- European Commissions sets up new China fellowship programme
- Switzerland and Canada come together for joint funding of natural science and engineering projects
- Canada to join international SKAO radio astronomy project
- Commission research chief in Japan this week
- EU identifies key needs for circular tech in textile, construction and energy-intensive industries
Horizon Europe is well underway, but the world of European R&D policy goes well beyond the confines of the €95.5 billion R&D programme. EU climate, digital, agriculture and regional policies all have significant research and innovation components. National governments often come up with new R&D policies, decide to fund new research avenues, and set up international cooperation deals. This blog aims to keep you informed on all of that and more.
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The European Commission has launched a new China fellowship programme with the aim of gathering expertise and a deeper understanding of the country.
The programme, announced 25 January, will be a part of IDEA, the Commission’s advisory service that reports directly to the Commission president.
The goal is to bring together policy-orientated academics from top think tanks and universities to provide insights into developments in political, social, economic, digital, environment and security matters related to China, as well as contextualising the country’s history.
The fellowships will last between six and 12 months and will be paid.
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has announced it is teaming up with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to offer joint funding to natural science and engineering projects.
It comes as Switzerland continues talks with the EU over association to Horizon Europe, which have been ongoing for some time. Switzerland was also recently ejected from the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures because of its lack of Horizon Europe association.
Matthias Egger, president of the SNSF, said the new collaboration with Canada will “contribute to increasing research capacity in Switzerland and abroad”.
Meanwhile Alejandro Adem, president of NSERC, said: “We believe that working together with other international agencies and organisations, such as the Swiss National Science Foundation, will lead to great collaborations between Canadian researchers and their international peers.”
Canada is set to become a full member of the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), an international next-generation radio astronomy observatory.
Canada currently holds a cooperation agreement with SKAO, giving its researchers access to the project, but is set to complete the process to attain full membership in the coming months.
Full membership will give Canadian astronomers a 6 per cent use-share of the observatory, access to a next-generation radio astronomy facility and support the establishment of a domestic regional centre.
Once fully constructed, by 2029, SKAO will operate 2 telescopes in Australia and South Africa to enable new discoveries about the universe, the fundamental laws of physics and the prospects for life on other planets.
The European Commission’s acting director general for research Signe Ratso is in Japan this week for talks on enhancing R&I cooperation between the EU and Japan.
Talks of Japan’s potential association to the EU’s €95.5 billion Horizon Europe research programme have been going on for a while, after the two officially began exploring the possibility in May, but there has been no breakthrough since.
Maria Cristina Russo, the Commission’s director for global research cooperation, highlighted renewable energy, digital technologies, soil research and automated driving as areas for potential cooperation.
A new EU roadmap published this week calls for a comprehensive approach to developing and adopting circular technologies in the textile, construction and energy-intensive industries.
The report lays out the needs for circular technologies, innovation and business models in the three industries, looking to reducing pressure on natural resources in the bloc and help the EU achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
Today, the EU is home to a third of companies worldwide active in circular economy technologies compared to a fifth in the US and only 4.4% in China.
The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) has launched a service integrating all of its data in one single portal.
The service will provide researchers, marine managers and policymakers access to reliable and accurate data across seven thematic areas.
More than 120 organisation involved with EMODnet have been working for over a decade to aggregate, process and provide access to marine data from various sources.
The one stop shop will aid the EU in delivering its Horizon Europe Mission to restore the bloc’s oceans and waters by 2030.
The European Parliament’s industry, research and energy (ITRE) today voted through its draft position on the EU’s plans to secure its own supply of semiconductors, in the face of global competition.
The plans foresee giving a boost to production and innovation by addressing skills shortages, setting up competence centres, and increasing investment in research and innovation, as well as setting up emergency measures against shortages. To fund all this, the MEPs hope to see the European Commission committing fresh money to the new initiative.
“Microchips are integral to the EU’s digital and green transitions as well as our geopolitical agenda,” said the Parliament’s rapporteur for the file, Eva Maydell. “We are calling for fresh funding that reflects the strategic importance of Europe’s Chips sector.”
Next, the Parliament will negotiate with the council of EU member states to iron out the final details of the EU’s Chips Act before it is adopted by both institutions.
An index tracking the performance of European space-based companies that are currently listed on the stock market is set to launch today.
The index will help investors monitor the performance of space companies and thus attract additional private capital. It was developed by the European Space Agency, the European Commission and the pan-European stock exchange group, Euronext.
Ninety grantees of the European Research Council (ERC) are set to receive up to €150,000 to turn their fundamental research findings into practical innovations, in the latest Proof of Concept funding round.
Researchers that already hold grants from the EU's €16 billion frontier science fund can use this type of funding to verify the practical viability of scientific concepts, explore business opportunities or prepare patent applications.
This is the last set of proof of concept grants funded by the 2022 budget, bringing the total number of ERC grantees that received this innovation top-up funding in the past year to 366.
Internal market commissioner Thierry Breton and international partnerships commissioner Jutta Urpilainen are set to tour Southern Africa this week in a bid to shore up the EU's supply of hydrogen fuel and raw materials.
They will visit Namibia to meet with the country's president Hage Geingob, and try to take forward previous deals that secure access.
The trip is part of the EU's Global Gateway initiative, an attempt to rival Chinese influence in Africa and elsewhere through infrastructure and other investment.
Dependence on China for raw materials used in manufacturing has become a key issue in EU policy. Meanwhile, the bloc is also looking to sunny countries like Namibia as potential producers of clean hydrogen fuel using solar power.