Think NEXUS – Policy workshop – Our Final Event

Think NEXUS organised a Next Generation Internet Workshop focused on EU and US NGI funding and cooperation policies. The Workshop was held through virtual means on 1st of July 2021, 17h00 – 19h00 CEST.

This Workshop provided an opportunity for discussing the different policy challenges the US and the EU have to face and how cooperation can help overcome those challenges.

The Workshop brought together a high level panel of international speakers including experts from the Think Nexus Think Tank and also Dr Gurdip Singh, National Science Foundation, CISE Division Director for Computer and Network Systems, and Jorge GASOS, European Commission, DG CONNECT. 

The report with the main conclusions of the Workshop will be available shortly. Stay tuned!


Think NEXUS Workshop – Key NGI technologies in the EU-US context – second workshop

The Think NEXUS Workshop #3 “titled “Key NGI technologies in the EU-US context – second workshop” was held on April 21st, 2021 through a virtual means (Zoom). The Workshop took place between 5pm and 7pm CEST and brought together some 30 experts from Europe and the United States (US) on Next Generation Internet-related domains.

This Workshop built upon the outcomes of the workshop organised on February 17th, 2021. During the previous workshop participants identified the main technologies to prioritise for EU-US cooperation on Next Generation Internet (NGI). Therefore, this Workshop provided participants with the chance to further define priorities for EU-US cooperation on NGI topics. The outcomes of this Workshop will be provided to the European Commission (EC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of a relevant roadmap for cooperation.

The event started with a short introduction to the Workshop’s framework and logistical aspects. After that, experts were divided in two breakout rooms according to the two thematic priorities that had been decided for the Workshop, one for Data and the other one for Infrastructure. After having selected the key technologies, domains and mechanisms enabling the developments of NGI, a last plenary session enabled the experts to merge the outcomes of the previous discussions to get a common view on the main priorities in terms of key technologies and domains for future EU-US cooperation.

The main topics discussed during the Workshop’s sessions are presented in the figure below.


Workshop – “Showcasing results of the NGI EU-US enhanced ecosystem of top researchers, innovators, and policy stakeholders”

Think NEXUS is organising a Workshop titled “Showcasing results of the NGI EU-US enhanced ecosystem of top researchers, innovators, and policy stakeholders”, which will take place on May 18th, 2021 at 5pm CEST.

The Workshop will be organised in the context of the NGI Forum 2021, a two day event that will be held on 18-19th May, 2021. 

This International Workshop is co-organised with the NGI Explorers and the NGI Atlantic projects, both having complementary activities towards supporting and enhancing the collaboration between the EU and the US on NGI related topics.

The webinar will be composed of three sessions: an awards session for the projects funded by NGI Explorers; a showcase of the projects funded by NGI Atlantic; and a specific session on EU-US technological collaboration for a human-centric internet.

The latter will include a presentation from the European Commission speaker, Jorge GASOS (DG CONNECT) on the next Horizon Europe calls related to EU-US cooperation on NGI topics and a presentation by Deepankar Medhi (National Science Foundation (NSF)) on the next funding programme for collaboration opportunities.

Link to the Workshop:  

Don’t miss this opportunity!


Workshop “Key NGI technologies in the EU-US context”

On February 17th 2021, Think NEXUS organised an online Workshop titled “Key NGI technologies in the EU-US context”. This was an invitation-only event, which included the participation of more than 30 experts from EU countries and the US.

The Workshop was focused on identifying the technical topics, which will enable the implementation of Next Generation Internet technologies. Therefore, the main objective of this Workshop was to further prepare the EU-US research and development agenda for cooperation on future internet technologies.

The Workshop started with a brief presentation of Think NEXUS and the Next Generation Internet initiative, followed by an explanation of the event’s objectives and agenda.

In order to foster open and fruitful discussions between the participants, during the Workshop’s first session two parallel tracks were organised: the EU track and the US track. During this session participants had the opportunity to discuss and shortlist the key Internet technologies considered as priorities for the upcoming years.

