Category Archives: science

Germany ready for eletronic identification means (eID)

Germany is the first Member State to complete the formal notification of an eID under the 2014 Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS Regulation).

The European Commission calls for a wider use of electronic identification means across the EU, as Germany has taken the final step to enable its citizens to use the electronic Identification means (eID) to access online services in other Member States.

As part of the Digital Single Market, this step is needed to ensure a mutual recognition and the use of national eIDs across all Member States. This accomplishment arrives on the eve of the Tallinn Digital Summit of 29 September, where Heads of State and government will discuss further plans for digital innovation in the years to come. Once eIDAS will be fully operational, EU citizens and companies will have the choice to use the eID to access online public services in other Member States. In addition, commercial services will be able to rely on such eID for their business offering across the EU. While the Members States are free to decide whether they notify their eIDs, they all must recognise the eIDs of other Member States that have already been notified.

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Europol: new solutions for ATM Malware Protection

“The joint industry – law enforcement report by Europol’s EC3 and Trend Micro shows that the malware being used has evolved significantly and the scope and scale of the attacks have grown proportionately. While industry and law enforcement cooperation has developed strongly, the crime continues to thrive due to the major financial rewards available to the organized crime groups involved. This report assesses the developing nature of the threat. I hope that it serves as a blueprint for future industry and law enforcement cooperation,” said Steven Wilson, Head of EC3.

Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions today released a comprehensive report on the current state of ATM Malware. Cashing in on ATM Malware details both physical and network-based malware attacks on ATMs, as well as highlights where the malware is created.

ATM malware has evolved from requiring physical access to infect the machines to now successfully attacking network-based access using the bank’s corporate network. The report dissects recent attacks using bank networks to both steal money and credit card data from ATM machines, regardless of network segmentation. These attacks not only risk personally identifiable information (PII) and large sums of money, but also put banks in violation of PCI compliance standards.

“Protecting against today’s cyber threats and meeting compliance standards require increased resources that are not always available for organizations, including those in the financial services industry,” said Max Cheng, chief information officer for Trend Micro. “Public-private collaborations strengthen the global, ongoing fight against cybercrime, and help fill the resource gap for organizations. This report furthers Trend Micro’s commitment to helping law enforcement and private businesses mitigate future attacks and protect individuals.”

In addition to the public report, a limited-release version is available to law enforcement authorities, financial institutions and the IT security industry. This private report provides greater detail for public and private organizations to harden ATM and network systems and prevent future attacks against financial institutions.

UK: new objectives for continued science success

 

Continued collaboration in science and innovation is an important part of the UK’s future partnership with the EU. This is the message the UK Government is expected to set out in a new paper published today.

The paper on science and innovation will lay out a range of mechanisms and areas for future collaboration that the UK will seek to discuss with the EU as part of the negotiations on the future partnership.

It will also consider areas where there are precedents for countries outside the EU to participate in pan-European programmes such as Galileo and Copernicus.

The UK space sector is worth over £11.8 billion to the UK economy, and employs at least 37,000 people around the country. Our work in the European Space Agency has put Tim Peake in space and is enabling us to explore Mars.

The paper will also lay out projects on nuclear research including:

 

·         the Oxfordshire-based JET (Joint European Torus) which is funded by the Euratom Research and Training programme and supports 1,300 jobs in the UK, 600 of which are highly skilled scientists and engineers; and

·         ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) which has generated over £450m worth of contracts so far for UK business

 

The UK will also continue to collaborate with European partners through international organisations that are not part of the EU for example the EUREKA network that helps SMEs collaborate on R&D across borders and CERN, the European platform for particle physics and the fundamental laws of nature of which the UK was a founding member.

 

Other initiatives where the UK will seek to explore options for future collaboration include the European Medicines Agency and EU framework programmes. The current programme, Horizon 2020, has over 7,300 UK participants so far and has seen many successes through collaboration, including through the Innovative Medicines Initiative and:

 

·  Through the HYFIVE project the UK together with other EU and international partners has taken hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market, moving Europe towards a competitive low-carbon economy and providing cleaner air to all

·  The UK has worked with other EU and international partners to train young researchers to exploit big data through the LONGPOP project

·  Through the PAL project the UK has collaborated to build robots that interact with children to help manage their diabetes.

