In today's Morning Brief:

European Green Deal: Commission presents actions to boost organic production

Last Friday, the Commission presented an Action Plan for the development of organic production. Its overall aim is to boost the production and consumption of organic products, to reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030, as well as to increase organic aquaculture significantly. Press release with further key messages available here.


MEPs advocate push for renewable hydrogen and integration of energy systems

The reports were adopted in the Industry, Research and Energy committee (ITRE), in response to the European Commission’s hydrogen and energy system integration strategies, which aim to pave the way towards a more efficient and interconnected energy sector, driven by the twin goals of a cleaner planet and a stronger economy.
They welcome the Commissions’ consideration of various incentives at the demand side. The focus of hydrogen demand should be on sectors for which its use is close to being competitive or that cannot be decarbonised by other technological solutions, namely industry, air, maritime and heavy-duty transports, they say.
A separate report adopted on Monday, with 60 votes to 11 and 5 abstentions, advocates the integration of energy systems – when the system is planned and operated as a whole, linking different energy carriers, infrastructures, and consumption sectors – in order to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs for society.


Public consultations on the decarbonising the EU gas market

The Commission has launched a public consultation to revise its gas regulation, as part of the process to achieve the EU Green Deal goal of reaching the continent’s carbon neutrality by 2050. The consultation aims to collect stakeholders and consumers’ views on how to reach a cost-efficient decarbonisation of the gas sector, and in particular on how to foster a market for renewable and low carbon hydrogen.  The public consultation will be open until June 18th.


Portuguese EU Presidency vows to adopt new Erasmus+ in June

According to EurActiv, Portugal’s minister of education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, has welcomed the European Commission’s launch of its proposed Erasmus+ exchange programme for the period 2021-2027, pledging to work towards its formal adoption and announcing its official launch on 18 June in Viana do Castelo, in northern Portugal.


The 10th EU-Brazil Joint Steering Committee Meeting: towards an enhanced partnership in Horizon Europe

On 24 March, the European Commission hosted the 10th EU-Brazil Joint Steering Committee meeting (JSCM) under the ‘Agreement on Scientific and Technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil’. The JSCM acknowledged the central role of research and innovation in the overall EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership (2007) as well as the importance of the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 (2014-2021) for promoting EU-Brazilian cooperation on research and innovation. The Joint Steering Committee Meeting was primarily focused on Green and Digital Transitions, Global Health, among other strategic areas. The JSCM analysed digital cooperation perspectives under Horizon Europe in areas such as robotics, data engineering, artificial intelligence, cyber-security among others. Space Cooperation, on its turn, contributes to tackling a wide range of societal challenges and helps foster innovation and digitalization; on the basis of existing bilateral legal arrangements (Copernicus arrangement) and support services like the Galileo Information Center in Brazil, the Committee took note of intense on-going activities, involving as well the European and Brazilian Space Agencies. Next JSCM is envisaged tentatively for the second half of 2022, ahead of it experts’ work and bilateral interactions will be pursued.


Next-Generation IoT and Edge Computing Strategy Forum

The virtual Next-Generation IoT and Edge Computing Strategy Forum aims at gathering top technology experts from across several digital and vertical domains, as well as corporate-strategy level representatives to exchange views on priorities, challenges and opportunities, and establish a commonly shared strategic European vision for the next-generation IoT and (far) edge computing. With its medium-term time perspective, this initiative is part of the implementation of the European data and cloud strategy, and will be supported by a research and innovation theme on Cloud-to-Edge-to-IoT under the first Work Programme of Horizon Europe.
Questions addressed during the meeting amongst others will be:
How can Europe exploit its strengths in important industrial sectors in order to position itself well on the next generation of the IoT and edge computing?
What are the most important trends and emerging concepts to drive the developments of open platforms for the IoT and edge computing?
How can European actors compete with global players in the emerging Cloud-to-Edge-to-IoT ecosystem? How can collaboration between European digital and industrial actors be strengthened?
The event is organised by the European Commission in collaboration with the Horizon 2020 EU-IoT project.
The HUB will send updates on possibility of participation to all those interested:


Workshops on dedicated to the call to setup the initial network of Digital Innovation Hubs

The call will be launched in the spring, with a planned deadline in the third quarter 2021. The aim is to clarify the many aspects relevant to the European call and the setting up of the initial network.
13 April: Collaboration between EDIHs in the network. Registration is not yet possible but will be available on this page nearer the event.
27 April: It will be explained how each project will be reviewed and how the eligible costs will be assessed. Registration is not yet possible but will be available on this page nearer the event.


University Online Session on “Medical technology advances: nervous system-on-a-chip”

Progressive neurological disorders such as Parkinson disease poses detrimental debilitating effects to patients. The lack of valid preclinical models has been hampering medical progress for the last decades. During this CONNECT University event the participants will have the opportunity to discover the project CONNECT (Connecting neural networks: Nervous-system-on-Chip Technology) and its impact on neurodegenerative disorders, by exploring and consolidating a new technological direction as a viable future technology for the development of novel therapeutics and regenerative strategies. Dr Regina Luttge will introduce her ongoing research on the project with a focus on the micro- and nanofabrication technology enabling new in vitro nervous system models, here tailored to Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Going into more fundamental details of defining the design criteria of our envisaged PD model, she will discuss the contribution in combining microfluidics with tissue engineering. Join us in finding out more about innovative future development of therapeutic strategies. Register here.


#Blockchain4EU: Blockchain for Industrial Transformations

A note to recall a Joint Research Council report on Blockchain, produced by three Portuguese colleagues working in that European institution. Worth taking a look if you are interested on how the European Commission will be looking at existing, emerging and potential applications based on Blockchain and other DLTs for industrial / non-financial sectors.

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