Furthermore, the second session of the Workshop brought together EU and US experts to discuss the outcomes of previous session and shortlist the main priorities in terms of key technologies for EU-USA cooperation. This was a highly interactive session that resulted in very interesting outcomes for EU-USA cooperation in Next Generation Internet technologies.

The Workshop was moderated by Think NEXUS’ partners – GAC Group and AUSTRALO. All Think NEXUS’ partners attended the Workshop.

The main outcomes of the Workshop will be made available soon on the project’s website.

Stay tuned for more information about Think NEXUS’ upcoming workshops!


The EU-US cooperation book that includes Think NEXUS contribution is out!

The book “ICT Policy, Research, and Innovation: Perspectives and Prospects for EU – US Collaboration” is now available on Wiley.

The book provides a clearly readable overview of selected information and communication technology (ICT) and policy topics. It compares and contrasts the policy approaches taken by the EU and the US in policy, research, and innovation topics on technologies as wide-ranging as:

  • Internet of Things
  • Cyber physical systems
  • 5G
  • Big data

The book includes a chapter on “The Next Generation Internet Initiative”, which was developed by Think NEXUS partners, namely:

  • Fabrice Clari – GAC Group
  • Glenn Ricart – USIgnite
  • Hubert Santer – GAC Group
  • José Gonzalez – AUSTRALO
  • Nikos Sarris – ATC
  • Peter Van Daele – IMEC
  • Vasilis Papanikolaou – AUSTRALO
  • Wouter Tavenier – IMEC

The book is part of a Wiley / IEEE Press series on “Technology Management, Innovation, and Leadership”, edited by another Think NEXUS partner, Tariq Samad of the University of Minnesota.

This chapter focuses on topics relevant to foster EU-US cooperation on NGI related topics. Moreover, this chapter includes the outcomes from the Think NEXUS US Workshop 2019, which was held in July 2019 in Washington DC, US.

Check more information about this book at:


Think NEXUS #Webinar: Emerging AI technology and its social and ethical implications

Think NEXUS is organising a webinar titled ‘Emerging AI technology and its social and ethical implications’, which will be held on November 24th at 18h EET (17h CET).

The webinar is free of charge.

Join us through the following link:


Webinar details

AI makes possible many new products and services that drive economic growth and technological innovation, worldwide, and is the key to military technology. Therefore, “AI systems” seen as automated decision systems raise countless socio-political questions, for example: who possesses the knowledge needed to take decisions? Who determines who possesses that knowledge?  And to what extend AI enables influencing on public and political debate, for example through political micro-targeting and the dissemination of disinformation? Besides privacy and security, specific social and ethical issues that can be affected by AI include responsibility and predictability of algorithms, avoidance of discrimination, social exclusion, and stigmatisation, ‘winner-takes-all’ market dynamics, de-skilling, de-socialisation, and unemployment, among others.

There have been many initiatives within science, business, and government to look at AI from a social and ethical perspective. According to the European AI Strategy, ‘human-centric’ AI should, firstly, respect fundamental rights, applicable regulations and core principles and values, ensuring an “ethical purpose”. And, secondly, the technology must be robust and trustworthy. However, the semantics behind AI are not shared between both sides of the Atlantic despite the common challenge to responsibly develop and use AI technology – maximizing its benefits while minimizing risks and protecting human rights. It’s now time for shared rules and legislation.


Erik Mannens is a Research Valorisation Director @ imec & Professor @ Ghent University. He currently heads the Data Science team of +50 Semantic Technologies & Artificial Intelligence Researchers. The primary objective of the Data Science team is to advance research and technology in the sweet spot of the fusion of Semantics & Artificial Intelligence and to widely apply this research in large-scale use cases.

He received his PhD degree in Computer Science Engineering (2011) at UGent, his Master’s degree in Computer Science (1995) at K.U. Leuven University, and his Master’s degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering (1992) at KAHO Ghent. Before joining iMinds-Ghent University-DataScienceLab in 2005 as research manager, he was a software engineering consultant and Java architect for over a decade. His major expertise is centered around big data analytics, metadata modeling, semantic web technologies, broadcasting workflows, iDTV and web development in general.  Since 2008 Erik is paving the Open Data path in Flanders. He stood at the cradle of the first Hackathons and is a founding member of the Open Knowledge Foundation. (Belgian Chapter). Since then, he is frequently invited as Open Data evangelist at national and international events.

