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Algeria joins PRIMA research and innovation partnership

The European Union and Algeria signed last week an international agreement on Algeria's participation in the 'Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area' (PRIMA). This makes Algeria the first third country not associated to Horizon 2020 to participate in this partnership. The initiative will focus on developing much-needed solutions for a more sustainable management of water and agro-food systems in the Mediterranean. PRIMA is supported by Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation framework programme.

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Commission to invest €30 billion in new solutions for societal challenges and breakthrough innovation

The European Commission today announced how it will spend €30 billion of the EU research and innovation funding programme Horizon 2020 during 2018-2020, including €2.7 billion to kick-start a European Innovation Council.

Horizon 2020, the EU's €77 billion research and innovation funding programme, supports scientific excellence in Europe and has contributed to high-profile scientific breakthroughs such as the discovery of exoplanets and gravitational waves. Over the next 3 years, the Commission will seek greater impact of its research funding by focusing on fewer, but critical topics such as migration, security, climate, clean energy and digital economy. Horizon 2020 will also be more geared towards boosting breakthrough, market-creating innovation.

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BiodivERsA and Belmont Forum 2017-2018 Joint Call for Research Proposals on: “Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services”

Belmont Forum and BiodivERsA are pleased to announce the 2017-2018 international call for research proposals on “Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services”. The call aims at supporting proposals that explicitly address a scenario dimension, taking into account the following definition of scenarios: “Scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystem services are the outputs of the combination of scenarios of indirect drivers and direct drivers — such as land use change, invasive alien species, overexploitation, climate change or pollution — and models of impacts of these drivers on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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SC5 2017 Information Day - Calls 2018

The Information Day and brokerage event on the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020, Challenge "Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency & Raw Materials" - 2018 calls - will take place on 8 and 9 November 2017 in Brussels in the European Commission's Charlemagne building, rue de la Loi 170.

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Estonian Presidency conference - Nature-based Solutions: From Innovation to Common-use

As part of the Presidency of the Estonian Republic of the Council of the European Union, a flagship conference “Nature-based Solutions: From Innovation to Common-use” will be organized by the Ministry of the Environment of Estonia and the University of Tallinn. The conference will be held in Tallinn from 24 to 26 October 2017.

Nature-based solutions (NBS) offer ways of tackling societal challenges such as climate change, water security, food security, human health, and others though sustainable management and use of nature. For example, greening roofs or walls of buildings in urban areas can keep temperatures cooler during hot seasons, capture storm water, reduce air pollution, and increase human well-being while enhancing biodiversity.

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The Public Consultation on PRIMA Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) is now open!

You are invited to contribute to the PRIMA Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) that focuses on 8 major themes:

  • Smart and sustainable farming
  • Water-saving solutions
  • Nutrition/Mediterranean diet
  • Food and Water chain efficiency
  • Reduction of impact of pest and pathogens in farming
  • Innovative business models in agri-food industry
  • Land and water sustainability in arid and semi-arid watersheds
  • Policies and governance of water management systems

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European Commission addresses barriers to innovation: the first Innovation Deal focuses on water reuse

The European Commission, together with 14 partners from national and regional authorities, universities, knowledge centres, innovators and end-users, takes concrete steps to address regulatory barriers to innovation by signing the first Innovation Deal on "Sustainable Waste Water Treatment Combining Anaerobic Membrane Technology (AnMbR) and Water Reuse".

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Call for applications for the selection of members of the Commission expert group "Support to Circular Economy Financing Expert Group" - Deadline for applications: 9th May 2017

As part of the Circular Economy Finance Support Platform launched on 26 January 2017, the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation has set up a group of experts. The Support to Circular Economy Financing Expert Group is an informal Commission expert group operating in accordance with the horizontal Rules for Commission Expert Groups and registered in the Commission's Register of Commission expert groups and other similar entities ('the Register of expert groups').

The expert group will provide advice and expertise to the European Commission to support the generation and financing of circular economy in the Member States. It will provide recommendations regarding concrete measures to facilitate circular economy project financing.

