The European Commission has announced three new work programmes for the Digital Europe programme, which will receive a total of € 1.98 billion in funding. The Digital Europe programme aims to strengthen technological dominance and to introduce digital market solutions for the benefit of citizens, public administrations and businesses.
The € 1.38 billion main work programme will focus on investments in the fields of artificial intelligence (IT), cloud computing and data spaces, quantum communication infrastructure, advanced digital skills and the widespread use of digital technologies. throughout the economy and society, by the end of 2022.
In particular, the main work programme will include investments such as:
- Development of common data spaces (eg data processing, mobility and financing spaces) that will facilitate cross-border data exchange for businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, and for the public sector.
- Establishment of testing and experimentation facilities for Artificial Intelligence-based solutions to enhance its use, to address key societal challenges, including climate change and sustainable healthcare.
- Development of a secure quantum communication infrastructure for the EU (EuroQCI) that will offer high resistance to cyberattacks.
- Design and delivery of postgraduate courses in basic advanced digital technologies to enhance digital skills.
In parallel with this main work programme, the Commission has published two special work programmes. The first focuses on funding in the field of cybersecurity, with a budget of 269 million euros by the end of 2022. Investments are planned in the development of advanced equipment, tools and data infrastructure for cybersecurity. It will also fund the development and best use of relevant knowledge and skills, promote the exchange of best practices and ensure the widespread dissemination of cutting-edge solutions throughout the European economy.
The second special programme focuses on the creation and operation of a network of European digital innovation hubs by the end of 2023 with a budget of € 329 million. The network will provide access to technology testing and support the digital transformation of private and public organisations. throughout Europe. European digital innovation hubs will be an important tool of EU policies, in particular industrial and SME policy, to support business and the public sector in the green and digital transition.
The first calls for proposals for the ‘Digital Europe’ programme will be published before the end of
November, while further calls will be published in 2022. The work programmes will be implemented mainly through grants and public procurement.
"Digital Europe" programme
The Digital Europe programme is the first EU funding programme to focus on providing businesses and citizens with digital technology. With a planned total budget of € 7.5 billion (in current prices) over a period of 7 years, it will accelerate the economic recovery and shape the digital transformation of Europe’s society and economy, bringing benefits especially to small and medium-sized enterprises. The Digital Europe programme will be implemented through multiannual work programmes.
The Digital Europe programme will complement investments in other EU programmes such as Horizon Europe, EU for Health, InvestEU and the Connecting Europe Facility, as well as investments in the Recovery and Sustainability Facility. The regulation establishing the ‘Digital Europe’ programme was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 11 May 2021, came into force on the same day and is applicable retroactively from 1 January 2021. Learn more in the relevant European Commission Press Release.
EKT within the innovation ecosystem
EKT, an agency overseen by the Ministry of Digital Governance, supports organisations and businesses focused on the new data economy. It is the first Digital Innovation Node (DIH) in Greece that was registered in the European Commission list.
With combined value-added services, EKT supports the Greek research and business community to excel and grow internationally. As a National Horizon Contact Point for Horizon Europe, for the thematic groups Digital Technology, Industry and Space, Health and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), it supports organisations, businesses, academia and research, from fundraising to funding opportunities, the preparation and submission of proposals, the implementation of projects and the utilisation of research results. In addition, it contributes to the recording and analysis of Greece’s participation in European research and innovation programmes.
As co-ordinator of the Greek node of the Enterprise Europe Network, the largest business support network in the world, it provides services complementary to those of the National Contact Points, for international networking and search for business and technological collaborations, technology transfer and innovation, access to European funding and partner finding for participation in research proposals.
EKT is also the EIT Health hub in Greece (one of the largest European initiatives to enhance innovation in the field of health, of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology). It actively participates in the STARTUP3 project consortium, supporting Greek companies that develop innovative solutions in various fields, from Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity to geospatial surveying and biotechnology.