|Description of programme
The general objectives of the Digital Europe Programme shall be to support and accelerate the digital transformation
of the European economy, industry and society, to bring its benefits to citizens, public administrations and businesses across
the Union, and to improve the competitiveness of Europe in the global digital economy while contributing to bridging the digital
divide across the Union and reinforcing the Union’s strategic autonomy, through holistic, cross-sectoral and cross-border
support and a stronger Union contribution.
The Programme shall be implemented in close coordination with other Union
programmes as applicable, and shall aim:
- to strengthen and promote
Europe’s capacities in key digital technology areas through large-scale deployment;
- in the private sector and in areas
of public interest, to widen the diffusion and uptake of Europe’s key digital technologies, promoting the digital transformation
and access to digital technologies.
It will reinforce EU critical digital capacities by focusing on the key areas
of artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, advanced computing, data infrastructure, governance and processing, the deployment
of these technologies and their best use for critical sectors like energy, climate change and environment, manufacturing,
agriculture and health. Thus, the Programme shall have five interrelated specific objectives:
- Specific Objective
1 – High Performance Computing
- Specific Objective 2 – Artificial Intelligence
- Specific Objective 3 – Cybersecurity
- Specific Objective 4 – Advanced Digital Skills
- Specific Objective 5 Deployment and Best Use of Digital
Capacity and Interoperability.
The Digital Europe Programme is strategic in supporting the digital transformation
of the EU industrial ecosystems targeting upskilling to provide a workforce for these advanced digital technologies. It supports
industry, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and public administration in their digital transformation with a reinforced
network of European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH). The Programme will accelerate the economic recovery and drive the digital
transformation of Europe.
Specific Objective 1- High Performance Computing
The financial contribution from the Union under Specific Objective 1 – High Performance Computing shall pursue the
following operational objectives:
- deploy, coordinate
at Union level and operate an integrated demand-oriented and application-driven world-class exascale supercomputing and data
infrastructure that shall be easily accessible to public and private users, in particular SMEs, irrespective of the Member
State in which they are located, and easily accessible for research purposes, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1488;
ready to use operational technology resulting from research and innovation in order to build an integrated Union HPC ecosystem,
covering various aspects in the scientific and industrial value chain segments, including hardware, software, applications,
services, interconnections and digital skills, with a high level of security and data protection;
- deploy and operate
post-exascale infrastructure, including integration with quantum computing technologies and research infrastructures for computing
science and encourage the development within the Union of the hardware and software necessary for such deployment.
Objective 2 – Artificial Intelligence
The financial contribution from the Union
under Specific Objective 2 – Artificial Intelligence shall pursue the following operational objectives:
- build up and strengthen core AI capacities and knowledge in the Union, including
building up and strengthening quality data resources and corresponding exchange mechanisms, and libraries of algorithms, while
guaranteeing a human-centric and inclusive approach that respects Union values;
- make the
capacities referred to in point (a) accessible to businesses, especially SMEs and start-ups, as well as civil society, not-for-profit
organisations, research institutions, universities and public administrations, in order to maximise their benefit to the European
society and economy;
- reinforce and network AI testing and experimentation facilities in
- develop and reinforce commercial application and production systems in order
to facilitate the integration of technologies in value chains and the development of innovative business models and to shorten
the time required to pass from innovation to commercial exploitation and foster the uptake of AI-based solutions in areas
of public interest and in society.
Specific Objective 3 – Cybersecurity and Trust
The financial contribution from the Union under Specific Objective 3 – Cybersecurity and Trust shall pursue the following
- support the
building-up and procurement of advanced cybersecurity equipment, tools and data infrastructures, together with Member States,
in order to achieve a high common level of cybersecurity at European level, in full compliance with data protection legislation
and fundamental rights, while ensuring the strategic autonomy of the Union;
- support the
building-up and best use of European knowledge, capacity and skills related to cybersecurity and the sharing and mainstreaming
of best practices;
- ensure a wide deployment of effective state-of-the-art cybersecurity
solutions across the European economy, paying special attention to public authorities and SMEs;
- reinforce capabilities within Member States and private sector to help them comply with Directive (EU) 2016/1148 of
the European Parliament and of the Council including through measures supporting the uptake of cybersecurity best practices;
- improve resilience against cyberattacks, contribute towards increasing risk-awareness and knowledge
of cybersecurity processes, support public and private organisations in achieving basics levels of cybersecurity, for example
by deploying end-to-end encryption of data and software updates;
- enhance cooperation between
the civil and defence spheres with regard to dual-use projects, services, competences and applications in cybersecurity, in
accordance with a Regulation establishing the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre
and the Network of National Coordination Centres (the ‘Cybersecurity Competence Centre Regulation’).