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Circular Economy: Commission delivers on its promises, offers guidance on recovery of energy from waste and works with the European Investment Bank to boost investment

One year after adopting its Circular Economy Package, the Commission reports on the delivery and progress of key initiatives of its 2015 Action Plan. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: "Building a circular economy for Europe is a key priority for this Commission. We have made good progress and are planning new initiatives in 2017. We are closing the loop of design, production, consumption, and waste management, thereby creating a green, circular and competitive Europe."

Together with the report, the Commission presents the creation of a Circular Economy Finance Support Platform with the European Investment Bank (EIB) bringing together investors and innovators. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said: "Building on the achievements of the Juncker Investment Plan, I am pleased that we can again work with the EIB to match investors with innovators. Our goal is to upscale investment, both public and private, in the circular economy. It very often means new business model and they may require new, innovative ways of financing. This new Platform is an excellent tool to raise awareness of the circular economy projects' immense business potential and, consequently, draw in more funding for their financing. The Circular Economy is an important element to modernise the European economy and we are on track to deliver this sustainable change."

Finally, the Commission issues guidance to Member States on converting waste to energy and also proposes a targeted improvement of legislation on certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

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Commission proposes first research partnership in the Mediterranean to increase food and water sustainability

The Commission has agreed on a proposal for a Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area, PRIMA, which is set to develop much-needed novel solutions for sustainable water management and food production. The partnership is expected to boost local business and investment opportunities, thereby address unemployment and migration issues in the region. The proposal will now be passed to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU for political discussion and legislative approval.

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UN Habitat III Conference

The networking session "EU Open to the World: Cities as actors of open innovation" takes place on Tuesday 18 October 2016 in the context of the UN Habitat III Conference.

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White House Arctic Science Ministerial Meeting

At the Arctic Science Ministerial Meeting which took place in Washington DC on 28 September 2016, Deputy Director General Ruxandra Draghi-Akli announced an EU investment of over 40 million Euro in research and research infrastructures to help us understand the Arctic, the changes it is undergoing and how this impacts on the rest of the planet. The four major projects to be funded will start before the end of this year. Through them, the EU will give a major boost to the creation of an international, integrated Arctic Observation system.

The projects have attracted international partners well beyond the EU including from the USA, Canada, South Korea, China and Russia, and will put the EU in a leading position in Arctic Observation.

The 22 countries attending the Arctic Ministerial, together with the EU, signed a Joint Statement agreeing to work together to enhance and deepen scientific knowledge and understanding of the Arctic, specifically in the following areas:

  • Identifying Arctic science challenges and their regional and global implications
  • Strengthening and integrating Arctic observations and data sharing
  • Applying expanded scientific understanding of the Arctic to build regional resilience and shape global responses
  • Empowering Citizens through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, leveraging Arctic science
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Commission to invest €8.5 billion in research and innovation in 2017

The new H2020 Work Programme for SC5 is now available and a budget of almost €400 million out of the total of €8.5 billion is dedicated to research and innovation in Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials sectors for 2017.

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Shortlist of the BiodivERsA 2015-2016 COFUND call: 26 pan-European projects recommended for funding (€33m)

The BiodivERsA network, supported by the European Commission, launched a call last year for research into how we can build more sustainable ecosystems (i.e. forests and bog-lands), as well as the delivery of ecosystem services (i.e SMEs focussed on the sustainability of our ecosystems). The 26 projects shortlisted and recommended for funding have been announced, with a focus on two themes:

  • Theme #1: Understanding and managing the biodiversity dynamics of soils and sediments to improve ecosystem functioning and delivery of ecosystem services
  • Theme #2: Understanding and managing biodiversity dynamics in land-, river- and sea-scapes (habitat connectivity, green and blue infrastructures, and naturing cities) to improve ecosystem functioning and delivery of ecosystem services

The projects selected for funding will be announced by October 2016.

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