The recent global crisis incited by the COVID19 pandemic has recently pointed out the critical role of digitalisation and the benefits it can bring to the European economy. Europe’s digital future is progressively developed through dedicated policy actions and initiatives targeting and ensuring its successful digital transformation by 2030. Building upon the European Commission’s Digitising European Industry (DEI) strategy, the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL), launched late 2020, inaugurates the current financial period 2021-2027 in support of the digitalisation venture.
, the cornerstone of the EU economy, need to embark upon the digitalisation challenge and by introducing new innovative production processes, new business models and upgraded innovative products achieve their digital transformation. Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH)
aim to ensure that SMEs will benefit from advanced digital technologies (including Artificial Intelligence, High Performance Computing, Cybersecurity and Digital skills
). As powerful policy tools they will support national/regional policy makers in implementing the regional innovation strategies (including S3/S4) and to facilitate the recovery of their economies.
European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH)
will present a more specific profile and funded by the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL)
they will incorporate both local and European functions forming a pan-European network ready to adress any digitalisation need of SMEs and beyond. EDIHs will be proposed by the respective Member States and apart from SMEs will also target public sector organisations to support them in their effort towards digitalisation. On top of the financing from the DIGITAL Programme the successful EDIHs will receive financial support by their respective Member State's national or regional authorities.
In more general terms the major funding mechanisms that aim to facilitate and ensure the wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society during the new programming period 2021-2027 are:
- Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL), a 7.5 billion EUR investment mechanism which will fuel projects in the areas of supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and advanced digital skills
- HORIZON Europe, an ambitious investment programme for R&D, a proven success story with high added value for the European socioeconomic landscape that will be renewed for the next financial period 2021-2027
- European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) decentralised Cohesion funds and Next Generation EU funding mechanisms which aim to mitigate the economic and social impact of the COVID19 pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.