The Commission announced on Wednesday 17 November the first set of proposals under the Digital Europe Programme. This is a programme set out in the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework to accelerate the recovery and boost Europe's digital transformation
The first proposals under the Digital Europe Programme in the area of digital technology and the European Digital Innovation Centres were launched on Wednesday 17. Digital Europe comprises three work programmes outlining specific objectives and thematic areas that will receive a total of €1.98 billion in funding.
The calls are open to companies, organisations and public administrations from EU Member States, as well as entities from other countries associated to the Digital Europe Programme. The grants will target an investment of more than €415 million in infrastructure, data spaces, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum communication infrastructure, advancing people’s digital skills, and in projects promoting a safer internet, the fight against child sexual abuse and disinformation, until the end of 2022.
The first call for proposals for the creation and deployment of the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) network is also open. These hubs will support private companies, including SMEs and start-ups, and the public sector in their digital transformation.
Digital Europe grant application
With a total of €7.6 billion, Digital Europe is the first EU programme to accelerate the recovery and drive Europe’s digital transformation and is part of the next long-term EU budget (the Multiannual Financial Framework) which runs from 2021 to 2027.
It will provide funding for projects in five crucial areas: supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, advanced digital skills and ensuring the widespread use of digital technologies in the economy and society.
The programme is designed to bridge the gap between research into digital technologies and their deployment, and to bring research results to the market, to the benefit of Europe’s citizens and businesses, and in particular SMEs. Investments under the Digital Europe programme support the EU’s twin goals of a green transition and a digital transformation, and strengthen the Union’s strategic resilience and autonomy.
Important dates for the first Digital Europe calls
- Deadline for this first call is 22 February 2022.
- Two further calls under the overall Digital Europe work programme will open in the first quarter of 2022 and the third quarter of 2022, respectively.
Digital Europe’s Objectives
- Competing globally – Other regions of the world invest huge amounts of public capital in advanced technologies. For example, the US and China spend between €10-20 billion annually on AI alone.
- Achieving scale through collective co-investment – Given the scale of investment needed, the scale required, and the risks involved, Europe needs to pool resources.
- Regaining control of Europe’s value chains – Ensuring Europe’s technological sovereignty.
- Better address Europe’s economic and societal challenges – e.g., climate, health, mobility and public services.
- Ensure a wide take-up of digital technologies in all EU regions – In the deployment of the latest technologies to deliver the best services to citizens and businesses.
- Supporting SMEs to acquire or access the latest technologies and skills – Over 400,000 vacancies in the EU in these fields.