What is the goal of the funding programme?
The Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) is an EU funding programme focused on bringing digital technology to businesses, citizens, and public administrations. DIGITAL aims to accelerate the economic recovery and shape the digital transformation of Europe’s society and economy, bringing benefits to everyone, but in particular to small and medium-sized enterprises.
How is the funding programme structured?
DIGITAL is implemented through five work programmes:
For all actions excluding those implemented by the other three work programmes as indicated below - DIGITAL Europe Work Programme 2023-2024.
- High-performance computing: Deploying world-class exascale, post-exascale supercomputing and quantum computing capacities to ensure the widest access to and use of these capacities. For High Performance Computing actions – the work programme is managed by the EuroHPCJoint.
- Artificial intelligence: Deploying EU-wide common data spaces based on a cloud-to-edge federated infrastructure and promoting the testing and adoption of artificial intelligence-based solutions.
- Cybersecurity: Building up advanced cybersecurity capabilities (including a quantum secure communication infrastructure for Europe), promoting the sharing of best practices and ensuring a wide deployment of state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions across the European economy. For Cybersecurity actions - DIGITAL Europe - Cybersecurity Work Programme 2023-2024.
- Advanced digital skills: Boosting academic excellence by increasing the education and training offers in key digital technologies, such as high-performance computing, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
- Adoption and best use of key digital technologies : Deploying a network of European digital innovation hubs supporting the digital transformation of European public and private organisations, addressing key societal challenges (e.g. environment and climate change) via high-impact deployments and reinforcing the European blockchain capacities and the digital transformation of public administrations and services through interoperability solutions while promoting an inclusive and trustworthy digital space. For the European Digital Innovation Hubs - DIGITAL Europe - EDIH Work Programme2021-2023.
DIGITAL does not address these challenges in isolation, but rather complements the funding available through other EU programmes, such as the Horizon Europe programme for Research and Innovation, the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the Structural funds, to name a few.
What thematic areas are covered?
Digital technology and infrastructure have a critical role in our private lives and business environments. We rely on them to communicate, work, advance science and answer environmental problems. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted not only how much we rely on our technology to be available to us, but also how important it is for Europe not to be dependent on systems and solutions coming from other regions of the world. Paving the way for achieving this goal is the DIGITAL programme.
What is in it for the social economy?
Digital Europe focuses on bringing digital technology to businesses, citizens and administrations and covers the areas of supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, advanced digital skills, and ensuring a wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society, including through Digital Innovation Hubs.
Social economy organisations using technology as their main medium of action for impact and/or those promoting and accompanying the digital transition may look into this programme for support. In particular, the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs) seems interesting from a social economy perspective, featuring as one-stop shops that help companies dynamically respond to digital challenges and become more competitive. By providing access to technical expertise and experimentation as well as the possibility to “test before investing,” EDIHs help companies improve business/production processes, products, or services using digital technologies. They also provide innovation services, such as financing advice, training, and skills development, that are needed for a successful digital transformation. Environmental issues are also taken into account, in particular with regard to energy consumption and low carbon emissions.
Who is eligible to apply?
- Small or medium-size enterprise
- Private for-profit organisation
- Higher or secondary education establishment
- Research Organisation
- Public organisation
- Non-governmental organisation
- International Organisation
It's important to note that the specific eligibility criteria and requirements may vary depending on the particular calls for proposals or funding opportunities within the Digital Europe programme. For detailed and up-to-date information on eligibility and application guidelines, it is advisable to consult the official website or documentation of the Digital Europe programme.
While the purpose of the Programme is first and foremost to strengthen the EU’s digital capacities, it allows the possibility to have third countries associated to the Programme. Therefore, the funding will be available for entities from the EU Member States as well as other countries associated to the Programme.
How to apply?
- Visit the Digital Europe Programme website, which is here.
- Understand the programme: Familiarize yourself with the objectives and priorities of the Digital Europe Programme. This will help you determine if your project aligns with the programme's goals.
- Find funding opportunities: Explore the website to identify the available funding opportunities within the Digital Europe Programme. Look for specific calls for proposals or funding schemes that match your project's focus. You can find the funding and tender opportunities web page here.
- Review eligibility criteria: Carefully read the eligibility criteria for the funding opportunity you are interested in. Make sure your organization and project meet all the specified requirements.
- Prepare your application: Gather all the necessary information and documents needed for your application, such as project details, budget, work plan, and supporting materials. Follow the guidelines provided on the website to ensure your application is complete and meets all requirements.
- Submit your application: Submit your application through the designated application portal or submission method indicated on the website. Pay attention to any deadlines mentioned and ensure you submit your application before the stated closing date.
Remember, the steps outlined above provide a general overview. It is essential to refer to the website for the most accurate and detailed information on How to get funding for the Digital Europe Programme.
Where to find more information?
- Official webpage of the The Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL): https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/activities/digital-programme
- Official webpage of the The European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking: https://eurohpc-ju.europa.eu
- Official webpage of the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre and Network: https://cybersecurity-centre.europa.eu/index_en
- Funding & tender opportunities portal: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/programmes/digital
- Digital Europe Programme – Performance overview webpage : Digital Europe Programme - Performance (europa.eu)
How to contact organisations who manage the programme?
- If you need help to identify a potential partner with particular competences, facilities or experience, use the partner search options.
- Find the European Digital Innovation Hubs near you here
- If you are applying you can use the support overview webpage from the EU Funding and Tender opportunities portal.
Organisations who provide support?
Your national or regional authorities, networks, and incubators are the best entry points to access tailor-made information regarding your needs!
History of the programme
Although Digital Europe is a new programme, some of its activities target the sustainability and continuation of actions deployed under the previous Multiannual Financial Framework.
In particular, actions under the CEF Telecom programme, the ISA2 programme focussed on interoperability in public administration applications. Part of these solutions are now integrated within the scope of Digital Europe Programme.
In addition, the Digital Europe Programme builds on successful projects funded under the H2020 programme, making it possible to move technologies such as high-performance computing and artificial intelligence into large-scale deployments. The European High Performance Computing strategy was implemented using funding from both Horizon 2020 and CEF programmes. Horizon 2020 supported artificial intelligence but focused on research and innovation and not on large-scale deployments.
Responsible Directorate-General in the European Commission
The leading directorate-general is DG Connect (Communications Networks, Content and Technology), associated with the Directorate-General DIGIT (Informatics).