Objective 4 – Advanced Digital Skills
The financial contribution from the Union
under Specific Objective 4 – Advanced Digital Skills shall support the development of advanced digital skills in areas covered
by the Programme in order to contribute to increasing Europe’s talent pool, bridge the digital divide and foster greater professionalism,
especially with regard to high performance and cloud computing, big data analytics, cybersecurity, distributed ledger technologies
(e.g. blockchain), quantum technologies, robotics, AI, while taking gender balance into account. In order to tackle skills
mismatches and to encourage specialisation in digital technologies and applications, the financial contribution shall pursue
the following operational objectives:
the design and delivery of high-quality, long-term training and courses, including blended learning, for students and for
- support the design and delivery of high-quality, short-term training and
courses for the workforce, in particular in SMEs and in the public sector;
- support high-quality
on-the-job training and work placements for students, including traineeships, and the workforce, in particular in SMEs and
in the public sector.
Specific Objective 5 – Deployment and Best Use of Digital Capacities and Interoperability
The financial contribution from the Union under Specific Objective 5 – Deployment and Best Use
of Digital Capacities and Interoperability shall pursue the following operational objectives while bridging the digital divide:
- support the public sector and areas of public
interest, such as health and care, education, judiciary, customs, transport, mobility, energy, environment, cultural and creative
sectors, including relevant businesses established within the Union, to effectively deploy and access state-of-the-art digital
technologies, such as HPC, AI and cybersecurity;
- deploy, operate and maintain trans-European
interoperable state-of-the-art digital service infrastructures across the Union, including related services, in complementarity
with national and regional actions;
- support the integration and use of trans-European digital
service infrastructures and of agreed European digital standards in the public sector and in areas of public interest to facilitate
cost-efficient implementation and interoperability;
- facilitate the development, update
and use of solutions and frameworks by public administrations, businesses and citizens, including of open-source solutions
and the re-use of interoperability solutions and frameworks;
- offer the public sector and
the Union industry, in particular SMEs, easy access to testing and piloting of digital technologies and increase the use thereof,
including their cross-border use;
- support the uptake by the public sector and the Union
industry, in particular SMEs and start-ups, of advanced digital and related technologies, including in particular HPC, AI,
cybersecurity, other leading edge and future technologies, such as distributed ledger technologies (e.g. blockchain);
- support the design, testing, implementation, and deployment and maintenance of interoperable digital
solutions, including digital government solutions, for public services at Union level which are delivered through a data-driven
reusable solutions platform aiming to foster innovation and establish common frameworks in order to unleash the full potential
of the public administrations’ services for citizens and businesses;
- ensure the continuous
capacity at Union level to lead digital development, in addition to observing, analysing and adapting to fast-evolving digital
trends, and share and mainstream best practices;
- support cooperation towards achieving
a European ecosystem for trusted data sharing and digital infrastructures using, inter alia, services and applications based
on distributed ledger technologies (e.g. blockchain), including support for interoperability and standardisation and by fostering
the deployment of Union cross-border applications based on security and privacy by design, while complying with consumer and
data protection legislation;
- build up and strengthen the European Digital Innovation Hubs
and their network.
|Description of call |
"Safer Internet Centres (SICs)"
objective of the topic is to support national SICs (i.e., hubs gathering NGOs, government bodies/agencies, private sector
organisations) in providing online safety information, educational resources, public awareness tools and counselling and reporting
services (through dedicated helplines and hotlines) for young people, teachers, and parents. The activities performed by the
SICs will help minors to tackle online risks and to become media literate, resilient digital citizens, and will allow citizens
to anonymously report online child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
The funding will
ensure the financial sustainability of the European network of SICs, by enabling the awarded national Safer Internet Centre
to provide at least:
A centre for raising awareness about online opportunities and risks among
children, parents, teachers and other professionals working with children (e.g. educators, child care workers, health personnel)
about online opportunities and risks. The focus will be, also in the light of Covid-19 crisis experience, to identify and
address emerging risks (e.g. self-generated sexualised content, live streaming of violent and age-inappropriate content, datafication
of childhood) and challenges such as mental and physical health issues related to the use of technologies (self-harm, addiction,
perception of self-identity and self-image) as well as to foster digital literacy, empowerment and youth participation.
