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EU Science: Global Challenges & Global Collaboration Conference
The five-day conference on “EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration” took place in the European Parliament from the 4th to the 8th of March. The conference brought together science policymakers, scientists and industry representatives from 100 different countries and placed EU research at the centre of the international response to global challenges. The key topics were the future of medicine and the sustainability of health care systems, patents and innovation, standards and biotechnologies. 
Source: http://www.globalsciencecollaboration.org
 
MEPs register strong protest over EU budget
The European Parliament delivered a protest vote against the austerity budget agreed by national governments for 2014 – 2020. Now further negotiations – including on the €80B Horizon 2020 R&D programme – must be carried by the Irish Presidency.
Source: http://www.sciencebusiness.net
 
Outcomes of the recent EU Competitiveness Council meeting
The first meeting of the Competitiveness Council (internal market, industry, research and space) during Ireland’s Presidency  was organised at the end of February in Brussels. It saw EU Ministers for Industry and Research discuss a range of important issues including Single Market legislation, the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan and “smart specialisation” in research. Europe’s Research Ministers for Research and Innovation from Member States held a debate on open access to scientific information resulting from publicly funded research projects, one of the objectives of the development of the European Research Area, which is at the heart of the strategy for growth and jobs. The Council exchanged views on an action plan drawn up by the Commission aimed at boosting the entrepreneurial spirit in Europe ("Entrepreneurship 2020"). It also exchanged views on the review of the REACH system for the Registration, Evaluation Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. An international agreement for establishing a Unified Patent Court was signed in the margins of the Council.
Source: http://eu2013.ie
 
EC new advisory group on science and technology
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced the creation of an advisory group on science and technology. The Science and Technology Advisory Council includes a cross-section of advisors – from universities, non-governmental groups and businesses. The council is to provide independent information and advice on an array of scientific and technology issues. The creation of the council and the earlier appointment of a staff science advisor reflect both the Commission's increasing focus on science and technology to boost European competitiveness, but also a need to deal with political minefields such as genetically modified crops, biofuels and shale gas.
Source: http://46.4.92.154
 
What should we do about plastic waste? New Green Paper opens EU-wide reflection
Plastic has become an unavoidable material in our modern world. Plastics are versatile and durable, but this durability can make disposal problematic. In order to tackle this issue, the European Commission published a Green Paper to launch a structured discussion about how to make plastic products more sustainable throughout their life cycle and reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment. Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Managing plastic waste is a major challenge in terms of environmental protection, but it's also a huge opportunity for resource efficiency. In a circular economy where high recycling rates offer solutions to material scarcity, I believe plastic has a future. I invite all stakeholders to participate in this process of reflection on how to make plastic part of the solution rather than the problem.”
Source: http://europa.eu
 
Full EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics enters into force
On 11 March, the last deadline to phase out animal testing for cosmetic products in Europe enters into force. As of today, cosmetics tested on animals cannot be marketed any more in the EU. The Commission is committed to continue supporting the development of alternative methods and to engage with third countries to follow our European approach. Commissioner Borg said that this is a great opportunity for Europe to set an example of responsible innovation in cosmetics without any compromise on consumer safety.
Source: http://europa.eu
 
Single European patent officially signed
After 40 years, one of the longest negotiations in the trading bloc’s history, the European Union formally signed on a new unitary patent for 24 participating member states. The current system made patent registration up to 60 times more expensive in Europe than in China and will now be binned in favour of a one-size-fits-all pan-European process. But Spain and Italy refused to join the scheme because of language concerns. Speaking on the eve of the formal adoption, Michel Barnier, the EU's Internal Market Commissioner, said: “Costs will be reduced by over 80%. In the history of European integration there have not been many steps forward of such significance, in such an important area. This will be a major boost to competitiveness.”
Source: http://www.euractiv.com
 
EU to spend €144M for new research on rare diseases
In the EU, as many as 30 million people suffer from a rare disease, and many of them are children. The European Commission announced that €144 million is to be distributed between 26 projects that will cover a  broad spectrum of rare diseases such as cardiovascular, metabolic and immunological disorders. They will aim at:
  • developing substances that may become new or improved therapies for patients
  • understanding better the diseases' origins and mechanisms
  • better diagnosing rare diseases
  • improving the management of rare diseases in hospital and healthcare settings.
Source: http://www.sciencebusiness.net
 