Michail Bletsas is a Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab where he has been working since 1996. He is responsible for all the infrastructure that the lab uses to produce, store, transport and consume its bits. His current research interests include network security, wireless networks, building efficient high performance machine learning computing infrastructures and the intersection of AI with Society. Over the years, he has advised governments around technology policy issues and provided expert opinion in technical matters to top-level officials. He has cofounded two companies, has been a director and consulted for many others in a variety of capacities. Mr. Bletsas has been a frequent keynote speaker in international conferences and has been engaged in many civic activities. He holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and an MSc degree in Computer Engineering from Boston University

George Giannakopoulos is currently a Research Fellow in NCSR “Demokritos“. He has worked for more than 15 years on domains such as Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Data Mining, Biomedical Informatics. He graduated from the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) in 2005. He was awarded a PhD on Artificial Intelligence for his dissertation on automatic multi-document summarization in 2009 (School of Information and Communication Systems Engineering, University of the Aegean, Greece). Mr Giannakopoulos has more than 15 years of industrial experience in information technologies and IT consulting, covering domains such as Software Engineering, Medical Informatics, Data Mining and Machine Learning. He is co-founder of the non-profit company SciFY, acting as its Technical Manager to more than 5 ongoing projects related to the application of Artificial Intelligence on everyday life.

Jan De Bruyne obtained a Master’s degree in Political Sciences at the University of Ghent (2008) and a Master’s degree in Law (2012) at the same university. He has been an assistant in comparative and private law at the Ghent University Faculty of Law and Criminology since October 2012. He successfully defended his Ph.D. in September 2018 on a topic dealing with the liability of third-party certifiers. Jan De Bruyne was a Van Calker Fellow at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law and has been a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law of Oxford University and at the Center for European Legal Studies of the University of Cambridge. He started working at CiTiP in October 2019 as senior researcher on legal aspects of AI within the Flemish Centre for Data & Society. He will continue working on his post-doctoral research on robots, artificial intelligence and liability at the Ghent University Faculty of Law and Criminology. He is in charge of the Module “Vaardigheden IV”, in which students work on a topic related to legal aspects of AI and is supervisor of dissertations dealing with liability and technology. He has numerous publications in (inter)national journals and books on different legal topics such as certification and liability for damage caused by robots. He is also a regular speaker at conferences and seminars.


Considerations on the EU – U.S. Privacy Shield

Personal data privacy management across the Atlantic is among the core topics tackled by Think NEXUS project. As such, latest European decision on the EU-US privacy shield constitute an important development within its ecosystem. Following article details the context, consequences and reactions associated to this decision (extracted from Think NEXUS deliverable D1.4).

Court of Justice of the European Union’s repeal of the ‘EU-US privacy shield’

Personal data privacy management across the Atlantic is among the core topics tackled by Think NEXUS project. As such, latest European decision on the EU-US privacy shield constitute an important development within its ecosystem. Following article details the context, consequences and reactions associated to this decision (extracted from Think NEXUS deliverable D1.4).

The adequacy decision on the EU-US Privacy Shield was adopted on 12 July 2016 (Decision 2016/1250) and the Privacy
Shield framework became operational on 1 August 2016. This framework protects the fundamental rights of anyone in the EU whose personal data is transferred to the United States for commercial purposes. It allows the free transfer of data to companies that are certified in the US under the Privacy Shield.

The Framework includes:

  • Strong data protection obligations on companies receiving personal data from the EU
  • Safeguards on US government access to data
  • Effective protection and redress for individuals
  • An annual joint review by the EU and the US to monitor the correct application of the arrangement.

In the EU, the Privacy Shield is enforced by the European Commission (EC) DG JUST.

