The Commission has announced the first set of calls for proposals under the Digital Europe Programme. This follows the adoption of the work programmes allocating nearly €2 billion for investments aimed to advance on the digital transition. The calls are open to businesses, organizations, and public administrations from the EU member states, as well as entities from other countries associated to the Digital Europe Programme.
These grants will be targeted towards an investment of over €415 million in cloud to edge infrastructure, data spaces, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum communication infrastructure, in advancing people's digital skills, and projects that promote a safer internet, fight child sexual abuse, and disinformation, until the end of 2022. The first call for proposals is also opening for the set-up and deployment of the European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) network. These hubs will support private companies, including SMEs and start-ups, and the public sector in their digital transformation. More information as regards applying for grants under this set of calls for proposals is available online. Further calls will be published in early 2022.
The main work programme for the Digital Europe Programme will include investments, such as:
- Deployment of common data spaces (e.g. data spaces for manufacturing, mobility and finance) that will facilitate cross-border data sharing for businesses, including small and medium size businesses (SMEs) and start-ups, and the public sector, as well as the deployment of a federated cloud-to-edge infrastructure and services, i.e. a backbone of digital solutions that will ensure secure data flows;
- Building of testing and experimentation facilities for AI-based solutions in order to boost the use of trusted AI (including use by SMEs and start-ups) to respond to key societal challenges, including climate change and sustainable healthcare (e.g. deploying AI testing facilities for health and smart cities and communities);
- Deployment of a secure quantum communication infrastructure for the EU (EuroQCI) that will offer high resilience against cyber-attacks;
- Set-up and delivery of master courses in key advanced digital technologies to boost digital skills in Europe, including actions such as the Digital Crash Courses for SMEs, as announced in the 2020 Skills Agenda and SME strategy;
- Set-up, operations and evolving and continuous maintenance of digital services supporting cross border interoperability of solutions in support of the public administrations (e.g. European Digital Identity).
The work programme on cybersecurity will see investments in building up advanced cybersecurity equipment, tools and data infrastructures. It will fund the development and best use of knowledge and skills related to cybersecurity, promote sharing of best practices and ensure wide deployment of state–of-the-art cybersecurity solutions across the European economy.
In order to help fulfil its objectives, the Digital Europe Programme will deploy a network of European Digital Innovation Hubs offering access to technology testing and support the digital transformation of private and public organisations all across Europe, including government at national, regional or local level, as appropriate. The European Digital Innovation Hubs will be an important tool in EU policies, in particular the industrial policy and the policy for small and medium businesses and start-ups, to support companies and the public sector in the twin green and digital transitions.
Current published calls:
DIGITAL-CLOUD-AI-01 Link to the F&TP
DIGITAL-2021-DEPLOY-01 Link to the F&TP
DIGITAL-2021-TRUST-01 Link to the F&TP
DIGITAL-2021-PREPATS-DS-01 Link to the F&TP
DIGITAL-2021-QCI-01 Link to the F&TP
DIGITAL-2021-SKILLS-01 Link to the F&TP
DIGITAL-2021-EDIH-01 Link to the F&TP