specifically the awareness centre will:
- Devise informative and
innovative awareness campaigns and resources to give children the digital skills and tools they need to take advantage of
the digital transformation. Promote awareness of parents and children on online high quality and age appropriate content and
experiences and make the associated resources available through their services. The resources proposed should represent a
balanced mix of different public friendly and accessible online and offline resources such as, but not limited to: teaching
resources, apps, booklets and leaflets, videos, games, blogs, vlogs, posters, etc. The resources should address children’s
rights, and a range of ages and topics. Moreover positive online experiences should be promoted, for example through stimulating
uptake of games and other engaging media to support awareness raising, and encouraging children to define their needs for
better protection and empowerment in the digital transformation..
- Engage directly with children from different demographic
groups, including the organisation of regular youth participation activities, allowing them to express their views and pool
their knowledge and experience of using online technologies. Particular attention should be paid to maximising opportunities
and minimising risks for children in situations of vulnerability (e.g. children with disabilities, children with a minority
racial or ethnic background, child victims).
- Evaluate the impact of the awareness campaigns on the target groups and
provide qualitative and quantitative feedback at European level on a regular basis as defined by the EU Better Internet for
Kids (BIK) platform;
- Establish and maintain partnerships and promote dialogue and exchange of information with key
players (government agencies, private sector, user organisations and education stakeholders) at national level.
A helpline to give advice and support to children, parents and other adults concerned on issues related to children's
use of digital technologies and services. More specifically the helpline will:
one-to-one conversations via telephone, email and online chat services, with trained helpers to give advice and support to
children and parents on online related issues; solutions to offer a ‘24 hours a day / 7 days a week’ support should be explored,
including using artificial intelligence together with human moderation when appropriate;
- Develop/launch an ambitious
national communication strategy including key performance indicators, both in terms of reach and impact to raise the visibility
of the helpline services;
- Draw up or update the operating guidelines in compliance with national law, including data
- Provide qualitative and quantitative feedback at European level on a regular basis on the main online
risks and new trends as defined by the EU Better Internet for Kids (BIK) platform.
for tackling CSAM (i.e. receiving, analysing, and processing reports of such material). Closer cooperation with law enforcement
and the private sector should be further explored. The specific tasks include the following:
- Establish or continue to operate a hotline to receive information from the public relating to potential
CSAM (reports), and if deemed appropriate racism and xenophobia;
- Draw up or update the hotline manual of procedures
in cooperation with law enforcement authorities and in accordance with best practice guidelines;
- Cooperate with the
INHOPE network of hotlines and make full use of and connect to the technical infrastructure ICCAM;
- Undertake a preliminary
assessment of the legality of the content reported and trace its origin, and forward the report to the body for action (Internet
Service Provider, law enforcement agency or corresponding hotline) including systematic notice to the host provider of content
assessed as CSAM and monitoring of the take-down; forward suspicions of illegal content to certain stakeholders (Internet
Service Provider, law enforcement agency or corresponding hotline) for further assessment;
- Ensure compatibility with
data formats of the technical infrastructure ICCAM and provide statistics required for measuring the impact and effectiveness
of the network of hotlines (e.g. time to removal of the illegal content);
- Develop/update and launch an ambitious national
communication strategy including key performance indicators, both in terms of reach and impact to raise the visibility of
the hotline services;
- Develop/update and implement a proactive monitoring and follow-up procedure for the takedown
of CSAM where legally possible, including the collection of statistical data (e.g. time of receipt of report, notice, takedown;
number of reports transmitted to law enforcement, requests for takedown to hosting services, feedback to users);
the notice and takedown procedure to child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) not qualified as illegal at national level
(e.g. posing, nudity) where legally possible, in order to protect personal data of children;
- Extend the notice and
takedown procedure of CSAM to countries without a national hotline, where legally possible;
- Propose a design enabling
a high level of automation in the report handling process, so reducing manual tasks. The automation strategy shall take into
account the national legal environment, which sets the limits for the hotline’s operations.
