Encouraging interregional collaborations on digitalisation: virtual meeting between the Four Motors for Europe and Associates EDIH

Digitalisation is key for European companies and public sector to remain competitive internationally. Digital technologies need to be integrated into their products, business processes and services in order to benefit from the efficiency gains and innovation they may bring, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and remaining environmentally sustainable.

European Digital Innovation Hubs in the regions of the Four Motors for Europe and Associates. © Region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes

In this frame, the European Commission has proposed the creation of Digital Europe, a €9.2 billion programme aiming at shaping and supporting the digital transformation of Europe’s society and economy. European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs) are at the heart of this program. They will function as “one-stop 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. EDIHs will also support companies and public sector organisations in the use of digital technology to improve the sustainability of their processes and products, in particular with regard to energy consumption and reduction of carbon emissions.”

The digital transformation of the industry is a key priority for the Four Motors for Europe and their two associates, Flanders and Wales. At the moment, the Four Motors for Europe and Associates are home to more than 20 initiatives that received the support of their regional/national governments. This support was the first step and a preliminary condition to apply to the future call for proposals that will be launched by the European Commission in the coming months to select a limited number of EDIH. The applicants will be asked, amongst other, to demonstrate their European dimension through connexions and collaborations with other EDIH across Europe. This is the reason why the Economy Group of the Four Motors supported the organisation of a first virtual meeting to connect the respective EDIH. The meeting, coordinated by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, was held on the 16th of February and gathered more than 50 people.

During the meeting, each region had the opportunity to illustrate its EDIH approach and the EDIH initiatives shortly presented themselves. Namely, all the initiatives will encourage the 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 the respective regions. However, some of them have also a thematic focus (manufacturing and industry 4.0, polymer materials, energy, smart infrastructures and building, edtech, agrifood, etc.). Therefore, the debates revealed the variety of approaches in the different regions, which is enriching in terms of benchmark and represents one of the strengths of the Four Motors network.

Willing to know the EDIH initiatives in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Baden-Württemberg, Catalonia, Lombardy and Flanders? Download the above map for more details.