The Digital Europe Programme drives the digital transformation of Europe with 7.6 B€ and the first calls have just opened

Making a greener and more digital Europe is one of the biggest challenges for our generation. The Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) is a new funding programme from the European Union, which focuses to strategically fund the development and acceleration of European digital technologies to businesses, citizens and public administrations and support the recovery of the economy from the pandemic. With the opened and upcoming calls for proposals, that release the budget of 7.6 B€, there will be remarkable growth opportunities to small and mid-sized enterprises working on digital technologies as well as to organisations providing key technological capabilities and services.

We are highly dependent on digital technology and infrastructure to communicate, work, make progress in science and answer the environmental problems of our times. However, Europe can no longer be dependent on systems and solutions coming from outside our region, and the DIGITAL programme is aimed to pave the way to achieve this goal.

Spinverse Ecosystem Leader and Senior Project Manager Pentti Launonen says: ”The Digital Europe Programme will strengthen Europe´s digital sovereignty and support the digital transformation of the EU economy and its industrial ecosystems. The programme includes actions for reinforcing Europe´s critical digital capacities and deployment of digital technologies, developing key digital infrastructures, upskilling workforce, and creating safer digital spaces, services and markets”.

Overview
The goal of the DIGITAL programme is to accelerate the recovery of European economy and boost the digital transition of Europe. It extends to years from 2021 to 2027 and will support projects in five key areas, namely:

  • Supercomputing (2.2 B€) for building up and strengthening the EU’s supercomputing and data processing capacities, increasing accessibility and broadening the use of supercomputing
  • Artificial intelligence (2.1 B€) for investing in and opening up the use of artificial intelligence by businesses and public administrations, setting up European data spaces and cloud infrastructure, and strengthening testing and experimentation facilities
  • Cybersecurity (1.6 B€) for strengthening cybersecurity coordination and supporting the wide deployment of the cybersecurity capacities
  • Advanced digital skills (580 M€) for supporting specialised programmes and traineeships for the future experts in key capacity areas and upskilling of the existing workforce
  • Ensuring a wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society (1.1 B€) for supporting high impact deployments, building up the network of European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs), supporting the uptake of advanced digital and related technologies by the industry, and supporting public administrations and industry in the digital transformation.

The final versions of the main work programme and two other DIGITAL work programmes have now been published for the calls of years 2021 and 2022, and these calls will provide funding of total 1.98 B€.

For whom?
The grants and procurements released through the DIGITAL programme are targeted both for private sector organisations (SMEs, large enterprises and NGOs) as well as for public sector organisations and not-for-profit groups of entities.

Timeline for proposal preparation
The first set of Digital Europe calls are being opened during November 2021, with deadlines in the first quarter of 2022, and there will be several sets of calls during 2022. Several programmes at the EU, national and regional levels contribute also to these actions.

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