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Happy Monday! In this Morning Brief, we let you know of a new series of webinars starting this March 2022 by the UT Austin Portugal Program dedicated to a new generation of Big Data and HPC applications, the European Commission will also be holding the 5th Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference so don’t forget to register for these! Continuing with the unfortunate pattern of next week, more countries are imposing sanctions on Russia due to its continued invasion of Ukraine. Energy inflation rate continues an upward hike in Europe, and Ukraine’s energy system is currently coping but faces damage as the war carries on, 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:

Towards a New Generation of Big Data & HPC Applications – First Webinar

The UT Austin Portugal Program is pleased to announce the second webinar series under the 2019 Strategic Research Project BigHPC: Towards a New Generation of Big Data & HPC Applications.

This webinar series will focus on the concrete applications of High-Performance Computing and Big Data and discuss the most relevant scientific and technological advancements in the field.

The first webinar, titled “Linking GitOPS towards fast innovation over BigHPC”, will happen this March 10, at 15h00 GMT and it will address GitOPS, a way to implement the continuous deployment and software quality best practices in High-Performance Computing. Attendance is free of charge, but registration is mandatory through this form.

For more information about the webinar topics and the expert participants that you will be interacting with click here!.


Energy inflation rate continues upward hike, hits 27%

Energy annual inflation in the EU hit 27% in January 2022, continuing the upward trend. This information comes from data published by Eurostat recently.

Following its lowest rate in five years in May 2020 (-11%), energy inflation started to increase but continued to show negative rates up until February 2021, varying between -9% and -1%. From March 2021, energy inflation was positive and increased almost continuously, reaching 26% in November 2021 and 27% in January 2022.

The inflation rate for energy is the highest since the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) was first published in 1997. In October 2021, it surpassed the highest point recorded so far: 17% in July 2008. Click here for more Eurostat information on this issue.


EU should sever scientific ties with Russia, says leading German MEP

According to this Science|Business article, “A leading German member of the European Parliament urged the EU to sever all scientific relations with Russia, stepping up pressure from Berlin to use science as a diplomatic weapon against Moscow. Christian Ehler, one of the Parliament’s leading science negotiators, said the European Commission should immediately stop payments to Russian participants in its Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe research programmes, and terminate the participation of Russian entities. “I call on the European Commission and Council of the EU to cut off all scientific and research relations with the Russian Federation,” Ehler said in a statement issued late Friday. That would include ending the EU’s formal science and technology agreement with Russia. Ehler is a lead rapporteur on Horizon.”.


The Clean Energy for EU Islands secretariat launches its new website

The Clean energy for EU islands secretariat – an initiative of the European Commission – has launched its new website with the aim of becoming the central platform for the clean energy transition of the more than 2,200 inhabited European islands.

The Clean energy for EU islands website showcases best practices of islands for the clean energy transition. It informs on policy and regulatory issues for Europe’s island communities and provides advice on how to define a transition agenda together with stakeholders and how to implement clean energy projects..


Ukraine’s energy system coping but risks major damage as war continues

“The country’s energy system is under as much control as it can be given the circumstances, with some local disturbances, but no major impacts yet, representatives from the Ukrainian energy company DTEK told journalists in a press conference. However, they warned that things change by the hour and that, although Russian forces are not targeting critical energy infrastructure at this stage, it is not guaranteed that a stray rocket would not damage something like a transformer or nuclear power plant. According to Ukrainian’s Ministry of Infrastructure, there have already been risks. The Ukrainian air defence shot down a rocket heading towards the dam of the Kyiv Reservoir, the destruction of which could have caused an accident at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the government said.” Click here for the full EURACTIV piece.


Commission supports the creation of a skills partnership in agri-food ecosystem

Supported by the Commission, the agricultural and food industry has presented a skills partnership under the EU Pact for Skills.

The goal of the partnership is to upskill and reskill people in the agri-food sector, the largest producing and manufacturing sector in Europe. This will make the agri-food ecosystem more attractive to young people, while offering a lifelong learning perspective for both employers and employees.

The ecosystem ranges from family farms and micro and small food processing companies to large multinationals. In a first stage, the partnership will get a better understanding of the needs of these various actors, with a view to setting realistic but ambitious targets and to monitoring future developments.

Click here to find out more about the initiative.


5th Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference

The 5th edition of the Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference, under the heading “Towards a new normal: Sustainable products for sustainable consumption”, will be held online on 1 and 2 March 2022.

This year the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee join forces with the French EU Council Presidency to organize this flagship stakeholder conference, which will bring together leaders from business, public authorities, NGOs, knowledge communities, and other civil society organizations to advance our transition to a Circular Economy.

Click here for the full programme and to register for the conference!


US, EU and allies rachet up moves to isolate Russia technologically

According to Science|Business, “Russia is to be hit by technology sanctions from the United States, EU and Japan in a bid to grind down its economy capacity and stop it possessing advanced weaponry. Explaining the restrictions in a briefing 25 February, an EU official said the technology bans would rachet up pressure placed on Moscow since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. “What the package will do is expand first and foremost the scope of the goods and technologies that have been controlled since 2014,” the official said, in a briefing with journalists. “It will also at the same time impose stricter controls for a number of end users in the civil military sectors of Russia.” The EU will step up restrictions on dual use goods and technologies to Russia that could be used for military purposes.”.


EU at UN Environmental Assembly : seeking to secure launch of negotiations for global agreement on plastics

Commissioner Sinkevičius is representing the European Union at the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) taking place from 28 February to 2 March in Nairobi, Kenya. In an alliance with partners from all continents, the EU will seek to secure the launch of negotiations for a new legally binding global agreement on plastics. The EU will also aim to create a Science-Policy Panel for Chemicals, Waste and Pollution, to reinforce scientific advice to the global community in a similar way as the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. A final objective will be to reach an agreement on a definition of the concept of nature-based solutions, decisive ahead of COP15 under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Find out more in the press release published by the European Commission.

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