energy industrial forum. Following on from last year’s Commission Strategy for Offshore Renewable Energy, the mandate of the group will be to help contribute to reaching the EU’s offshore renewable energy ambitions of an installed capacity of at least 60 GW offshore wind and at least 1 GW of ocean energy by 2030, with a view to achieving capacity of at least 300 GW and 40 GW respectively by 2050. The deadline for applications is 10 September 2021.


Report “Co-creating knowledge for food systems transformation”

The High-Level Expert Group (HLEG), assembled by the European Commission in 2021, is tasked to explore the needs, feasibility and options for enhancing science-policy interfaces (SPIs) that could kick start and substantially support the ambitious goal of food systems transformation in the coming decades. The experts have analysed a number of existing science policy interfaces and conclude that, while a number of them work very well, an additional framework linking local, national, regional and international levels as well as different facets of the food sector, will be required. 

The Expert Group will draw on the outcome of the Pre-Summit meeting in July and the UN Food Systems Summit to elaborate a more detailed proposal on this additional framework during the second phase of their work, due for completion in the first half of 2022.

The publication of the HLEG, titled “Everyone at the table. Co-creating knowledge for food systems transformation”, is available here.


Approved 25 new steel and coal projects supporting the European Green Deal

The programme increases its investment in tackling climate and environmental challenges in line with the European Green Deal and the Just Transition mechanism.

The maximum EU contribution for these new projects is around €32 million. Among other things, the projects will work on solutions for:

  • Retrofitting coal power plants for alternative fuels
  • Developing new economic strategies for coal-mining regions in transition
  • Reducing emission from steel production
  • Looking at ultra-low carbon steel for buildings
  • Optimising steel production processes

The names and details of all the funded projects can be found here.


EARTO recommendations on European Partnerships

The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), of which INESC is a member, has published its recommendations regarding industrial EU research partnerships. According to EARTO, policymakers should consider the role of non-profits, such as research and technology organisations and universities, in industrial EU research partnerships when designing them. As the EU member states, with the help of the European Parliament, are currently hashing out the details of the rules governing 10 new industrial partnerships in fields like hydrogen, rail and health innovation, EARTO is urging them not to forget the specificities of the non-industry members of the partnerships in the process. The association wants non-profit partners to have laxer and clearly defined rules for in-kind contributions and encourages the partnerships to keep a fair balance between different technology readiness levels among other asks.


Spain announces €141M for science missions in 2022

Spain is to increase the budget for its science and innovation missions programme by 41% in 2022, science and innovation minister Diana Morant has announced on Monday. The government will allocate a total of €141 million for the 2022 call, €19.5 of which will go to projects carried out by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Money from the missions programme will go to projects in combating climate change, speeding up the transition to less harmful energy sources, the circular economy and the digitization of industry.  


More Articles

31/05/2022: BioData.PT Session 3, EU AI Law, European Sustainable Energy Week, LIFE Awards 2022 Winners, EU Green Deal, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– BioData.PT Talks Session 3: Recent Artificial Intelligence Tools and Architectures for Structural Biology;
– EUA Policy Input: Considerations for a “European Degree”;
– Putting Science into Standards;
– The EU AI law will not be future-proof unless it regulates general purpose AI systems;
– European Sustainable Energy Week: Going green and digital for Europe’s energy transition;
– European Commission reveals winners of LIFE Awards 2022;
– Interact with statistics for the European Green Deal;
– EU countries urged to prepare for Russian gas cut: Summit draft.

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30/05/2022: INESC TEC Workshop, EU Cancer Plan, Eurostat, Defunct Satellites, Hydrogen, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– INESC TEC coordinated a workshop on Machine Learning;
– Access to financial products for persons with a history of cancer in EU Member States;
– Eurostat regional yearbook: From traditional printed publication to modern interactive tool;
– ‘World-first’ project for capturing defunct satellites ramps up;
– Hydrogen: BAM sets up digitally networked research filling station to increase safety of technology;
– EFCA coordinates EU efforts to monitor the bluefin tuna fishing season;
– Zero Pollution Monitoring and Outlook Workshop – Report;
– Commission outlines defence R&D priorities in new €924M work programme.

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26/05/2022: INESC-ID research grants, new MSCA platform, Horizon Europe UK backup, REPowerEU, Fit for 55, and more.

In today’s Morning Brief:
– INESC-ID: Nuno Lopes receives research grants from Google and Woven Alpha;
– EU ramping up efforts for strategic autonomy in raw materials;
– Laurence Moreau appointed head of the ERC executive agency;
– Event: The UK’s Position in Global Science and Innovation;
– New MSCA networking platform for future applicants;
– Application system opens for UK Horizon backup grants;
– Fraunhofer elects three new executive vice-presidents;
– FaST Navigator study identifies models necessary to provide accurate advice on the use of fertilisers to EU farmers;
– Germany’s pacifist universities pose obstacle to militarisation of EU R&D;
– Webinar: The European Standardisation Booster;
– MSCA Cluster event on Mission Ocean and Waters;
– REPowerEU: Commission establishes the EU Energy Platform Task Force to secure alternative supplies;
– Horizon Europe mission on carbon-neutral cities kicks into gear;
– Fit for 55: New EU carbon sink goal will increase 2030 reduction target;
– A new Blue Economy Observatory to monitor and promote the sustainability of our ocean related activities;
– Zero Pollution Monitoring and Outlook Workshop – Report.

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