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Call: Secretariat for the Alliance on industrial data, cloud and edge

Programme
Acronym DIGITAL
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Digital Europe"

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:

  1. to strengthen and promote Europe’s capacities in key digital technology areas through large-scale deployment;
  2. 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:

  1. Specific Objective 1 – High Performance Computing
  2. Specific Objective 2 – Artificial Intelligence
  3. Specific Objective 3 – Cybersecurity and Trust
  4. Specific Objective 4 – Advanced Digital Skills
  5. 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:

  1. 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;
  2. deploy 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;
  3. 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.

Specific Objective 2 – Artificial Intelligence

The financial contribution from the Union under Specific Objective 2 – Artificial Intelligence shall pursue the following operational objectives:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. reinforce and network AI testing and experimentation facilities in Member States;
  4. 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 operational objectives:

  1. 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;
  2. support the building-up and best use of European knowledge, capacity and skills related to cybersecurity and the sharing and mainstreaming of best practices;
  3. ensure a wide deployment of effective state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions across the European economy, paying special attention to public authorities and SMEs;
  4. 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;
  5. 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;
  6. 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’).

Specific 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:

  1. support the design and delivery of high-quality, long-term training and courses, including blended learning, for students and for the workforce;
  2. 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;
  3. 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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. 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;
  6. 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);
  7. 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;
  8. 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;
  9. 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;
  10. build up and strengthen the European Digital Innovation Hubs and their network.
Link Link to Programme
Call
Secretariat for the Alliance on industrial data, cloud and edge
Description of call
"Secretariat for the Alliance on industrial data, cloud and edge"

Objective:

This action is set to support the operational activities of the European Alliance for Industrial data, Cloud and Edge launched by the European Commission on 19 July 2021.

The Alliance stems from the European strategy for data from 19 February 2020 and the European industrial strategy updated on 5 March 2021. Its purpose is to gather relevant stakeholders, including industry, civil society organisations, Member States representatives and other experts, from across Europe, in view of strengthening Europe’s industrial capacities in disruptive cloud and edge technologies. The Alliance should help to overcome the current fragmentation of the European cloud market, and foster the engagement of actors of the cloud and data ecosystem currently acting mainly at local and national level.

The activities of the Alliance will contribute to deliver on the EU’s digital targets for 2030, including the establishment of climate-neutral, highly resource and energy-efficient, sustainable data centres; the deployment of 10,000 climate-neutral highly secure edge nodes across the EU; and raising the percentage of European enterprises using advanced cloud computing services in Europe to 75%.

The Alliance will focus on fostering the joint development and deployment of next generation EU native cloud and edge technologies that meet the requirements to process Europe’s sensitive personal and/or highly sensitive business and public sector data sets, by addressing use cases for all sectors of the economy, as well as the need of common European Data Spaces. It will also provide expertise on standards and requirements for cloud services operating in the EU market.

In carrying out its tasks, the Alliance should seek to foster and create synergies with other relevant EU investment initiatives (e.g. in connected technology areas such as AI, HPC, 5G). The Alliance should be connected to other regional and global market developments on data and cloud by creating synergies with initiatives, such as Gaia-X.

The Secretariat should support the work of the members of the Alliance in carrying out the main tasks of the Alliance:

  • Leverage investment synergies across EU and Member States for joint development and deployment of the next generation of European cloud and edge technologies, by helping to streamline all available investment resources, including EU programmes (Horizon Europe, Digital Europe Programme, Connecting Europe Facility 2 and the European Defence Fund), national programmes (including funded by NextGeneration EU), as well as private investment instruments (e.g. EIB).
  • Creating synergies with the deployment of common European data spaces, in close cooperation with the future Data Spaces Support Centre, and foster solutions that meet the needs of European businesses and public sector dealing with sensitive personal, and highly sensitive business and public sector data.
  • Providing expertise on common standards and requirements in the context of the preparation of the EU Rulebook as well as the development of common specifications for public procurement of cloud services, as foreseen in the European strategy for data.

Scope:

In practice, the secretariat should provide following support services to the Alliance:

  • Assist, advise and help coordinate the work of the Alliance including the development of work programmes and roadmaps.
  • Support the day to day stakeholder-led operational work of the Alliance
  • The Secretariat of the Alliance shall ensure the principles of open access, transparency and necessity for the activities it is entrusted with.
  • Edit the processing, approval and publication of the documents agreed by the alliance.
  • Provide a digital collaborative working space, and administrative support for the organisation and the follow-up of relevant thematic working groups, in close cooperation with the Chair/Vice-Chairs, in view of delivering on the Alliance’s milestones;
  • Set up and maintain a dedicated service with practical aids for the decision procedures of the Alliance
  • Provide logistical support and handle the practical organisation of meetings, workshops and events agreed by the Alliance. This includes announcements, registration facilities, draft agendas, reports, notes, minutes, physical or virtual hosting, meeting rooms, translation, report taking and communications.
  • Preparation and organisation of the annual General Assembly with all members of the Alliance, in close coordination with the European Commission and the Steering committee of the Alliance;
  • Preparation and organisation of the annual Alliance Forum with all members of the Alliance and interested stakeholders, in close coordination with the European Commission;
  • Disseminate the Alliance’s work
  • Provide communication services to ensure the work of the Alliance is available and known
  • Create and maintain an Alliance’s website and ensuring day-to-day content creation to inform the broader audience about the Alliance’s activities.
  • Expand and ensure a representative Alliance community by promoting the Alliance towards relevant stakeholders that meet the eligibility criteria;
  • Provide support and assistance to individual members on the procedures of the Alliance
  • Support the on-boarding new members in the Alliance’s work.
  • Shape the work of the Alliance for building and maintaining a strategic industrial vision on investment technology priorities in cloud and edge technologies
  • Coordinate communications with the European Commission and any other external organization including the Common European Data Spaces on behalf of the Alliance
  • Manage financial aspects, the IT services, legal services and the human resources.

The Secretariat of the Alliance should ensure the principles of inclusivity and diversity for the activities it is entrusted with.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Justice, Safety & Security
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Research Institution, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), Other, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Public Services, University, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union
Applicant details In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))

  • Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).
  • International organisations are NOT eligible, unless they are International organisations of European Interest within the meaning of Article 2 of the Digital Europe Regulation (i.e. international organisations the majority of whose members are Member States or whose headquarters are in a Member State).
  • EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Project Partner Details The consortium should be representative of the European data processing value chain and of the technology priorities of the Alliance, including the supply and user side. It should be representative of the types of stakeholders that are eligible to the Alliance (industry, civil society, public sector, academic, and other experts) and guarantee the Union’s security (including cybersecurity) and public policy interests. The consortium should be inclusive and diverse, in terms of gender and geography.
Project duration max 36 months
Further info Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:
  • Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants  and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
  • Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
  • mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
    • list of previous projects (key projects for the last 4 years)
    • ethics issues table
    • ecurity issues table
    • ownership control declaration
Proposals are limited to maximum 50 pages (Part B).
Type of Funding Grants
Financial details The available call budget is EUR 1,000,000. This budget might be increased by maximum 20%.

Funding rate: 100 % - Coordination and Support Actions (CSA)

Project budget (maximum grant amount): EUR 1,000,000 per project
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal. Paper submissions are NOT possible.

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