 

Secretary of State David Davis said:

 

“As the Prime Minister set out in her Lancaster House speech, a global Britain must be a country that looks to the future. That means being one of the best places in the word for science and innovation.

“This paper sends a clear message to the research and innovation community that we value their work and we feel it is crucial that we maintain collaboration with our European partners after we exit.

“We want to attract the brightest minds to the UK to build on the already great work being done across the country to ensure that our future is bright and we grow this important sector.”

 

Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

 

“From space exploration and developing better and safer medicines, to nuclear fusion research, the UK and Europe have a long history of close collaboration to meet the world’s great challenges. It’s in our mutual benefit to maintain this successful partnership, and this paper clearly outlines our desire to have a full and open discussion with the EU to shape our joint future.

“With science and innovation at the heart of our Industrial Strategy and our additional investment of £4.7 billion for research and development, we are ensuring we are best placed to continue being at the forefront of new discoveries, and look forward to continuing that journey with the best minds across Europe.”

 

The UK is a world leader in science and innovation and the paper also states that we want to continue to be a hub for international talent and sets out that it is vital we ensure research communities can continue to access the high level skills that support the science and innovation sector. It will say that the UK will seek to agree a system for continued recognition of professional qualifications, and will continue to welcome the brightest and best after we exit.

 

The paper makes clear that the Government is committed to maintaining the UK’s status as a world leader in science and innovation and strengthening its science and research base, which already includes four of the world’s top ten universities, a world class intellectual property regime and more Nobel Laureates than any country outside the United States.

European Capital of Innovation: ten innovative cities shortlisted for 2017

“Every new edition of the European Capital of Innovation showcases more inspiring and innovative ideas from across Europe. The tough competition this year proved how vibrant our local innovation ecosystems are. The journey so far has been very exciting, and the best is yet to come. I am looking forward to announcing the winners in November and further cooperating with them.” Said Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

Ten cities – Aarhus, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Nice, Paris, Tallinn, Tampere, Tel Aviv and Toulouse – are shortlisted as candidates for the European Capital of Innovation contest. The finalists have been selected from 32 eligible applications by an independent panel of experts for using innovative ideas to improve the quality of urban life and for getting citizens more involved in their communities.

The winner of the contest will be announced at the Lisbon Web Summit on 7 November and will receive €1 million to further support the city’s innovative activities, while two runner-up cities will receive €100,000 respectively. Previous winners of the contest include Barcelona in 2014 and Amsterdam in 2016.

EIB, €35 million to support brain cancer treatment

Patients who suffer from the most aggressive type of brain cancer, glioblastoma, will soon have broader access to a new form of treatment thanks to financing by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

“More than 20 million people worldwide are expected to live with cancer in the year 2030 – a 50% increase from the levels of 2012,” said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the EIB and responsible for operations in Germany. “The therapy developed by MagForce has the potential to considerably ease the burden for some of those patients, and I am proud that EIB backing will actually help save people’s lives. The EU bank provides long-term and stable capital support to the company’s R&D which will enable MagForce to accelerate the market launch of new treatments. It’s this type of support for innovative companies that is crucial to strengthening Europe’s competitiveness.”

The EIB and German medical device company MagForce signed a financing agreement which will allow the company to borrow up to €35 million over the coming three years, subject to achieving a set of agreed performance criteria.

The transaction with MagForce was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). EFSI is the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, in which the EIB Group and the European Commission as strategic partners aim to boost the competitiveness of the European economy.

MagForce has developed NanoTherm therapy, a new approach to the local treatment of solid tumours. The method is based on the principle of introducing magnetic nanoparticles directly into a tumour and then heating them in an alternating magnetic field. Depending on the duration of treatment and the temperatures achieved within the tumour, the tumour cells are either irreparably damaged or sensitised for additional chemo or radiotherapy.

This approach makes it possible to combat the tumour from within, while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. The side effects of the treatment are significantly lower than those in the standard methods currently used. In addition, the NanoTherm therapy displays a high degree of efficacy proven in clinical studies. It received regulatory approval for brain cancer in Europe, and patients are already successfully treated in Germany.

EIB financing will support NanoTherm’s Europe-wide roll-out for brain cancer treatment. Furthermore, the facility will support European and global approval for prostate cancer – another oncological condition, which can be treated with NanoTherm therapy. In addition, MagForce is working on next generation nanoparticles, which will not only be able to generate heat but can also be used as drug transport mechanisms.

