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General European Highlights

Horizon 2020 moves one step closer
EP gave their approval of 70 billion Euro after negotiations with the Council and the Commission throughout the summer months. Among the triumphs claimed by the Parliament is a dedicated instrument to boost innovation in small businesses, a strengthening of the Marie SkÅ‚odowska Curie programme, and the addition of programmes that are intended to widen participation in Horizon 2020 by regions with less-well developed R&D infrastructures.
Adjustments of the EU budget 2014-2020 bring more money for students, businesses and research
The European Commission has proposed adjustments to its proposal for the 2014 EU budget. Reflecting the need to urgently tackle youth unemployment and strengthen research, the funding possibilities in 2014 will be increased by EUR 130 million for Erasmus+ (EU's new programme for education, training and youth), by EUR 30 million for COSME (a new programme promoting entrepreneurship, in particular for small and medium enterprises) and by EUR 200 million for Horizon 2020 (the new programme for research and innovation).
ERA progress report: 'single market' for research closer, not yet a reality
The European Commission has presented a first comprehensive analysis of the state of the 'single market' for research, or the European Research Area (ERA). The report provides a factual base for assessing progress in target areas like open and fair recruitment of researchers or better circulation of scientific knowledge. It shows that some progress has been made, but that even the best performing research institutions still have issues to address ahead of the 2014 deadline for ERA. There is also a significant gap between the best and the worst performers.
Report available here:
Open Access to research publications
The European Commission identified open access to research results as an essential element to boost Europe’s innovation capacity. Consequently, the European Commission announced that it will make open access to scientific publications a general principle of Horizon 2020.
According to the study, open access “represents 50% or more of scholarly journal articles published between 2008–2011 in Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United States.”
European Research Council takes a further step forward towards open access
The European Research Council (ERC) announced that it has joined an international partnership supporting arXiv, one of the major scientific repositories in the areas of physics and mathematics which is operated by Cornell University Library (New York, US). The ERC is the first European research funding organisation to join the arXiv initiative.
MEPs pave the way for greater professional mobility in the EU
A virtual professional qualifications card, to make it easier for several categories of professionals to move to and practice in another EU country and an alert system, to make it harder for those barred from a profession at home to do likewise, will be introduced by a new draft law voted by the European Parliament.
The updated rules will enable professions keen to accelerate the recognition of their members' qualifications by other EU state to opt for European professional qualifications cards.
Education goes digital - new EC Communication "Opening up Education"
The European Commission launched its communication Opening up Education. Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda and Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, jointly presented the communication which aims at improving the digital dimension of education in Europe.
Stricter approval system for medical devices
The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee MEPs (ENVI) voted to ban the use of phthalates in medical devices from January 2020 and called for substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to the reproductive system (CMR), or that disrupt the endocrine system (EDC) to be phased out within eight years of the law’s adoption if safer alternatives are available. Where the substances must continue to be used, the devices and their packaging should be labelled as such. On the contrary, MEPs voted to relax the Commission’s proposals on nanomaterials. 
EU report: biofuels policy hikes food prices by up to 50%
If biofuels received no EU policy support, the price of food stuffs such as vegetable oil would be 50% lower in Europe by 2020 than at present – and 15% lower elsewhere in the world – according to new research by the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). The “significantly lower” results are because global prices for vegetable oils are “strongly driven” by their use as food, says the paper by the JRC. Given that more than half of the vegetable oils are used for biodiesel production in the base in 2020, any decrease in biodiesel production strongly affects the vegetable oil market.

Funding Updates and Awards

Update on ERC calls for proposals 2014
The following updated calendar represents the latest planning provided by the ERC Scientific Council, however on a purely indicative basis:
  • Expected publication of the provisional schedule for the new calls (ERC Work Programme 2014): December 2013
  • Starting grants;  end of March 2014
  • Consolidator grants; end of May 2014
  • Advanced grants; end of October 2014
  • Proof of Concept grants (one call with two deadlines in 2014); likely to close beginning of April 2014 and beginning of October 2014
A more detailed calendar will be communicated as soon as the ‘Horizon 2020’ programme (and the ERC annual work programme 2014) will be adopted.
SAF€RA’s 2013 joint call
SAF€RA is an ERA-NET project titled Coordination of European Research on Industrial Safety towards Smart and Sustainable Growth. The call aims to foster collaboration between researchers from different countries in Europe and from different scientific disciplines, including chemistry, in order to improve safety and the management of technological risks.

Consultations and Roadmaps

Public consultation on the green action plan for SMEs
For the purpose of this consultation, resource efficiency should be understood in a wide sense that encompasses the efficient use of energy (including renewable energy), water and other natural resources, materials, the minimisation of waste, the selling of scrap material to another company and recycling. The results of this public consultation will be used to shape the actions aimed at promoting resource efficiency for and by SMEs to be included in the forthcoming Green Action Plan for SMEs.
Deadline: 12 December 2013
Consultative communication on the sustainable use of phosphorus
The Commission is launching a consultation on how to use phosphorus in a more sustainable way. Phosphorus is widely used in agriculture and is an essential component in fertiliser and feed, but it is a non-renewable resource. Supplies are limited and much phosphorus is currently wasted, creating concerns about future supplies in the EU and worldwide. The consultation asks how to ensure that reserves are available for future generations, and about ways to minimise the undesirable side effects phosphorus use can have on the environment.
Deadline: 1 December 2013

Business Updates

Stimulating Innovation in SMEs
To help SMEs become active, fast growing and international, Horizon 2020 will continue to support them by offering a wide range of opportunities across the whole framework programme. This SME Instrument will consist of 3 autonomous stages with related activities:
  • Concept Stage
  • R&D Implementation
  • Commercialisation Support
IP matters: intangible intellectual property rights are driving innovation and economic growth
A new study measuring the importance of intellectual property (IP) rights in the EU economy has found that about 39 per cent of total economic activity, worth some €4.7 trillion annually, is generated by industries that are reliant on intangible IP assets as the basis of products and services.
In total, approximately 26 per cent of all employment in the EU, or 56 million jobs, is provided directly by these industries, while a further 9 per cent of jobs stem indirectly from IP-intensive industries. The report notes that an efficient system of intellectual property rights is essential to foster the virtuous circle leading from investment in research to jobs – via innovation.

Forthcoming Events

International Conference on Regional Climate - CORDEX 2013
4-7 November 2013
Brussels, Belgium
InfoDay on HORIZON 2020 - 2014 Calls
12 November 2013
Brussels, Belgium
Going Green Care Innovation 2014
17-20 November 2013
Vienna, Austria
3rd European Energy Conference (E2C 2013)
27-30 October 2013, Budapest, Hungary

Upcoming EuCheMS Recognised Events 

9th International Conference on Polysaccharides-Glycoscience
6 - 8 November 2013
Prague, Czech Republic
12th Chemistry Conference for Young Scientists
27 - 28 February 2014
Blankenberge, Belgium
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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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