European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) will play a central role in the Digital Europe Programme to stimulate the broad uptake of Artificial Intelligence, High Performance Computing (HPC) and Cybersecurity as well as other digital technologies by industry (in particular SMEs and midcaps) and public sector organisations in Europe. They are onestop shops that help companies become more competitive with regard to their business/production processes, products or services using digital technologies, by providing access to technical expertise and experimentation, so that companies can “test before invest”. They also provide innovation services, such as financing advice, training and skills development that are needed for a successful digital transformation. Environmental issues will be taken into account, in particular with regard to energy consumption and low carbon emissions.
European Digital Innovation Hubs will have both local and European functions. EU funding will be made available for hubs that are already (or will be) supported by their Member States (or regions), so as to increase the impact of public funding. The Digital Europe Programme will increase the capacities of the selected hubs to cover activities with a clear European added value, based on networking the hubs and promoting transfer of expertise. Member States have an essential role in the selection process of the EDIHs; the initial network of EDIHs will be established from a list of hubs designated by Member States.
This document provides initial ideas on how to implement the Digital Europe Programme, how it complements the support to digital transformation of the economy under other EU programmes, and how it contributes to a successful network of hubs covering all regions of Europe. This document is made available just before the 3rd Stakeholder Forum on Digitising European Industry “Artificial Intelligence and Digital Innovation Hubs – beyond 2020”, which takes place on 13-15 November 2019 in Madrid. During the event there will be the occasion for the stakeholders to provide feedback which the European Commission may use to prepare the first Workprogramme. The first restricted call for EDIHs is expected to be launched in Autumn 2020 so that the selected EDIHs can start their operation in 2021. This implies that Member States should designate their hubs to the Commission by August 2020.