SICs must be composed
of an awareness centre and a helpline, and preferably a hotline. If a hotline is not part of the proposal, this absence has
to be justified. SICs that have been awarded a grant under this call are expected to join the Insafe network of awareness
centres and helplines, and the INHOPE network of hotlines.
The three strands of the SIC will be expected to cooperate
by setting up or to continue to run a single Advisory Board with relevant national stakeholders (e.g. from public authorities;
academia; private sector; civil society; representatives of parents, teachers, and children), and to actively contribute to
the implementation of a European approach by sharing information, good practices, and resources with the EU Better Internet
for Kids (BIK) platform, and by taking part in EU-level events.
Funding will be limited to one Safer Internet Centre
per eligible country.
The investment will deliver a pan-European network
of SICs that will allow children to become more resilient digital users through awareness-raising activities in informal and
formal education (e.g. youth participation activities, workshops, classroom visits, competitions). Parents, teachers and other
professionals working with children will gain a better understanding of the risks and opportunities of children accessing
digital content and services, through information sessions, train the trainers programmes, and online and offline material.
Local, national, and European actors will gain timely information on emerging risks through the helpline service. Public authorities
including law enforcement agencies will have access to resources and services, and exchanges with hotline analysts to develop
better preventive measures and to remove CSAM in an effective manner. The private sector will benefit from increased market
opportunities for high quality online content and will cooperate with the SICs through joint initiatives and awareness campaigns
such as the Safer Internet Day.
For each of the three strands of activities the proposals selected for funding will
be required to demonstrate that they have achieved the following results by the end of the Action:
Activity 1: An
- A dissemination and communication plan for
the awareness activities including key performance indicators, both in terms of reach and impact for each of the proposed
activities and resources targeting children, parents and teachers and other professionals working with children.
a regular basis, provide qualitative and quantitative feedback at European level as defined by the EU Better Internet for
- An evaluation of the impact of the awareness campaigns on the target groups and report on the key performance
- A report on the partnerships established/maintained and on the exchange of information with key players
(e.g. government agencies, private sector, user organisations, education stakeholders) at national level.
- A national communication and dissemination strategy
including key performance indicators, both in terms of reach and impact to raise the visibility of the helpline services.
helpline operating guidelines in compliance with national law, including data protection rules.
- On a regular basis
provide qualitative and quantitative feedback at European level as defined by the EU Better Internet for Kids (BIK) platform.
evaluation of the impact of the national communication and dissemination strategy and report on the key performance indicators
of the helpline.
Activity 3: Hotline
- A national
communication and dissemination strategy including key performance indicators, both in terms of reach and impact to raise
the visibility of the hotline services.
- An evaluation of the impact of the national communication and dissemination
strategy and report on the key performance indicators of the hotline.
- A hotline manual of procedures in cooperation
with law enforcement authorities and in accordance with best practice guidelines.
- Regular and timely processing of
reports received. Where legally possible, the hotline must make a preliminary assessment of the legality of the content reported,
trace its origin, and forward the report to the appropriate body for action (Internet Service Provider, the law enforcement
agency or corresponding hotline). This should include, where legally possible, systematic notice to the host provider of content
assessed as CSAM, monitoring of the take-down, and/or forwarding suspected illegal content to certain stakeholders (Internet
Service Provider, the law enforcement agency or corresponding hotline) for further assessment.
- Compatibility with
data formats of the technical infrastructure ICCAM and the production of statistics required for measuring the impact and
effectiveness of the network of hotlines (e.g. time to removal of the illegal content).
- A proactive monitoring and
follow-up procedure for the takedown of CSAM, where legally possible, including the collection of statistical data (e.g. time
of receipt of report, notice and takedown).
- An extension of the notice and takedown procedure of CSAM to countries
without a national hotline, where legally possible.
- An extension of the notice and takedown procedure to CSEM, where
legally possible, including the collection of statistical data (e.g. time of receipt of report, notice, takedown).
report on the design and implementation of automated report handling.