European Commission Unlocks €2 Billion Funding with New Digital Europe Programme

The first work programmes adopted under the new Digital Europe programme will help to accelerate recovery and drive the digital transformation of Europe.

The European Commission has adopted the first three work programmes under its Digital Europe programme, setting out how it will allocate €1.98 billion to bring digital technology to businesses, citizens and public administrations throughout Europe.

Digital Europe provides funding of €7.5 billion over 2021-27 to help the Commission achieve its Digital Transition and Europe’s Digital Decade goals. It aims to accelerate the economic recovery and shape the digital transformation of Europe’s society and economy, delivering particular benefits to SMEs. It will support projects in five key capacity areas: 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.

The Digital Europe programme will be implemented through multiannual work programmes, the first three of which have now been adopted for 2021-22. The main work programme, worth €1.38 billion, will focus on investment in AI, cloud and data spaces, quantum communication infrastructure, advanced digital skills, and the broad use of digital technologies across the economy and society.

Alongside this, the Commission has published a work programme dedicating €269 million to cybersecurity by 2022 to support the development of advanced cybersecurity equipment, tools and data infrastructures. Additionally, a third work programme worth €329 million until the end of 2023 will support the set-up and operation of a network of European Digital Innovation Hubs. These hubs will provide access to technology testing and support the digital transformation of both private and public organisations of all sizes and levels throughout Europe.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said:

‘This is Europe’s Digital Decade. By 2030, data, cloud, edge and quantum computing will drive industrial and societal innovation, creating new business models. The €2 billion investment announced today enables European companies – of all sizes and notably startups – to seize opportunities in fast-growing markets. It will also empower European citizens with the skills needed to thrive in a safe digital environment. This strengthens our technological sovereignty.’

The work programmes will be implemented mainly through grants and procurement, and the first calls through the programme will be published by the end of November, with more to follow in 2022.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)