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The Commission has adopted three work programmes for the Digital Europe Programme, outlining the objectives and specific topic areas that will receive a total of €1.98 billion in funding. This first set of work programmes includes strategic investments that will be instrumental in realising the Commission’s goals in making this Europe’s Digital Decade. The Digital Europe Programme aims to bolster Europe’s technological sovereignty and bring digital solutions to market for the benefit of citizens, public administrations, and businesses.

The main work programme 2021-2022, worth €1.38 billion, will focus on investment in the areas of:

  • artificial intelligence (AI),
  • cloud and data spaces,
  • quantum communication infrastructure,
  • advanced digital skills,
  • digital twin, blockchain,
  • digitalisation of public services.

Alongside this main work programme, the Commission published two specific work programmes: the first one focuses on funding in the area of cybersecurity, with a budget of €269 million until the end of 2022; and the second one focuses on the set-up and operation of the network of European Digital Innovation Hubs, with a budget of €329 million, until the end of 2023.

The main work programme for the Digital Europe Programme will include investments, such as:

  • Deployment of EU-wide data exchange platforms (e.g. data spaces for manufacturing, mobility and finance) that will facilitate cross-border industrial data sharing, including small and medium size businesses (SMEs) and start-ups, and the public sector, as well as the deployment of a federated cloud-to-edge infrastructure and services, i.e. a backbone of digital solutions that will ensure secure data flows;
  • Building of testing and experimentation facilities for AI-based solutions in order to boost the use of trusted AI (including use by SMEs and start-ups) to respond to key societal challenges, including climate change and sustainable healthcare;
  • Deployment of a secure quantum communication infrastructure for the EU (EuroQCI) that will offer high resilience against cyber-attacks and based on national nodes, LuxQCI for Luxembourg;
  • Set-up and delivery of master courses in key advanced digital technologies to boost digital skills in Europe, including actions such as the Digital Crash Courses for SMEs, as announced in the 2020 Skills Agenda and SME strategy;
  • Set-up, operations and evolving and continuous maintenance of digital services supporting cross border interoperability of solutions in support of the public administrations (e.g. European Digital Identity).
  • Set-up a financial platform for pooling resources to support investors towards companies and start-ups in strategic digital technologies.

The work programme on cybersecurity will see investments in building up advanced cybersecurity equipment, tools, certification and data infrastructures. It will fund the development and best use of knowledge and skills related to cybersecurity, promote sharing of best practices and ensure wide deployment of state–of-the-art cybersecurity solutions across the European economy.

In order to help fulfil its objectives, the Digital Europe Programme will deploy a network of European Digital Innovation Hubs offering access to advanced digital technologies and support the digital transformation of private and public organisations all across Europe, including government at national, regional or local level, as appropriate. The European Digital Innovation Hubs will be an important tool in EU policies, in particular the industrial policy and the policy for small and medium businesses and start-ups, to support companies and the public sector in the twin green and digital transitions.

Infodays

A series of infodays is organised around the different thematic:

Work programmes

The first three work programmes were adopted by the European Commission on 10 November 2021. The first calls will be published by the end of November. The fourth work programme for High-Performance Computing is prepared by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking and will follow an independent calendar for adoption.

Background

The Digital Europe Programme is the first funding programme of the EU focused on bringing digital technology to businesses and citizens. With a planned total budget of €7.5 billion (in current prices) over 7 years, it will accelerate the economic recovery and shape the digital transformation of Europe’s society and economy, bringing benefits in particular to small and medium-sized businesses. The Digital Europe Programme will be implemented by means of multiannual work programmes.

The Digital Europe Programme will complement investments under other EU programmes, such as the Horizon EuropeEU4HealthInvestEU, the Connecting Europe Facility, as well as investments under the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

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