ECHA 2012 annual evaluation report
On 27 February, ECHA published the annual evaluation report which presents the outcomes of ECHA evaluation activities in 2012. The report reiterated the importance of quality information to ensure the protection of workers, the public at large and the environement.
Source: http://echa.europa.eu
 
MEPs throw lifeline to EU's ailing carbon market
Lawmakers on the European Parliament’s environment committee voted in favour of an amendment in support of the EU’s ‘backloading’ plans for the Emissions Trading System (ETS), throwing a lifeline to the crisis-hit carbon market. The vote opens the way for further moves to raise flat-lining carbon prices by backloading (or withholding) 900 million allowances from auction, so creating a market scarcity.
Source: http://www.euractiv.com
ERA Chairs Pilot Call
The objective of the ERA Chair Initiative is to support universities and other research organisations located in Convergence and Outermost regions with a strong research capacity building profile, to significantly improve their performance in competitive research funding, under the direction of an outstanding researcher, the "ERA Chair holder". Research organisations interested in establishing an ERA Chair shall submit a proposal aimed at facilitating structural change in the institution and ensuring that the conditions are in place to foster excellent research. This should include a description of the necessary investments in facilities and infrastructures and the interaction with national or regional authorities to mobilise support, including from Cohesion funding, so that synergies between cohesion and research funding are strengthened. The successful research organisations will publish the job vacancy and select the ERA Chair holder.
Deadline: 30 May 2013
Source: http://ec.europa.eu
Roadmap: Further analysis and possible initiative to reduce Heavy Duty Vehicles' CO2 emissions
The EU needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 as its contribution to reaching the goal of limiting temperature increases to below 2ºC from pre-industrial times. The Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper on a Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area assumes that Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDVs) would have to achieve a 40% improvement 1 in energy efficiency by 2050 (vs. 1990 level).
Source: http://ec.europa.eu
 
Public consultation on the Green Paper on Plastic Waste
The objective of this green paper is to consult stakeholders on possible responses to the public policy challenges posed by plastic waste which are at present not specifically addressed in the EU Waste legislation.
Deadline: 7 June 2013
Source: http://ec.europa.eu
Gender quotas: Bad for business or a ‘necessary evil’?
As Europe marks International Women's Day, politicians remain divided over a European Commission proposal to impose a 40% quota for women sitting on company boards. The legislation, proposed in November 2012 by Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, would apply to publicly traded companies in the 27 member states with more than 250 employees or annual revenues exceeding €50 million. The companies would have until 2020 to comply of face sanctions. Gender quotas have long divided European opinion. Some politicians and MEPs believe that quotas remain a "necessary evil" to accelerate progress towards a better gender balance on the corporate boards of European companies.
Source: http://www.euractiv.com
 
European industry is “innovating its way out of the crisis”
Companies, universities and inventors from around the world filed a record number of applications for patents with the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2012, a sign that the European economy remains a strong magnet for innovation-driven companies. European patent applications also hit record levels. “The growth of filings from European business is a clear indication that industry here has opted to innovate its way out of the economic crisis,” said EPO president Benoît Battistelli. As the global economic crisis gripped in 2009, patent applications at the EPO plunged by 7 per cent. Last year total EPO patent filings not only recovered but also surpassed the previous record in 2008.
Source: http://www.sciencebusiness.net
ECHA's Eighth Stakeholders' Day – specific support and guidance for SMEs and member registrants
26 March 2013
Helsinki, Finland
Source: http://echa.europa.eu
 
Saving Energy Now
16-17 April 2013
Brussels, Belgium
Source: http://cordis.europa.eu
 
Cleantech Forum Europe 2013 - Re-imagining Cleantech: Unlocking Growth in an Open Innovation World
16-18 April 2013
Bilbao, Spain
Source: http://events.cleantech.com
 
ImagineNano 2013
23-26 April 2013
Bilbao, Spain
Source: http://www.imaginenano.com
 
Third International Conference on Environment and Industrial Innovation
19-20 May 2013
Copenaghen, Denmark
Source: http://www.iceii.org
 
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The information given by EuCheMS in this EuCheMS Brussels News Update has been carefully formulated but is necessarily based on information available and consequently EuCheMS does not accept responsibility if it is in any way inaccurate or incomplete. In this respect EuCheMS does not accept any duty of care and will not be liable for any losses or damages arising from inaccurate or incomplete information. EuCheMS acknowledges that a disclaimer cannot restrict liability at law for personal injury or death arising through a finding of negligence.
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