Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD welcomed the announcement by the European Commission that CeADAR based in UCD, Dublin and the FactoryxChange consortium in the Midlands are one step closer to being fully approved as European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs).
The European Union is investing over €700m to co-fund an EU-wide network of hubs. Each Irish hub is set to receive annual funding of €1.9m from both the EU and the Irish Government under the National Recovery and Resilience Facility.
These new hubs will work with local SMEs and public sector bodies to help them ‘go digital’, incorporating the benefits of digital technology in their operations, no matter what stage they are currently at.
The hubs will provide help with training, research and testing and advice on funding. They will be up and running by the end of this year.
Through the evaluation process conducted by the European Commission a further two candidate hubs from Ireland have been deemed eligible to join the EU-wide network of Digital Innovation Hubs having been awarded the Commission’s ‘Seal of Excellence’ for the quality of their proposals as follows:
• DATA2SUSTAIN, a consortium led by Atlantic Technological University, Sligo which will develop a comprehensive service programme to increase the transformation capacity and transformation speed of SMEs with a focus on circular economy, operations and sustainability areas.
• ENTIRE, a consortium led by Tyndall National Institute, Cork which will help SMEs in the Agriculture, Energy and Transport sectors to become more competitive in their business or production processes using digital technologies such as sensors.
The Seal of Excellence is a quality label awarded by the Commission to projects which have been assessed in a call for proposals and are deemed to comply with the quality requirements of the call but could not be funded due to European Commission budgetary constraints. These projects may receive support from national sources of funding, subject to additional due diligence and evaluation at member state level.
It is intended that all of the above EDIHs, which will be either co-funded or fully funded by the Government under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, will now go through the remaining evaluation, approval and contract negotiation process before their formal establishment.
Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD said :
“Today’s announcement of Ireland’s candidate European Digital Innovation Hubs is another step towards ensuring that Ireland is at the forefront of a digital future. Digital transformation, including the adoption of AI, across the enterprise base is a core focus for Government, particularly for SMEs and the regional ecosystem.
This new network, once approved, will help enterprises all around the country to realise the huge opportunities the digital economy presents to improve services, enhance customer experience, and increase competitiveness.”
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Enterprise Ireland will now work with the proposed EDIHs over the coming months to progress through the next steps in the national approval process and help them operationalise so they can commence offering their services before the end of the year.
Leo Clancy CEO of Enterprise Ireland said:
“I welcome this important milestone in the development of Ireland’s candidate European Digital Innovation Hubs.
The ambition of the proposed hubs to provide services to SMEs related to digital transformation, circular economy, sustainability, artificial intelligence, manufacturing 4.0 is welcome, as is the regional spread of the hubs here and their overall complementarity.
Increasing the competitiveness and productivity of SMEs through higher levels of operational focus, more innovation and digital adoption is very much in line with Enterprise Ireland’s three-year strategy “Leading in a Changing World”, which is supporting a vision for Irish enterprise to 2030.”