On the U.S. side, the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework, monitored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union to the United States in support of transatlantic commerce. The Privacy Shield program, which is administered by the International Trade Administration (ITA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce, enables U.S.-based organisations to join one or both of the Privacy Shield Frameworks in order to benefit from the adequacy determinations.

To join Privacy Shield Framework, a U.S.-based organisation [is] required to self-certify to the Department of Commerce and publicly commit to comply with the Framework’s requirements. While joining the Privacy Shield is voluntary, once an eligible organization makes the public commitment to comply with the Framework’s requirements, the commitment will become enforceable under U.S. law.

Court of Justice of the European Union’s repeal of the ‘EU-US privacy shield’

Latest Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgement in the NGI-related field induced a ‘considerable impact’ on EU-US internet related collaborations. Namely, judgment in Case C-311/18 – Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems[1] issued on 16/07/20, basically repeal the ‘EU-US privacy shield’ as such, providing a new entry in the long history of data protection between both areas.

Background to the CJEU’s decision, M. Schems’ case

“Maximillian Schrems, an Austrian national residing in Austria, has been a Facebook user since 2008. As in the case of other users residing in the European Union, some or all of Mr Schrems’s personal data is transferred by Facebook Ireland to servers belonging to Facebook Inc. that are located in the United States, where it undergoes processing. Mr Schrems lodged a complaint with the Irish supervisory authority seeking, in essence, to prohibit those transfers. He claimed that the law and practices in the United States do not offer sufficient protection against access by the public authorities to the data transferred to that country. That complaint was rejected on the ground, inter alia, that, in Decision 2000/520 (‘the Safe Harbour Decision’), the Commission had found that the United States ensured an adequate level of protection. In a judgment delivered on 6 October 2015, the Court of Justice, before which the High Court (Ireland) had referred questions for a preliminary ruling, declared that decision invalid (‘the Schrems I judgment’).

Following the Schrems I judgment and the subsequent annulment by the referring court of the decision rejecting Mr Schrems’s complaint, the Irish supervisory authority asked Mr Schrems to reformulate his complaint in the light of the declaration by the Court that Decision 2000/520 was invalid. In his reformulated complaint, Mr Schrems claims that the United States does not offer sufficient protection of data transferred to that country. He seeks the suspension or prohibition of future transfers of his personal data from the EU to the United States, which Facebook Ireland now carries out pursuant to the standard data protection clauses set out in the Annex to Decision 2010/87.

Taking the view that the outcome of Mr Schrems’s complaint depends, in particular, on the validity of Decision 2010/87, the Irish supervisory authority brought proceedings before the High Court in order for it to refer questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. After the initiation of those proceedings, the Commission adopted Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (‘the Privacy Shield Decision’).”

Namely, the CJEU invalidated Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Data Protection Shield, while leaving the principles of data protection for non-U.S. third countries (namely, CJEU decision states the Court “considers that Commission Decision 2010/87 on standard contractual clauses for the transfer of personal data to processors established in third countries is valid”).

Official reactions to the CJEU’s decision

On its Privacy Shield website, the U.S. Department of commerce states : “The [CJEU] issued a judgment declaring as “invalid” the European Commission’s Decision (EU) 2016/1250 of 12 July 2016 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. As a result of that decision, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework is no longer a valid mechanism to comply with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union to the United States. This decision does not relieve participants in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield of their obligations under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. The U.S. Department of Commerce will continue to administer the Privacy Shield program, including processing submissions for self-certification and recertification to the Privacy Shield Frameworks and maintaining the Privacy Shield List. If you have questions, please contact the European Commission, the appropriate European national data protection authority or legal counsel [2].”

