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In today's Morning Brief:

New INESC publication: first issue of H magazine “Visions of the future”

H, the new e-magazine of the INESC Brussels HUB, jointly created by all the INESC institutes, has been published this morning.

The magazine wishes to channel research stories, ideas and perspectives on the most important issues in scientific research and technology in Europe. In this inaugural issue, titled Visions of the future, we took the opportunity set by the Conference on the Future of Europe to share some of the ideas and stories of INESC’s researchers regarding the future of the most promising technologies, their upcoming projects and the opportunities on the horizon for scientific research in the upcoming years.

A huge thank you to the members of the Working Group Communication (Joana Desport Coelho, Sofia Martins, Vanessa Moreira, Tatiana Nunes, Ana Soares) for their excellent job.


Please be sure to share the magazine widely across your networks!


Conference on the Future of Europe: input wanted

The Conference on the Future of Europe is looking for ideas on how the EU should change and what it should focus on. After its official launch in spring, the Conference is entering a crucial stage: it needs to get as much input from citizens as possible on how the EU should face the challenges of a changing world. More than 5,000 ideas have been submitted to the online platform, on topics ranging from the climate emergency to European democracy. It’s a good start, but much more is needed. Browse through the topics, share your views on other people’s suggestions and come up with your own ideas. Otherwise, you can discuss your thoughts with other people by joining an upcoming event or organising your own.

The results of the Conference on the Future of Europe will have a real impact on the EU’s upcoming decisions, as the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have pledged to act on people’s recommendations and on the conclusions of the Conference.


Lump-sum in Horizon Europe – New EC Decision

The European Commission (EC) published a new Decision authorising the use of lump-sum contributions under Horizon Europe (see also an EC presentation) as well as the MGA on lump-sum. According to this document, lump-sum could be further used in Horizon Europe to lower the error rate, in particular but not restricted to ERC, EIC and Institutionalized Partnership projects. The annex of the Decision summarises the outcome of H2020 lump-sum pilot in glowing terms, saying the overall feedback was positive and that it could be used for any type of action. The scale and focus of these lump-sum calls is still under discussion at the EC.


New round of Horizon Europe associations: Armenia, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Western Balkans, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine

The European Commission represented by the Horizon Europe Chief Negotiator and Deputy Director General of DG R&I Signe Ratso as well as deputy Chief Negotiators Ruta Zarnauskaite and Anne Haglund-Morrissey, concluded the second negotiation rounds for Horizon Europe association with Armenia, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Western Balkans, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine. In these meetings, the draft Association Agreement and related Annexes were discussed, and important progress was made with all countries in their process towards becoming Associated Countries.

The concluding rounds of negotiation are expected to take place from end August to mid-September 2021 aiming to sign the association agreements by the end of 2021.


Commission adopted the «Synergies amendment» to the State Aid General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)

With this amendment the Commission simplified the rules for State Aid combined with EU support and introduced new possibilities to achieve synergies between Horizon Europe and the European Regional and Development Fund programmes. The objective is to maximise the added value, quantity, quality and impact of all EU spending on R&I in order to achieve shared EU objectives. A useful Q&A on the widening of the exemptions can be found on the Commission website here.


EU members commit to build EU quantum communication infrastructure

Ireland is the last EU member state to sign the EU declaration quantum infrastructure, committing to working with the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) to build the EuroQCI — a secure quantum communication infrastructure across 27 countries.

The Commission is planning to launch a satellite-based system for high-speed broadband in Europe. The EuroQCI will be part of that system and will integrate quantum cryptography and innovative and secure quantum-based systems into conventional communication infrastructures. This will protect data transmission between Europe’s government institutions, municipalities and embassies, as well as key sites such as hospitals and energy grids. In 2021 and 2022, Digital Europe programme and Connecting Europe Facility actions will help member states build cross-border quantum communication networks.


EuropaBio welcomes the Health Data Space initiative

Europe’s largest biotech lobby group says the European Commission’s proposed Health Data Space initiative is a good opportunity to reverse the declining trend of international biotech research conducted in Europe. “EuropaBio believes it is extremely important for the EU to encourage the return of many research programmes and clinical trials to the EU,” the association said in a statement on Thursday.

The Commission is now gathering input from stakeholders on its plan to establish common rules for storing and sharing healthcare research data in the EU.


Solutions needed for to the shortage of semiconductors in Europe

The German automotive industry is continuing to struggle with a severe supply shortage in semiconductors. The supply shortage is forcing Daimler to send thousands of employees on short-time work at several locations across the country; the lack of semiconductors has also affected car giant Volkswagen, which suffered major sales losses. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, around 100,000 vehicles could not be produced due to the bottlenecks, resulting in a €2.5 billion loss in sales.

There is broad agreement in both Germany and the EU on the need to reduce dependence on American and Asian producers. EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton reiterated on Tuesday (27 July) the need to give a stronger push to the EU’s sovereignty when it comes to semiconductors.

Both at the EU and national level, support packages have already been put together and initiatives launched to bring semiconductor production ‘back to Europe’. At the start of July, the European Commission launched an Alliance on Processors and Semiconductor Technologies to strengthen production capacities in Europe and move closer to the goal of doubling Europe’s market share in semiconductor production, which is anchored in the Digital Compass. In addition, Germany has earmarked €1 billion for investment and innovation in semiconductor production until 2023 as part of the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) in the field of microelectronics. Read more on Euractiv.

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »