Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) logo

Initial Network of European Digital Innovation Hubs
Deadline: Nov 16, 2022  
- 48 days

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Start Up
 Capacity Building
 Education and Training
 Business Development
 High Performance Computing
 Artificial Intelligence


Outcomes and deliverables

At the end of the project, a balanced network of EDIH will cover all regions in Europe, addressing the needs of the public and private sectors, including all economic sectors, offering a wide range of specialised digital transformation services.

The following indicators will be used to evaluate the performance of the hub; proposals should define their targets related to each of them:

  • Number of businesses and public sector entities, which have used the European Digital Innovation Hubs’ services, by user category (businesses of different sizes, public sector entities, etc.), sector, location and type of support received. Where relevant, this will include a description of which Digital Europe Programme capacities have been used.
  • For access to finance: amount of additional investments successfully triggered (e.g. through venture capital, bank loan, etc.).
  • Number of collaborations foreseen with other EDIHs and stakeholders outside the region at EU level, and description of jointly shared infrastructures / joint investments with other EDIH.

A set of additional impact indicators will be collected and analysed with the support of the Digital Transformation Accelerator:

  • Increase in digital maturity of organizations that have used the services of the EDIH network. Digital maturity will be defined on the basis of a questionnaire developed by the Joint Research Centre assessing the categories digital strategy and readiness, intelligence and automation, data and connectedness, green and human-centric digitalisation. The green digitalisation category will focus on the use of digital technologies to improve environmental sustainability and the inclusion of circularity in value chains.
  • Market maturity and market creation potential of innovations, as defined in the JRC’s Innovation Radar methodology.

Cross-border trans-national hubs are possible; in this case, each Member State involved will provide the co-financing for participants legally established in their country. Grants will make use of multi-annual instalments.

Only entities that are designated by their Member State or Associated countries may apply to this call. As a proof of their designation they need to attach the letter of designation they received to their proposal.


Set-up the Initial Network of European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) from all designated candidate entities resulting from the Expression of Interest. Upgrade these entities to provide the complete set of services of an EDIH, including the necessary infrastructure, in a specific geographical area, covering the needs of the local SMEs, small mid-caps and/or public sector organisations with respect to their digital transformation. Network these EDIHs with each other and with other projects selected in Digital Europe Programme developing capacities in High Performance Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Advanced Digital Skills and accelerating the best use of these technologies.


Each EDIH will provide services based on a specific focus/expertise, which will support the local private and public sector with their digital and green transformation. The specialisation can be strengthened over time, and should make use of existing local competencies in this area. The services will be provided on an open, transparent and non-discriminatory basis and will be targeted mainly to (1) SMEs and small-midcaps and/or (2) public sector organisations conducting non-economic activities.

Each EDIH will act as an access point to the European network of EDIHs, helping local companies and/or public actors to get support from other EDIHs in case the needed competences fall outside their competence, ensuring that every stakeholder gets the needed support wherever it is available in Europe. Reversely, each EDIH will support the companies and public actors from other regions and countries presented by other EDIHs that need their expertise.

The EDIHs will be active in networking with other hubs, sharing best practices and specialist knowledge, in bringing companies into contact with other companies of their value chain, and in seeking synergies with innovators and early adopters - including artist, designers, architects and other creatives that test solutions in novel experiments and can foster the adoption of digital technologies in working and business environments in a more human-friendly way. EDIHs will also play a brokering role between public administrations and companies providing e-government technologies. In all the networking activities, EDIHs will be supported by the Digital Transformation Accelerator, and therefore it is compulsory that EDIHs participate actively in the relevant support activities of the Digital Transformation Accelerator, such as matchmaking, training and capacity building events.

Each EDIH will make available the relevant experimentation facilities related to its specialisation. SMEs, small mid-caps and the public sector will be able to test the technologies proposed, including where relevant their environmental impact, and the feasibility of applying these technologies to their business before further investing in it.

Furthermore, they will act as a multiplier and widely diffuse the use of all the digital capacities built up under the different specific objectives of the Digital Europe Programme on High Performance Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Advanced Digital Skills and Accelerating the best use of technologies. For this purpose, the EDIHs will participate in a “Train the trainer” programme where the specialists of the digital capacities train the EDIHs on how to use the capacities, so that the EDIHs can help their stakeholders to make use of them. It should be avoided that there is duplication of actions of the High Performance Computing competence centers,the Cybersecurity centers, the AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities and the EDIHs, and therefore working arrangements will be agreed among them, where the focus of the EDIHS will be on their role as multiplier and reaching out to all regions in Europe. The “Train the trainer” events, together with other events for the network of EDIH, will be organised by the Digital Transformation Accelerator. EDIHs should foresee active participation in those events.

EDIHs are encouraged to make use of the digital tools provided by the DTA, but are also free to use their own tools. However, interoperability with the DTA tools is a requirement, so that users of the EDIHs will have a seamless experience.

EDIHs will maintain structured long-term relationships with the relevant local actors like regional authorities, industrial clusters, SME associations, business development agencies, incubators (including European Space Agency Business Incubators, the ESA BICs), accelerators, chambers of commerce, and partners of the European Enterprise Network (EEN). Specifically, EDIHs will offer a seamless service with EEN and Startup Europe, e.g. by offering joint investor-related events, organising common trainings, workshops or info days, directing SME from EEN to EDIHs and from EDIHs to EEN as needed. It is expected that local EEN nodes that team up with a local EDIH will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to regulate their collaboration.

Finally, EDIH should become an interface for the European Commission to support the implementation of specific sectorial policies, SME policies and eGovernment policies. This will imply that EDIHs specialised in a specific sector could be consulted on policies related to their sector of competence, and could participate in specific actions, such as the New European Bauhaus initiative, where EDIHs for which it is relevant might be asked to help accelerate the take up of results and the emergence of lead markets. Another example is the “Adopt AI” programme that is currently under development as a result of the White Paper on AI.

The Digital Transformation Accelerator will also have the role to report on overall Key Performance Indicators of the network, and therefore each EDIH will provide them with the necessary information.

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