Following the decision, EC Vice-President Jourová indicated that the Commission would abide and continue working with U.S. counterparts, stating that “[this] ruling provides further valuable guidance for us and we will make sure that the updated tool will be fully in line with it.” Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, reinforced the idea that “[the EC] will work with the European Data Protection Board, as well as the 27 EU Member States. It will be very important to start the process to have a formal approval to modernise the Standard Contractual Clauses as soon as possible. We have been in an ongoing process about such a modernisation for some time, but with an attention to the different elements of the decision of the [CJEU].” He also indicated that “[…] the Court has invalidated the Privacy Shield. We have to study the judgement in detail and carefully assess the consequences of this invalidation”.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB), essentially on the front line of GDPR’s implementation in the EU and with third country, pragmatically announced that the EDPB will study the judgment and its implications and seemingly intends to reassure stakeholders from both sides, while stating: “ While the standard contractual clauses (SCCs) remain valid, the CJEU underlines the need to ensure that these maintain, in practice, a level of protection that is essentially equivalent to the one guaranteed by the GDPR in light of the EU Charter. The assessment of whether the countries to which data are sent offer adequate protection is primarily the responsibility of the exporter and the importer, when considering whether to enter into SCCs. When performing such prior assessment, the exporter (if necessary, with the assistance of the importer) shall take into consideration the content of the SCCs, the specific circumstances of the transfer, as well as the legal regime applicable in the importer’s country. The examination of the latter shall be done in light of the non-exhaustive factors set out under Art 45(2) GDPR.”

The EDPB is an independent European body, which contributes to the consistent application of data protection rules throughout the European Union and promotes cooperation between the EU’s data protection authorities.

“Unofficial reactions” to the CJEU decision, U.S. and EC’s comments vary from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

A TedCrunch article[3], exploring – thoroughly – the potential impacts on the privacy shield repeal’s impact on cloud applications ironically states : “Short of radical changes to U.S. surveillance law, it’s tough to see how any new framework could be made to legally stick, though. Privacy Shield’s predecessor arrangement, Safe Harbour, stood for around 15 years. Its shiny “new and improved” replacement didn’t even last five.”

Lewis Silkin LLP, a U.K. law company, interestingly states, on website[4], its “immediate advice for organisations who transfer data outside the EEA (and of course specifically to the US) as follows:

  • Don’t panic.
  • Review existing international data transfers and data transfer mechanisms (hopefully a lot of this was done as part of your GDPR compliance) and identify areas of current non-compliance.
  • Wait for further guidance from EU/UK regulators and the FTC (including the arrival of the new SCCs from the EC).
  • Hope the EC and FTC come together quickly and create Privacy Shield Mark 2 for US transfers.
  • Where you are relying on SCCs for transfers to jurisdictions outside of the EEA including the US, consider putting together papers as to why you believe those territories offer adequate protection to data subjects so in the unlikely event you do come under challenge, you have the all-important written narrative to show the regulator.”

In such context, Think NEXUS will organise, through its policy working group, a webinar dedicated to the Privacy Shield in September (date not confirmed at the time of writing; to be announced on the project’s website)

[1] Court of Justice of the European Union, PRESS RELEASE No 91/20 – Judgment in Case C-311/18 – Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems, 16 July 2020, available at

[2] Privacy Shield Program Overview.

[3] Legal clouds gather over US cloud services, after CJEU ruling, available at

[4] “The EU-US Privacy Shield invalidated in Schrems II: what does the European Court of Justice ruling mean?”.

Webinar flyer

Webinar #2: Empowering Women in Tech – a Transatlantic vision

Think NEXUS ( project is hosting a webinar on “Empowering Women in Tech – a Transatlantic vision” webinar, which will occur on July 23rd at 16.00h CEST.

Gender still represents a clear challenge to overcome for the Next Generation Internet. It requires balancing and reinforcing the digital competences and literacy of women to succeed in an increasingly digitalised and fast-changing labour market.

In this context, this free webinar will be focused on exploring how Europe and the United States approach the empowerment of women in the digital economy. Participants will have the opportunity to hear the experience and perspective from three female pioneers that have made a place for themselves in the sector, who will share insights and recommendations about how a Transatlantic alliance can thrive into a more equal model.

You can find the webinar’s agenda and registration link in the flyer below. Participation is free of charge but registration is required prior to the event.

