The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications launched a competition, the winner of which will be able to participate in the targeted application round of the EU Digital Innovation Hub's sub-program called the Digital Europe Program.
According to Anne-Mari Sassen, Deputy Head of the A2 Unit of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Networks, Content, and Technology, the competition has been launched to increase the digital capacity of European companies. "We see that companies in Europe are not investing enough in digital technologies to the extent that is necessary. The introduction of digital technology also shows very large differences in the size and field of activity of companies. For example, about 60% of large companies operating in Estonia have digitized their services, while in the case of small companies it is only 20%. To help those companies that are not yet investing enough in new technologies, we have created a network of digital innovation hubs to support European companies in the digital transition, ” explained Sassen.
According to Anu Kull, Chief Specialist of the Economic Development Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the aim of participating in the network is to develop important areas for the Estonian economy and companies. "We focus on the digitalization of industry and the circular economy. In addition, the central service of EDIH located in Estonia should operate on the principle of "test before invest", " explained she.
The competition brings together preliminary projects in the form of business plans and evaluates them. As a result of the competition, this consortium of Estonian universities and entrepreneurs will be identified, to whom the state recommends to prepare and submit the main project in the targeted application round organized by the EU Commission.
To participate in the competition, a consortium must meet a number of conditions. In particular, there must be the capacity to provide services related to the implementation of artificial intelligence and robotics in the fields of industrial digitization and the circular economy. Equally important is competent management, skills, and technical capabilities for the development. As it is practically possible for Estonia to receive funding from the Digital Europe Program for only one digital innovation hub, it is expected to participate in consortia involving all Estonian universities with competence in artificial intelligence and robotics applications.
Watch the recording of the Info Day here (in Estonian).