Ben Lipps, Chief Executive Officer of MagForce, commented: “We are honored that MagForce is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The loan will significantly enhance our financial standing and help us to roll-out MagForce’s NanoTherm therapy across Europe. It will also support the development and global commercialisation of prostate cancer solutions and MagForce’s next generation NanoTherm.”

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The European Commission is committed to promoting investment in research and innovation. I am delighted that, with today’s agreement, the Plan is contributing to the development of sophisticated new treatments for cancer patients. This is a very tangible example of the powerful impact EU support for investments can bring about.”

ERC: €2 billion investment in top European researchers

 

“This is the starting whistle for the next round of this champions’ league of European research within the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. I hope this new series of competitions for excellence in science will identify and reward potential breakthroughs, and will be an investment for the future of Europe.” Stated Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

The European Research Council (ERC) announces its 2018 grant competitions with a total budget of around €1.86 billon, most of which earmarked for early- to mid-career researchers. In addition, the ERC is reintroducing Synergy Grants, the funding scheme for groups of two to four scientists who jointly address ambitious research problems.

The Work Programme, established by the ERC Scientific Council, was pre-announced on 19 July, and adopted today by the European Commission.

The President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said: “The reintroduction of Synergy Grants in the 2018 Work Programme has been much anticipated. These grants can trigger unconventional collaborations, allow for the emergence of new fields of study and help put scientists working in Europe at the global forefront. By providing €250 million of funding for the Synergy Grant call, the ERC Scientific Council intends to make possible substantial advances at the frontiers of knowledge which would be impossible for researchers working alone.”

The Work Programme includes all the well-known and established ERC funding schemes: Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants, as well as Proof of Concept Grants for ERC grantees who wish to explore the innovation potential of their research results.

What is new is the Synergy Grants scheme. Building on the experience of the 2012 and 2013 pilot competitions, the ERC Scientific Council decided to reintroduce Synergy Grants for groups of two to four excellent principal investigators. The grants may be awarded for up to €10 million for 6 years. The ultimate goal of the scheme is to give support to close collaborative interactions that will enable transformative research, cross-fertilizing disciplines and capable of yielding ground-breaking scientific results.

Some 900 new grantees are expected to benefit from ERC funding next year across all schemes. They will employ an estimated 6,000 post-docs, PhD students and other members as part of their research teams. The Work Programme foresees that the ERC will continue to qualitatively analyse the scientific output of its funded projects with a particular focus on any potential breakthroughs and discoveries.

EIB finances better healthcare in the Veneto Region

The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a loan of EUR 29 million with Ospedal Grando S.p.A., to support the design, construction and operation of the new Cittadella della Salute within the Ca’ Foncello Hospital in Treviso.

“The construction of modern, state of the art medical facilities and hospitals requires significant investment. The European Fund for Strategic Investments is playing an important and growing role in facilitating investments in the social sector. This agreement proves that the Investment Plan can deliver a social dividend, directly benefiting the citizens of Treviso, whilst also providing a boost for jobs and growth across Europe.” Said European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.

 

Ospedal Grando will operate under a 41-year concession agreed with the local health authority, Azienda Unità Locale Socio Sanitaria (AULSS) n. 2 Marca Trevigiana.

This agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the central pillar of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”.

The loan agreement will finance the refurbishment of some existing buildings and the construction of new facilities. These will include an enhanced medical centre with almost 1,000 beds and new research and logistical centres. The new and refurbished buildings will comply with the latest safety and anti-seismic structural regulations, as well as higher energy standards allowing for savings and CO2 emissions reduction.

The loan signed today will be complemented by a second loan of EUR 39m in favour of the AULSS, aimed at funding a portion of public grants assigned to this project, which is expected to be signedtomorrow. This brings the total EIB support to the new Cittadella della Saluteproject to EUR 68 million. Moreover, it is the first time that the financial benefits deriving from EIB’s lower cost of funding compared to other financers are allocated in favour of social impact initiatives.

EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco said: “The loan we signed today shows the EIB’s and the Investment Plan for Europe’s strong commitment to improving social infrastructure across Italy. Thousands of people in the Veneto region will benefit from state-of-the-art medical treatments and facilities, as well as less waiting time.”

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