Registration link:


Think NEXUS #Webinar: Advanced wireless networking 5G and beyond

Think NEXUS ( is hosting a webinar focused on “Advanced wireless networking 5G and beyond”, which will occur on July 22nd at 16.30h CEST (please see the flyer below).

During this webinar, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the state of play of advanced wireless networking 5G in the EU and the USA. The webinar will count with the participation of key note speakers on this field of knowledge.

You can find the webinar’s agenda and registration link in the flyer below.

Free registration at:



I&E Group

Main outcomes from the first Innovation & Entrepreneurship Expert Group roundtable

The first Think NEXUS Workshop took place in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center , Washington D.C. on 10th July 2019, in parallel with the GCTC Expo. During the Workshop the 3 Expert Groups had their first round of face-to-face discussions, which were focused on fostering next EU-US collaboration over NGI thematic areas.

During the first Innovation & Entrepreneurship Expert Group discussion, experts encouraged to address friction points in terms of bilateral collaboration between the EU and the US. Some of the most relevant aspects that were considered during the round table are:

  • Concept of innovation.  Definitions matter; it’s hard to have effective understanding and build on concepts without them. One of the basic discussions that took place was about the vision of ‘innovation’ itself, and the role that private and public sectors should play in it, which slightly differs in each ecosystem – Innovation of the market versus technological innovation. Innovation in the USA has a clear go-to-market implication.
  • Role of public administration. Public agencies struggle to manage a landscape where technology changes at so rapid pace that is not realistic to consider the government as a thought leader in innovation. However, there are 2 potential aspects where policy can have a significant role: 1) allow innovation to happen, as regulation can get in the way of disruption; 2) identify how to bring society into the equation, highlighting the social issues and making them relevant. Technology sector may face the risk to lose the trust from the citizens if cases like privacy breaches and unauthorised exploitation of personal data continue. Policy should be adapted to a local vision.   In the case of Europe, the EC has a much stronger influence over the innovation ecosystem as a consequence of the weighty public funding instruments, and its regulatory strategy. A few experts consider this should not be the way to go as this top-down approach may create inefficiencies in the system and leaks in terms of resources.
  • Future of Work. Europe and the USA often have a different interpretation of the achievements/KPIs when it comes to the market impact of innovation.
  • Single Market. While the US already works as a unified market removing key differences between online and offline worlds, breaking down the barriers to cross-border online activity, the readiness of the European ‘Digital Single Market’ vision still lags behind. Up until now, EU citizens and businesses have often faced barriers when using online tools and services. These barriers mean that consumers have restricted access to some goods and services, businesses cannot reap all benefits from digitisation, and governments and citizens cannot fully benefit from this digital transformation.
  • Cultural gaps. Regardless of the multiple efforts towards a EU-US collaboration, there is a cultural divide that prevent an effective and stronger Transatlantic partnership. Europe has already achieved a mature level of collaboration among its member countries, often facilitated by common frameworks. However, when it comes to working with US partners, there are a number of significant differences in terms of culture, such as:
    • Semantics;
    • Communication;
    • Entrepreneurship in universities; and
    • Culture of failure.

Partners in both ecosystems interested in fostering a bilateral collaboration must understand that cultural divide is an issue and, therefore, need to make efforts to adapt to each other. One of the proposals suggested was to educate US partners into the European mind-set.

  • Joint narrative. It is crucial to identify shared ‘pains’ and propose strategic plans that will allow us to target priorities and objectives towards the Digital Economy and the evolution of Internet. It is important to recognize — and then reinforce — the fundamental principles and programmes that can underpin like-minded cooperation and global competitiveness in Focus Areas such as 5G and Artificial Intelligence around privacy, openness, trust and diversity.
  • Collaboration scheme. One of the main conclusions of the Expert Group was the lack of a proper and agile platform for collaboration between regions around technology innovation. A balanced instrument -not 100% sponsored by public or private funds, as this approach does not fully fit neither region- that could support and drive non-partisan leadership on forward-looking Transatlantic partnerships around innovation and entrepreneurship.

Stay tuned to know more about the outcomes of the Expert Group discussions!

[1] Cf.