Expert knowledge: What are European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs)?
These goals are:
- accelerating the digital transformation of the private and public sectors across the European Union by promoting the adoption of advanced digital technologies (the goal is to transform 75% of EU businesses into Cloud/AI/Big Data users);
- Ensuring that 90% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU have at least a basic level of digital maturity;
- the creation of new European value chains.
EDIHs merge the advantages of a regional presence with those of a Europe-wide network. Due to their regionality, EDIHs have first-hand knowledge of the needs of local companies and can offer services in native language that are tailored to their innovation ecosystem. The European coverage of the EDIH network also facilitates the exchange of best practices between centres in different countries, as well as the provision of specialised services across regions when required skills are not available locally.
With the support of the EDIHs, companies can improve their business and production processes, products or services using digital technologies. SMEs gain access to technical expertise and can apply the "test first, invest later" model. EDIHs also provide innovation services such as financial advice, training and skills development, which are essential for a successful digital transformation. EDIHs adopt an environmentally conscious approach, particularly with respect to the use of digital technologies for sustainability and the circular economy.
The EDIHs offer services in the following areas:
- "Test before invest"
- "Building in-depth digitalisation skills"
- "Supporting access to finance"
- "Innovation ecosystems and networking"
The following topics are addressed:
- High-Performance Computing
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cyber Security
- Digitalisation or other existing innovative technologies
In case an individual EDIH does not cover one or more subject areas, enquirers are referred to other EDIHs in the network.
The European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs) are part of the EU's "Digital Europe" programme. As part of this programme, a nationwide network of 150 EDIHs has been established in the European Union from autumn 2022 to mid-2023. Since mid-2023, 33 EDIHs have been active in Germany, out of which three are in Bavaria.
Three EDIHs in Bavaria
Three EDIHs are active in Bavaria and were each supported by BayFOR: the EDIH "DInO" (Digital Innovation Ostbayern), the EDIH DIBI (Bayern Innovativ) in Nuremberg and the EDIH "DigiCare" of the Medical Valley in Erlangen. Their focus is clearly set on SMEs and public administrations in rural regions and therefore sustains a different environment than digital transformation is usually thought of. BayFOR supported all three EDIHs in their application for funding.
EDIH DInO: BayFOR is an associated partner
The EDIH DInO consists of a team of networkers, researchers and start-up consultants that are supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and public institutions in the implementation of new digital concepts. While coordinated by the Deggendorf Institute of Technology, the OTH Regensburg, R-Tech GmbH in Regensburg and the Bavarian AI Agency in Munich are also involved. The Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR) played a key advisory role in the funding application and is involved as an associated partner within this project.
The project provides so-called "test-before-invest" facilities in which companies have the opportunity to try out in a laboratory environment with support from expert ideas, concepts or even conceptual considerations. This extensive test infrastructure covers the areas of cyber security, eye tracking, artificial intelligence and machine learning, high-performance computing, Internet of Things, 5G test networks and drone technology. Thus, the opportunities provided by new technologies from these areas can be evaluated by and tailored to the respective companies before major investments are performed. Furthermore, specialised consulting services on regional, national and European funding acquisition, combined with networking services such as international brokerage and matchmaking events for partner searches, are offered.
As an associated partner, BayFOR offers its main services through workshops, seminars and events on EU-funding consultancy services for participation in EU-funded research programmes. BayFOR also provides general support in authoring a funding application, as well as "customised" services for developing and submitting EU-funded applications, such as partner search, conceptual advice and extended proofreading.
The total project volume is about five million euros. The DInO Hub concept has been developed in close cooperation with the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Science as well as the government of Lower Bavaria.
An overview of all European EDIHs can be found here. Further information on EDIH can be found here.
Source: TH Deggendorf, European Commission